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Industry Q&A: Fiona Southam, Sales Director, Sports & Entertainment, Oracle Hospitality

In this industry Q&A, we hear from Fiona Southam, Sales Director, Sports & Entertainment, at Oracle Hospitality.

Q: Can you give our readers an idea about the solutions that you offer the sports venue sector and the key aims and drivers behind them?

A: Oracle Hospitality delivers a reliable technology platform robust enough to provide catering at exceptional speed to tens of thousands of fans, even during high-volume periods. We design industryspecific technology tailored to maximise efficiency, minimise waste, and enhance the fan experience. Our solutions include point of service software and hardware, inventory and stock management, gift & loyalty, reporting & analytics, labour management and payment solutions. One of the other great strengths of the Oracle Hospitality suites is the ability to integrate to multiple third-party solutions to provide the stadium with consolidated data and visibility across the entire operation.

Q: On major sports projects do you normally deal with a specific group, such as the venue operators or concessionaires, or do you actively look to work with as wide a range of people as possible?

A: There could be a variety of teams involved that all have their own specific business requirements. It’s great when we do get many views involved because then we are sure that we are covering the needs of all parties and that at the end of the day all groups are receiving the best possible solution.

Q: It was only last year that it was announced that Oracle was acquiring MICROS. Can you talk us thought how that process of integration has been and how that has helped in terms of your intention to be a dominant player in the Sports & Entertainment sector?

A: That is correct, and it has been a busy 12 months! Oracle Hospitality has continued its drive to provide specific teams and industry expertise in the various lines of business. Funds for development under Oracle have significantly increased over that which was dedicated under MICROS Systems Inc. Sports and Entertainment is an area of great excitement for Oracle. It doesn’t just touch the operational side of the stadium, operators, we get to engage with the consumer and make a real difference to the fan’s experience. So yes, it sure has been a positive move for our solutions (and our customers) and with so much excitement around engagement at the moment, you can expect to see even more disruptive innovation from Oracle.

Q: During our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event in Singapore, you took part in an expert panel discussing the issue of revenue generation for stadiums and arenas. Can you explain about how your products help venue owners, operators and concessionaires unlock new revenue streams or further enhance new streams?

A: At the core of any solution which is designed to maximise yield and reduce costs, you need a great foundation. Orders need to be placed accurately and quickly, exploiting any opportunity to ensure the maximisation of the sale and increase of the average check. Information needs to be up to date and representative of what you have to promote. There are limited opportunities to sell to the fan, so we need to be conscious of optimising every interaction. This is true not just for the concession operators, but also the engagement with the fan. Through engaged programming we ensure the maximum return. This is also supported by various facets of technology, for example in seat ordering and seamless integration to third party systems (such as digital signage and cashless payments) that allow us to ensure that the business goals are surpassed.

Q: One issue which is at the forefront of all clubs and venues is that of enhancing fan engagement or providing an incredible match day experience. How does your technology help in this regard? Is mobile technology an increasingly important part of your services for customers and what do you consider the key characteristics that it needs to offer?

A: It’s all about the fan. We support the operators with the collection of information and turning this information into useable content to enable that sophisticated engagement. Mobile and putting the reins into the hands of the fan is extremely important – our solutions tap into the engagement of the fan and ensure that we capture and report accurately to the business. Again, using that important transactional information, we can keep the fan well informed of various components of their interaction – for example, how long till they get their order? What is the anticipated wait time at various concessions? Promotions based on locations, can they pay cashless, what does the item look like and so on. Providing that information to the consumer will help increase average sales as well as support providing an amazing experience at the venue. Of course, we also want to be able to service across the generations and needs of the fans – so we need to back up the innovation side with reliable and accurate tools for the operators to service the customers.

Q: Although you are a successful global organisation, are there any specific regions which you have identified as being key targets for future growth in terms of sports projects?

A: We have a great installation base in North America and Canada, installations at stadiums and arenas across many kinds of sport and entertainment venues. We think Asia Pacific is a market that is maturing with so many innovative operators in the region. We look forward to supporting their goal of setting the standard of how things are done in the stadium market. Oracle Hospitality has a dedicated team to manage the stadiums in Asia Pacific and we are certainly ready for the groundswell we believe is on its way!

Q:  Are most of your projects retrofit of existing stadia rather than new build? Is this likely to continue in your opinion?

A: With so many stadiums under construction in our region, we see a great opportunity for innovative technology in these new venues. Increasingly though, the existing venues are really starting to look at their technology as they aim to drive more business by becoming multi-use environments. Space in the venues is also of the utmost importance and holds potential for additional revenue. Outsourcing technology to the cloud enables the operators to better utilise space and resources in order to lower their total cost of ownership.

 

For further information, contact Fiona Southam, Sales Director, Sports & Entertainment, Oracle Hospitality, e: fiona.southam@oracle.com or visit the website at: www.oracle.com

 

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