The traditional performance intermission is 20 minutes long, and yet audiences at popular venues can wait in bar queues just as long to purchase their interval refreshments.
This used to be the challenge faced by patrons at the Nationale Opera en Ballet in Amsterdam. With more than 1,500 people packing into its best-selling performances, the rush to buy drinks and snacks could be sizeable. But it wasn’t something that went unrecognised or unchecked by the hospitality team. They had long since offered the option for pre-ordering drinks from bar staff before the show began. Still, queue sizes remained longer than wished for.
What it needed was a fresh way to work towards its ideal of the perfect customer experience, enhanced by simple convenience. What it decided to do was investigate online and mobile pre-ordering in order to streamline pre-ordering in a way that was of as little effort for patrons as possible
The venue set out on an exploration of the technology market, looking to find a white-label platform that could offer its clientele a way of ordering from them, while maintaining the Nationale Opera en Ballet brand. After seeing that the Royal Opera House in the UK used Preoday, it realised that the company met its requirements perfectly. Further investigation showed no other products able to match the theatre’s particular requirements.
Alongside the release of the new pre-ordering platform, the concert hall utilised a strong marketing campaign, giving the service prominence on its website and sending targeted pre-event emails to prompt customers to place orders.
Since launch, the Nationale Opera en Ballet service has proved a hit with audiences; 70 percent of those that have set up an account on the online ordering portal have gone on to place an order. It has also observed that when customers order-ahead, their basket size is larger than on-site orders. It believes this is because of the ease with which purchases can be made.
The theatre’s team notes that Preoday has been particularly helpful throughout implementation and beyond. With a clear understanding of the venue’s wider vision for customer experience, it is there to support them and grow the service inline with the company’s aspirations.
In their own words –
“We have big ambitions for the National Opera and Ballet’s digital presence; we see it as the answer to customers enjoying the seamless audience experience we want them to have. While our immediate goal has been to reduce queue sizes, our bigger, long term objective is to optimise customer satisfaction. We’re excited to soon be adding food offerings to our pre-ordering offering.
“There’s a huge business opportunity in pre-ordering, especially for concert halls. We strongly advise other venues like ours to consider the potential of order-ahead technology; the internet makes people less guarded and that makes it easier for them to make choices and purchases online.”
– Bas Schotsman, Manager of Hospitality, Nationale Opera en Ballet
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.