The options seem endless these days for movie viewing. We’re streaming Netflix on tablets, viewing new releases on-demand via our cable boxes in the living room and watching DVDs we rented at kiosks in our SUVs. So where do movie theaters fit in anymore?

The good news for movie theater operators is that consumers are still frequenting theaters, particularly ones that offer an elevated and memorable experience. In our inaugural movie theater industry research, we found that more than 52% of consumers are going to a movie theater at least once a month. The research also revealed that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – a chain that differentiates almost exclusively on its customer experience - is consumers’ favorite theater chain.

That said, consumers are still largely viewing movies in settings other than a theater. Seventy-six percent of those polled in our study said they view a movie somewhere other than a theater at least once a month. In order to survive and thrive in this age of endless options, movie theaters must invest in upgrades to the overall customer experience. When your customers can get the product you’re selling from nearly anyone anywhere, you must create a special experience in order to draw them in.

Presenting the Customer Experience
Our study looked at how the top theater brands are faring in important customer experience categories, and found that Alamo Drafthouse has the friendliest and most helpful box office and ticket collection staff, and also delivers the best value for money spent. Marcus Theatres took the top spot for its seating options, which is an area where many theaters are putting an increased focus in an effort to differentiate from the pack.

Profits Are Popping at Concessions

While we all tend to complain just a bit about the movie ticket prices, they are actually so low that theaters are not profiting from ticket sales alone. Concessions, on the other hand, is where profits can be found. This means that in addition to delivering an excellent ticketing and viewing experience, theater operators need to excel on the concessions front.

Our research shows that 76% of moviegoers purchased food or beverages during their last theater experience, with Alamo Drafthouse seeing the most concessions visits. It also outperformed all other brands on attributes related to the concessions service and offerings, such as food and beverage variety, value and taste. It’s no surprise, given that Alamo Drafthouse has distinguished itself by offering a large menu of specialty food and drinks that are brought to your seat by a server, elevating the theatrical experience. AMC Entertainment, Harkins Theaters, Marcus Theaters and Studio Movie Grill also performed well in the concessions categories.

CX Measurement Coming Soon to a Theater Near You
Movie theater operators who understand that their future relies on delivering a differentiated experience are making investments to delight their customers – everything from better seating and selection, to specialty food and a wider variety of beverages. But those efforts may not be enough if they’re failing to measure and analyze the customer experience to understand what’s creating the most impact.   

Mystery shopping programs, customer surveys, social media ratings and reviews as well as contact center services are critical to ensure operators are successfully delivering on their strategic plans. To find out more about how you can improve customer experience, loyalty and financial performance, or simply learn more about the 2018 Movie Theater Customer Experiences and Competitive Benchmark Study, please click below to get in touch.

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