Ascot Racecourse is using a fan engagement promotion through this week’s Royal Ascot meeting to speed up its move towards a paper-free ticketing system.

The Golden Ticket promotion gifts a select group of customers the opportunity to win prizes throughout this week, as Royal Ascot takes place behind closed doors for the first time in its more than 250-year history.

Those who download the Ascot App have each been sent a ticket, with a random number of those tickets turning gold during the week and denoting they have won a luxury Porsche driving day.

George Vaughan, Ascot Racecourse’s head of technology, said the promotion has been designed primarily to encourage awareness of digital ticketing as the famous venue pushes towards its target of eliminating paper tickets.

“The main driver was to utilise digital ticketing in a different way as part of Royal Ascot at home,” he said. “It provides us with the opportunity to introduce all of our customers to digital ticketing and promotes our app itself as a means of communicating between Ascot and the customers.

“We contacted people on our database to notify them of the promotion and we have seen a great response in terms of how many people have downloaded the app.

“We have embarked on a technology modernisation programme at Ascot over the last two years, with everything from signage to payments, and the greater use of digital NFC ticketing is part of that.”

The Golden Ticket experience was delivered through Apple Wallet and Google Pay by Pronto CX, the mobile wallet developer, who created the tickets and conducted the random draw that decides the winners.

Vaughan said the promotion is also useful in the wider engagement strategy that has been deployed this week through its Royal Ascot At Home campaign.

While fans have not been able to attend, the venue has created a hub whereby racing enthusiasts can still feel part of the event through video content, downloads, competitions and activity packs for kids.

“This is a real engagement point for our customers,” Vaughan said. “They get the opportunity to win, to take part in something related to Royal Ascot and also get a 2020 commemorative ticket. There’s not even anything complicated like having to fill in a form.

“I think this promotion could work well for all kinds of venues and teams who are looking at ways to engage fans during this time when events have either been cancelled or are taking place behind closed doors.”

Conrad Caplin, co-founder of Pronto CX, said the promotion has garnered interest from across the live sports events sector.

He added: “We’ve started discussing the Ascot at Home initiative conceptually with other venues and they’re very excited about it as it not only offers a way to gamify experiences for fans at home, but it also represents new sponsor fulfilment inventory, which has been a real pain point for them ever since COVID-19 shutdowns set in.

“Depending on the exact use case, estimated impressions, and size of the customer base, the digital rights to the pass could generate significant revenue for some venues or clubs.”