The introduction of Vista’s integrated Point of Sale has not only created a simpler, more attractive environment for UK cinema giant, Vue Entertainment, it has also reduced costs...
UK based Vue Entertainment completed rolling out its 56 site cinema chain with the Vista Cinema system in late 2006. The rollout began in early February 2006, and took a full 7 months to complete, with Vista installed at 54 Vue sites by the end of August. The project, which consisted of over 1000 man days, was carried out by Vista, Vue, and Vista business partner VCSTimeless.
Vue Entertainment formed in May 2003 after SBC International Cinemas acquired 36 cinemas from Warner Village. This was followed by the acquisition of another seven cinemas in early 2005 from Ster Cinemas in the UK and Ireland.
All three of these cinema groups were previously installed with different cinema management systems. The Vista Cinema system was installed in the SBC International Cinemas, which brought the smallest group of cinemas to the table, previously only owning five sites. This was the system Vue decided to roll out to the rest of its now sizeable circuit, due to the flexible nature of the system and Vista’s comprehensive cinema product offering.
Since May 2003, Vue’s circuit has expanded to encompass 568 screens over 56 cinemas and 125,911 seats. Vue is now one of the largest operators of modern multiplex cinemas in the United Kingdom, and has the second largest market share in terms of box office, attracting over 32 million customers every year.
Although Vue plan to open 10 new sites in the next 2-3 years, their primary focus is on being the best exhibitor in Europe, not necessarily the biggest. Their high quality modern cinemas have contributed to their popularity amongst audiences, with stadium seating and the latest in projection and audiovisual technologies.
Integrated Point of Sale
The benefits Vue has seen from the installation of Vista in their cinema sites is an increase in concessions spend per patron, decreased labour costs, and a more efficiently managed operation. The conversion to a single point of sale for both concessions and box office, has further increased revenues, and is a lot more convenient for their customers.
Vue Chief Operating Officer, Steve Knibbs was very impressed with the flexibility of the Vista Point of Sale, “By offering a ‘Ticket at any Till’ option and ATMs at which you can purchase tickets and also collect pre-booked tickets, the service levels we can offer our guests have improved beyond recognition. This in turn has led to improved transaction rates at the concessions stand which is helping to improve spend per head. This is great news all around, as it is a win-win situation for guests, cinema teams and the company.”
“The introduction of one integrated state-of-the-art operating system across the circuit has given us a tremendous advantage over all our competitors. Our job going forward is to take full advantage of the opportunity Vista has provided us.”
In order to make the transition between the Vista and the previous ticketing system as smooth as possible, Vista wrote a function that imported all of the pre-purchased sales and bookings made in the old system into Vista on the day of the cut over. This allowed Vue to convert cinemas during busy weeks, where thousands of advanced sales and bookings had been made.
Additional Vista Modules
Vue not only purchased the base Vista system, but also many of the additional cinema modules that Vista has on offer, making their cinema chain one of the most technologically advanced in the UK market. The purchase of Vista Kiosk, Call Centre and Web has provided three additional ticket purchase methods for their customers to choose from, and the purchase of Film Programming, Cash Desk, and Head Office has allowed Vue to further streamline their cinema operations processes.
Simple and Effective Film Programming
One of the key reasons Vue purchased Vista was due to the flexible nature of the system. A number of modifications needed to be made to product in order to meet Vue’s needs, and these were made quickly and efficiently.
The fact that the Film Programming function is completely integrated into both Vista Head Office system and Vista Cinema creates a seamless real-time management environment for Vue planning and operations.
Business Specific Customisations
Enhancements were also made to Vista Head Office to a variety of film hire and royalty scenarios including management of house costs, session counts, currency by distributor.
The core of the Vue ticketing website is handled by Vista Web components. The ticketing engine was embedded into the existing website and the look and feel was adapted to the unique Vue branding. Vista worked together with Vue’s third party website development company, Peach Digital from Scotland, to integrate their front end web-pages with Vista Web.
Vista’s Web software works as a central sales site for all of the cinemas in Vue’s circuit. A background process runs continuously, updating the Web Server database with program, film and pricing details. This approach means small program adjustments are quickly reflected on the website. Vista Web not only enables Vue’s customers to purchase tickets online, but they can also select their own seats using a seating plan of the theatre.
The Vue website is built to withstand huge transaction demand to cater for last minute block buster bookings. During busy times up to 25% of the Box Office has been remotely booked and the web infrastructure has been specifically designed to handle this enormous pressure.
Currently Vue are affiliated with Nectar, the largest UK coalition loyalty program. Nectar card holders are able to redeem points, at Vue Cinemas for a free movie tickets. This partnership has added exceptional value to the Vue brand and after the success Vue has had with the Vista Cinema system, they are now looking to add Vista Loyalty to their software suite. This will enable Vue to increase communication and build a long term relationships, with their customers and build further on the Vue brand.
The recently refurbished Vue Thurrock site, features many Vista modules such as Web, Call Center, MobilePOS, MobileTicketing, Kiosk and Plasma Signage, to name a few. This has made Vue Thurrock one of the most technologically advanced cinemas in the UK.
For further information on Vue cinemas please refer to their website www.myvue.com.