We recently sat down to speak to Cliffs Pavilion, Hospitality General Manager, Edward Beamish. The theatre in Southend-on-Sea is operated by HQ Theatres and is the first theatre using Preoday’s technology platform to offer audience in-seat refreshment ordering.
Below you can read the results of our conversation.
So, Edd, when did you decide the time was right to start offering your audiences online and mobile refreshment ordering?
It is vision of Cliffs Pavilion to be the UK’s premier provider of live entertainment & hospitality. In order to achieve this we need to stay ahead of constantly evolving customer expectations.
We knew that mobile ordering was becoming more common; we wanted to ensure that our guests could enhance their visit and take advantage of this at Southend.
What specific benefits does pre-ordering technology offer you and your customers?
Convenience is key.
When our customers are browsing our website they can now also choose their refreshments and place an order when they purchase their tickets. They then have the comfort of knowing that their refreshments will be delivered to the seat which means they can enjoy their experience even more.
Why offer in-seat ordering and not just bar collection like other theatres?
At Cliffs Pavilion we have to serve over 1600 customers in a 15 minute window, and that is always going to be a challenge. Having spoken with our guests, and taking into account our own observations, it was became apparent that a large portion of our audience don’t even leave their seats during the interval.
We were keen that customers had the opportunity to experience our full range of hospitality. Because of that we felt an interval delivery service would be the most appropriate service to offer.
How have you been spreading the word about the new service?
We have taken a few different approaches to ensure that our customers are aware of the new service.
The in-seat delivery has had a prominent focus on our website and in our brochure; we’ve also promoted it through our existing social media streams. Across the venue we’ve got clear signage and we’ve trained team members to engage with customers and improve their awareness.
Finally, in the auditorium itself, we have artwork mounted on the back of some of our seats explaining the service and how it works. When the orders are delivered our team members wear uniforms with the app logo on them and our delivery bags also have the logo printed on them.
How have customers reacted to the technology – have you had any specific feedback?
We’ve received very positive feedback across the board. A key measure for us has been to see customers repeat ordering, seeing them ordering again, we took it as a clear indication that they enjoyed the service.
Do you think you will evolve further – add other techs – to meet the digital age of the consumer? If so, what/how?
We are always looking to streamline our process for online enquiries and orders. It’s important to us that customers have a straightforward and easy route to ordering tickets; integrating our delivery orders into this is a key goal for the future.
By using the product, have you been able to access new customer insights? What have you seen?
We have definitely seen a growing trend for convenience and customers are now ordering when they purchase their tickets. It is also proving much easier for customers, who have bought tickets as a gift, to enhance that present by ordering drinks to go with the experience.
What would you say to other theatres considering mobile or online ordering?
We’ve had really positive feedback so I would recommend the service to any venue that thinks it could work for them.
Any other comments before we leave you?
Just that we have found the Preoday set up to be extremely intuitive and this has benefited us greatly in getting our team trained and the service integrated into our daily operations.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.