79°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

T-Mobile Arena using customer data to shorten wait times

The world knows when Earl Loewen visits T-Mobile Arena.

Loewen was there Monday to see heavy metal band Metallica and posted several photos from the arena on Facebook and Twitter.

The photos Loewen knowingly posted — but the arena gathered information on him as well.

Loewen purchased the $1,000 VIP tickets online — and in doing so, gave his Las Vegas address. His information, as well as that of other purchasers, helped the arena decide how many employees it needed to handle car traffic from local concertgoers.

Like other sports and entertainment venues, T-Mobile has embraced technology to inform decisions to improve visitors’ experience.

Raul Gutierrez, T-Mobile Arena executive director of arena operations, said the arena uses visitor data to forecast staffing needs and shorten the amount of time it takes for attendees to get from their cars to the arena.

Faster arrival, more purchases

Sports and entertainment venues used to learn about their visitors from trade publications and surveying visitors directly. Now, arenas can learn where visitors are from and what interests them from their online activity.

“We no longer need to wait to survey visitors,” said Gutierrez, 48. “Using any advantage to make guest service better is paramount.”

Crowds at T-Mobile Arena are 70 percent tourists for most events, based on the ZIP codes of purchases. For other events, like Golden Knights games, the mix is 80 percent local — adding that many more cars to parking and traffic around the arena.

With that information, and visitor data collected from the parking garages as well as a full-time traffic director, the arena has reduced the average time it takes to clear vehicle traffic from the parking garages at Aria, New York-New York, Park MGM and Excalibur after an event from 43 minutes to about 30, Gutierrez said.

MGM Resorts is a part owner in T-Mobile Arena and owns those four casinos.

The faster T-Mobile gets visitors into the arena, the more time they have to buy merchandise and concessions. And the happier visitors are about their experience, the more likely they are to make purchases.

Once visitors are in the arena, T-Mobile officials say they hope they use an on-site internet connection to share photos and videos online — just as Loewen did — for free positive buzz.

Engaged visitors spend more and want to come back, Gutierrez said.

Thierry Chau, who works with large public venues for Sunnyvale, California- based Ruckus Networks, said the prevalence of cellphones has made internet infrastructure part of the design phase before many venues are even built.

“It’s not just ‘I’m there,’” Chau said, “It’s, ‘I’m there and you’re not. And here’s the picture.’”

Gone in five seconds

When T-Mobile Arena opened in April 2016, company statements lauded 550 networking hardware devices to connect visitors to the internet. The arena finished adding an additional 200 devices in March to improve connectivity.

Visitors who use the internet connection at T-Mobile must agree to allow data collection, according to the connection’s terms of use. The terms say uses for that data include reporting illegal activity and stopping someone from using too much bandwidth.

Gutierrez said the arena doesn’t collect data through the on-site internet connection for decision-making. Most of that comes from ticketing information.

Without robust internet infrastructure, venues miss out on data collection and the opportunity to send visitors more specific marketing messages about future events or deals from sponsors, Chau said. They also miss out on the free marketing from visitors posting photos and videos online.

Ruckus and a few of its partner companies have bid for the wireless internet infrastructure at the upcoming Raiders stadium, he said.

The on-site connectivity is even more important with live events’ large secondary market for event tickets. People sitting in the seats may not be the initial ticket purchasers, but an on-site internet connection means the venue can still collect some data on the actual attendees, Chau said.

Chau’s company works with venues to make sure the sign-in screen to use the venue internet doesn’t ask for too much information for access. Longer than five seconds to sign in, and the visitor gives up, costing the venue that data.

With sports betting on the horizon, and the possibility of outfitting players with sensors for more data collection, robust in-venue internet will become more and more essential to venue operations in general, he said.

The new normal

Loewen isn’t sure what kind of data T-Mobile has been collecting about him. But he said the idea makes him uncomfortable.

Still, Loewen chooses to purchase tickets online and use the on-site internet connection.

George Baker, founder and CEO of parking management system platform ParkHub, said visitors do not see the data collection as an intrusion when it isn’t aggressive and when they are rewarded for participating through things like coupons, vouchers and other offers.

“It’s embraced because the guest receives benefits,” he said.

ParkHub, based in Dallas, has several installations in the Las Vegas area and has provided services to T-Mobile Arena.

Alexis Hancock, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said data collection breeds privacy concerns.

She encourages venue operators to collect as little data as they need, to store that data safely and not sell it without telling visitors, she said.

She also cautions users that if a network connection requires someone to make a profile, don’t log in with a third-party platform like Facebook or Google. That risks sharing more data than necessary, Hancock said.

Loewen said he’s come to expect that every company is out to collect his information. That’s the way the world works.

“It’s kind of become the norm,” he said.

Contact Wade Tyler Millward at wmillward@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4602. Follow @wademillward on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Nevada’s real estate industry blamed wrong enemy when bubble burst

State lawmakers approved a bill in 2015 — a decade after Las Vegas’ wild building spree — that raised barriers to pursuing lawsuits alleging shoddyconstruction. A measure now working its way through the Democratic-controlled Legislature would wipe out or change provisions of that law.

CEOs get $800K pay raise, leaving workers further behind

Pay for CEOs at S&P 500 companies rose to a median of $12 million last year, including salary, stock and other compensation, according to data analyzed by Equilar.