Wristband Printing – 3 Takeaways from IAAPA 2022

Microcom Corporation exhibited RFID wristband printing technology at the 2022 IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida (November 14-18).  IAAPA is the premier trade association representing the attractions industry.  Members include professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, attractions, water parks, resorts, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, cruise lines, manufacturers, and suppliers. The trade show had 37,000 registered attendees and 1,100 exhibiting vendors.

Microcom attended this year’s expo to increase brand awareness and showcase two of our products: the model 485TM thermal kiosk printer and the model 360C color laser printer. Our focus was on printing RFID enabled wristbands and tickets.

As the days passed and more participants stopped by our booth, we uncovered some deeper insights into the future of thermal printing.


01 – Wristbands Are Here to Stay

While not many people seemed interested in printing tickets, the large majority were excited to see that they could print custom wristbands on both the 485TM and the 360C.

Although everyone at the event was within the “amusement” and “entertainment” industries, each came from a wide range of sub industries, including gaming and daycare.

Interested companies ranged from large organizations who would need to print thousands of wristbands to small businesses who would need to print a handful a day.

No matter the size, every company found value in the features offered by our printers. We discovered two uses that attendees favored.

  1. Potential to have print-on-demand RFID Wristbands. As more and more organizations strive to streamline processes, the need for customers to print wristbands from self-service kiosks will continue to increase.
  2. Multiple colors on the same wristband design. Sometimes, when people visit an arcade or waterpark, they will keep their wristbands to wear on another day. Other times, they will hand their wristband to someone else so they do not have to pay. Companies are solving these problems by printing different colored wristbands to represent different days and times.
  3. Ability to print clear images on the wristband. A couple attendees from a church pre-school mentioned the idea of printing images of the parent/guardian on each child’s wristband. This would streamline the process as well as ensure safety guidelines are adhered for the pick-up procedure. This same process would work in other use cases, such as waterparks.


02 – RFID Is Rapidly Gaining Traction

At last year’s IAAPA Expo 2021, Microcom introduced the model 360C color laser printer with RFID capabilities. This new technology helped us win a Brass Ring Award and garnered interest in the new feature.

We assumed that at this year’s Expo we would see much more interest in RFID enabled wristbands.

We were mostly correct.

While we did see a lot of interest, there were still several people who had no need (or at least didn’t see a need) for RFID in their business. This perception will change as businesses discover that more and more patrons at entertainment venues’ have an expectation of tap-and-go convenience and in many environments prefer a wearable vs. carrying a phone

As the rest of the world continues to go digital, the need for RFID will continue to increase.

Learn more about the benefits of using RFID for your events.


03 – Digital tickets will not replace all printed tickets

While saying that all ticketing has gone paperless is dramatic, we are finding that it is quickly becoming the reality.

Most people who stopped by the booth didn’t have a need for tickets. Those who did believed that they were better off going digital.

Can you blame them?

Printed tickets are easier to lose, more expensive to produce and less environmentally sustainable (at least that’s what most people believe).

While it makes sense for bigger companies to transition to fully digital ticketing, this may not be the best option for everyone.

If you’re a small business who hosts events, you may benefit from supplying print tickets to attendees since the cost of implementing a digital system could out way the cost of printing and distributing printed material.

Additionally, printed tickets are essential when technology fails or Wi-Fi goes down, are needed to show seat locations when patrons have to lock up their phones at certain performances, and are desired as souvenirs.

Discover whether your business should offer print or digital tickets for its attendees.


Key Takeaways

We gained numerous insights at this year’s IAAPA Expo. The three that really stood out to us were:

  1. Wristbands are here to stay
  2. RFID is Rapidly gaining traction
  3. Digital tickets will not replace all printed tickets