From Empty Seats to Full Houses: A Movie Theater’s Ticket to Revival

Apr 10, 2024

Remember the eerie silence of empty movie theaters during the pandemic? Here’s how one major chain defied the odds and reeled audiences back in with a loyalty program revamp.

A major movie theater chain, a trusted brand for over 30 years, faced a significant challenge during the global pandemic. With in-person experiences and transactions halted, the company needed to find innovative ways to maintain customer loyalty and engagement.

The theater chain partnered with Kobie, a leading loyalty solutions provider, to leverage a data-driven approach. This involved collecting “Triple Play Data,” encompassing transactional, behavioral, and emotional data, to understand member needs and preferences better.

  • Emotional Loyalty Scoring (ELS) identified “reciprocity” as the primary emotional driver for most members. They felt a desire for a two-way relationship with the brand.
  • Sentiment tracking was increased from quarterly to weekly to gauge fluctuating emotions and concerns during the pandemic.
  • Loyalty experience and member benefit research provided insights into what members missed most about the movie-going experience.

Insights and Activation
Based on the data, the theater chain implemented several key strategies:

  • Paused membership fees for the premium tier while theaters were closed, demonstrating a two-way commitment.
  • Enabled points accumulation even without transactions, keeping members engaged.
  • Launched reactivation campaigns with personalized movie recommendations and simplified opt-in options, encouraging members to return and redeem points.
  • Segmented members based on data to deliver targeted offers with high appeal and low friction.
  • Developed a nostalgia-driven national advertising campaign featuring a celebrity, reminding audiences of the magic of movie going and rekindling their excitement.

The data-driven approach yielded significant results:

  • 1.5 million members reactivated through targeted campaigns.
  • 2.96 million+ increased attendance during personalized promotional periods.
  • $41 million in incremental value driven by the rebranding campaign highlighting the theater experience.
  • Positive NPS scores across all three program tiers, with paid tiers exceeding 50.
  • 89% of members reported satisfaction with the program’s ease of use and value.
  • Qualitative feedback revealed how the program elements resonated with members, motivating them to return.

Key Takeaways
This case study demonstrates the power of a data-driven loyalty program, particularly during challenging times. By leveraging “Triple Play Data” and member insights, the theater chain:

  • Maintained a strong emotional connection with members through a two-way approach.
  • Delivered personalized experiences and offers that resonated with specific member segments.
  • Rekindled the magic of moviegoing through nostalgia-driven marketing.
  • Achieved significant growth in member engagement and revenue.

This case study offers valuable insights for any loyalty program seeking to improve member engagement and achieve long-term success.

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