Loyalty Programs That Keep Fans Coming Back

published on 08 October 2023


Loyalty programs are structured initiatives that reward customers for their repeat business. Movie theaters utilize loyalty programs to encourage moviegoers to visit more often and spend more money on tickets and concessions. By providing incentives like points, rewards, and VIP access, theaters are able to build meaningful relationships with customers and foster brand loyalty. Effective loyalty programs come in many forms, but generally allow members to earn perks and unlock tiers based on their level of engagement with the theater. Well-designed programs can become a significant driver of revenue through increased visit frequency and customer lifetime value.

Types of Theater Loyalty Programs

There are several popular types of loyalty program structures that work well for movie theaters:

Points-Based Programs

In points-based programs, customers earn points for purchases like movie tickets and concessions. These points accumulate and can be redeemed for rewards like free tickets, souvenir cups, popcorn, and more. Points-based programs make customers feel rewarded for their loyalty. The easy-to-understand earning and redemption model keeps members engaged. Integrating point tracking into mobile apps makes the program even more convenient. Some examples are CinemaWorld Rewards which offers 10 points per dollar spent, Premiere Cinemas Premiere Points with 1 point per $1 on concessions, and AMC Stubs where you earn $5 reward for every $50 spent.

Tiered Programs

Tiered programs have levels like Silver, Gold, and Platinum that offer better rewards and perks for customers who spend more money. Reaching a high tier status becomes an aspirational goal that incentivizes increased visits and spending. Theatres can use differentiated tier benefits like special lounges, early movie access, and reserved seating to enhance the experience. Popular tiered programs include Regal Crown Club with Gold and Diamond elite tiers, and Cinemark Movie Club tiers of Member, Champion, and Legend levels.

Punch Card Programs

In punch card programs, customers earn a stamp or hole punch on a physical or digital loyalty card with each visit. After a certain number of punches (typically 10-12), the member earns a reward like a free movie ticket. Punch cards have a fun, throwback appeal and the tactile element makes them engaging. For staff, physical punch cards are easy to implement. Digital cards allow integration with theater apps and emails. Examples are Atlas Cinemas Punch Card with 1 punch per ticket and Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass with 10 visits for a free ticket.

Subscription Programs

Subscription programs offer benefits like free tickets, concessions discounts, waived online fees, and more for a monthly or annual membership fee. This provides theaters with predictable recurring revenue. Customers enjoy bulk discounts, advance perks, and savings on multiple purchases. Subscription programs can be paired with tiered benefit levels. For instance, MoviePass offers different subscription plans with varying numbers of tickets included per month.

VIP Access Programs

VIP access programs give members special offers like free screenings, discounts, and early movie access. Customers feel valued by these exclusive perks, which also drive word-of-mouth marketing and social media engagement. Upselling additional VIP benefits and experiences is an opportunity to increase revenue. Some theaters integrate red carpet events, dinners, and more. Examples include Studio Movie Grill SMG Rewards with free screenings and half-priced drinks and Cinepolis Club Cinepolis VIP with 10% off concessions plus free refills.

Designing an Effective Loyalty Program

Certain best practices help ensure a loyalty program delivers value to members and drives growth for the theater:

Providing Valuable Rewards

  • Popular rewards include free movie tickets, concessions, and upgrades like reserved seating. Consider rewards that enhance the moviegoer experience, like concession combo rewards to increase spend.
  • Partner with local businesses to offer discounts and deals as a perk of membership to provide additional local value.
  • Give members advance access to new movie releases and special events to make them feel privileged.

Easy Enrollment and Tracking

  • Train staff to explain the program and quickly enroll new members to get them started.
  • Let customers sign up online and access program from mobile apps and emails for convenience.
  • Send email updates on points balance and program status so members can track progress.
  • Make earning and redeeming points seamless by integrating point tracking into apps and POS systems.

Effective Program Marketing

  • Promote the program on your website, at the box office, via email, social media, and in-theater displays for multi-channel visibility.
  • Spotlight member-only screenings, events, and promotions to showcase exclusive benefits.
  • Share member reviews and testimonials to highlight value and satisfaction.
  • Leverage birthday freebies and seasonal offers to drive sign-ups during key periods.
  • Run tiered status challenges and bonus point periods to spur engagement.

Personalized Communication

  • Use data to segment members by interests and behaviors and tailor communications accordingly. For example, promote kid-focused rewards to families.
  • Send targeted emails with personalized reward suggestions based on prior activity.
  • Make higher tier members feel special with VIP newsletters and offers.

Gamification Techniques

  • Incorporate bonus challenges and sweepstakes entries to make earning rewards more entertaining.
  • Show members a program status or progress meter to tap into achievement motivation.
  • Spotlight members on leaderboards for most points earned to encourage competition.

Key Program Metrics and Data Analysis

Analyzing loyalty program data yields insights to optimize performance:

Member Usage and Spending Data

  • Track visit frequency, ticket and concession purchases, and spending trends.
  • Segment members into tiers like high, medium, and low value based on activity.
  • Review points earned versus points redeemed rates to gauge engagement.
  • Compare purchasing of members versus non-members to quantify impact.
  • Identify most popular rewards chosen for redemption.

Program Costs and ROI

  • Calculate program setup, marketing, and reward fulfillment costs.
  • Compare revenue growth for members versus non-members.
  • Factor in metrics like customer acquisition, retention period, and lifetime value.
  • Aim for 3-5x ROI on the loyalty program investment.
  • Adjust program based on ROI analysis if needed.

Customer Satisfaction and Feedback

  • Survey members on enjoyment, ease of use, benefits, and overall satisfaction with NPS as a KPI.
  • Gauge perceptions of reward value and selection through member surveys.
  • Request input for new features or benefits to add.
  • Assess needs of various member tiers.
  • Use feedback to refine offerings over time.

Integrating with Cinema Apps and Websites

  • Allow online signup and access to program details on cinema mobile apps and websites.
  • Incorporate digital punch card tracking and points balances into apps.
  • Enable easy reward browsing and redemption from apps and sites.
  • Send tailored emails and notifications based on program activity and status.
  • Provide seamless omnichannel experience across physical and digital touchpoints.

Key Takeaways

Well-designed loyalty programs provide a win-win for movie theaters and customers. By encouraging repeat visits and increased spend, theaters see higher revenue and profitability. Customers benefit from tailored rewards that enhance their moviegoing experience. Compelling tiered benefits, easy enrollment and tracking, data-driven insights, and continuous program optimization are keys to success. Personalized engagement and gamification also help drive participation. Integrating loyalty programs into cinema apps and websites provides a unified omnichannel experience. Loyalty programs enable theaters to build meaningful, lasting relationships with their best customers.

Looking for innovative ways to engage and reward your loyal movie fans? Filmgrail's cinema-tailored loyalty and engagement programs can help you drive visits, increase revenue, and enhance the moviegoer experience. Their customer-focused approach delivers powerful results. Learn more about how Filmgrail can transform your cinema loyalty and engagement strategy.

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