Australia and New Zealand’s largest film exhibitor, Event Cinemas, has released the results from the largest survey of cinemagoers. Conducted in April and May, more than 20,000 Australians provided opinions and captured sentiment on returning to cinemas once they reopen. Overwhelmingly, Australians say they are comfortable returning to cinemas with social distancing measures in place with 94 percent confirming that they intend to return at the same frequency or more as before the pandemic.
Survey results have shown that cinema ranked as the top entertainment choice to visit once they can safely reopen. 98 percent of respondents look forward to cinemas reopening, with 83 percent indicating their intent to return within the first 12 weeks of reopening.
In response to this customer research and current government restrictions, Event Cinemas will reopen with a custom-built intelligent social distanced booking system. Unlike the industry-standard checkerboard style seating currently in place globally, Event has developed this new booking technology to enable family and friends to sit together as a group, and automatically distance an entire group from other customers. This ensures the group sits together while blocking seats directly in front and beside them – removing the need to manually shuffle around in-cinema and allowing adequate space between guests.
The enhanced Event Cinemas customer experience will include contactless booking and check-in via the Event Cinemas booking website and app, cashless operations on site, multiple hand sanitizer stations, capacity limits where applicable, clear social distancing signage, increased frequency of cleaning with a focus on high touch surfaces, as well as extensive communication on the importance of regular and frequent hand washing. Staff will also undergo training and will follow personal hygiene protocols.
Luke Mackey, director of entertainment Australia for Event Cinemas said, “Cinema has stood the test of time for decades and 2020 is no different. Our research tells us that there is an overwhelming, pent up demand for people to return to cinemas. This highlights that the cultural importance of cinema has never been greater and like our customers, we are eager to reopen soon so we can continue providing an opportunity to escape in entertainment and have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our communities, which is needed now more than ever. While we are yet to confirm a date, we will reopen our doors in conjunction with government directions and when new films are available. This research shows movie-goers will be returning in full force to immerse in entertainment and relish in the longstanding thrill of watching a movie on the big screen with world-class sound – an experience that cannot be replicated.”
Event hospitality and entertainment group CEO, Jane Hastings said, “Connection to what our customers are thinking and intending across Australia and New Zealand during these unprecedented times has never been more important. As an Australian company, with an immensely valuable database we are in an unrivalled position to connect with local audiences in the hospitality, entertainment and leisure space. There is no doubt customers want to go to the movies, go skiing or snowboarding and travel again. We are human, we want social contact and we cannot wait to welcome everyone back.”