My family doesn’t go to the cinema often, but when we do, I dread the ticket line. So I almost always purchase my cinema tickets online if we plan to go during a busy time, or for a newly released movie. Paying for the tickets is always easy, but getting them at the cinema can be problematic.
Often you have to bring the credit card you used for purchase, and still wait in a line to pick up the tickets. Sometimes there’s an automated ticket machine that dispenses the online tickets, but you still need the card you used for the purchase. And you’re out of luck if the machine is broken (back to waiting in line). I’ve been to some cinemas that needed a physical printout of the email confirmation before they would release the tickets to me. Or at least I needed to provide the long, complicated confirmation number. Come to think of it, most of the time picking up the online tickets was as much of a hassle as waiting in line for them. The only difference was we didn’t need to worry about tickets being sold out. Which is still a good thing. But it seems like it should be easier.
But just this past weekend I had a totally different experience. I purchased cinema tickets online, and at checkout I had the option to receive the tickets via SMS. Supposedly all I needed to do was show that message to the ticket taker – no waiting in line to pick up physical printed tickets. That was pretty cool I thought. Especially after remembering the broken ticket machine at our last visit. I was also a little nervous though. I’d never used the method before, and how would they send me tickets in less than 160 characters?
I needn’t have worried though. Almost immediately after I clicked to buy the tickets, I got a text message. It was simple: Open Link for Tickets Conf#123456789 http://ticketlink….
So I had the confirmation number handy in case of a problem, but I also had a link to the tickets. When I clicked on the link it took me to a mobile webpage with a QR code at the top. The ticket taker scans the QR code and you walk right on through. And there’s just one code for all the tickets I purchased for my family. It was simple, fast, and easy.
The mobile webpage also had a summary of what I had bought – the movie, how many tickets, the time it started, the confirmation number and which theatre number the movie was in. It even had directions to the theatre.
As a consumer, I found this process so easy I don’t mind paying a remote booking fee for online tickets. It means I don’t have to worry about sold out movies or lines ever again (well, except the line to the ticket taker, but I’m ok with that).
Cinemas should take note of how this all works and how it could improve their profits and make for happier customers. In the next post, I’ll share a little more about how cinemas using SMS in this way can leverage it to grow their marketing lists too.