Group Sales: exploiting an untapped market

Group Sales is designed to enable your corporate sales team to book and sell cinema space more systematically, efficiently and profitably. It meets the criteria for consistent, hassle-free delivery of a smooth, co-ordinated event for your customers and most importantly, it will create the very best experience for your customers and ensure their return.

Joakim Kampe

When Group Sales was first delivered to our customers, it attracted a lot of attention but not all of it was positive! Group Sales had fantastic potential, but more work needed to be done. That involved listening to our customers’ specific feedback and working through their additional ‘wants’, to enable a product that optimised efficiency versus only improving efficiency. When the changes were finally revealed at our Vista 2017 Customer Conference earlier this year, the response was both enthusiastic and gratifying. 

We all know that hosting A-level events at your cinema can be complex, fraught with potential miscommunication between your corporate sales team, film programmers, the cinema and the finance team. Now, Group Sales is a one-stop single source of truth for managing group events within your circuit. 

Group Sales can be broken down into a six-step process, as mapped via our Group Sales Infographic.  We asked our Group Sales Product Director Joakim Kampe to elucidate further.

1. Initial Contact and Inquiry Creation 

Group Sales Events

JK: “When a customer contacts you, you can create a booking and record all the information about the customer’s preferences. For example, they might want to see 'this' type of film, want 'these' kind of tickets, and 'this' kind of specialized event in terms of all the items for sale that a moviegoer can utilize in your cinema.”

It’s vital to be able to tailor bookings to your customer’s exact needs. With access to data from cinemas such as screen size, available films and concessions, your sales team doesn’t have to make decisions based on guesswork.

2. Approve and Schedule

JK: “You can gather all the customer’s private event requirements into one big package, and via the Group Sales module, the information reaches the film programmers who set the schedules; Group Sales then sends the schedule information to the cinema handling the event.”

Group Sales is very flexible, letting you flesh out event schedules with start and end times, as well as activities such as introductory speeches or Q&A sessions. The simple interface lets you easily adjust terms and prices. Whether you schedule sessions at head office or down at the cinema, Group Sales enables seamless collaboration between your sales and film programming teams.

3. Confirm the Event

JK: “As a cinema manager, you can see upcoming events 'this week' and all that needs to be prepared for the occasion. Then on the day everything is pre-populated for the customer.”

Once confirmed with a client, booking request notifications are immediately available in Film Programming for planning staff to add into the schedule. The corporate sales team is notified of any differences between the scheduled session and their booking request, which can be approved, or negotiated as necessary.

When a booking’s details have been approved, and the client has paid the deposit, the booking is automatically downloaded to the cinema (including all associated concessions), ready for use at POS.

4. The Main Event

Group Sales Components

JK: “If a customer wants to add experiences to the event such as ordering a round of beer, it’s easy to add that to the tab and the customer can choose (or you can), whether payment is made immediately or later. You can send an invoice, which is reconciled in Group Sales.”

So, the big day finally arrives and your excited group can be confident everything will be ready for them, including tickets and concessions already loaded into POS.

Just like running a tab, any extra concessions can be added without risk of losing track of additional purchases. This really helps your POS operators focus on delivering food and entertainment to the highest standard.

5. Post Event Management

JK: “You have the order the client has originally made; compare it with what took place on the night and reconcile the two. The customer can be sent an accurate update and the finance team can easily reconcile actual spend made, versus payment received or due.”

Did you know that many cinemas lose thousands of dollars each year from not being able to identify the correct corporate client to charge for outstanding payments? (This was one of the key criteria for the design of Vista Group Sales).

No longer; after an event, your corporate sales team has full visibility of any outstanding payments to follow up. You can ensure quick receipt of revenue, while also giving your clients payment flexibility. Your finance team can easily reconcile all payments received with invoices raised.

6. Customer Retention

JK: “We want Group Sales to be the place where you collect all your corporate information, so that you can see your customers’ history to help drive future sales.”

So, the event is all over, it’s gone smoothly and all payments are made and reconciled. But Group Sales can help you build on that successful event; the sales team can view a client’s booking history and reach out with invitations to host further events. With full visibility of a customer’s wants and their experience, you can calculate value-add opportunities and leverage the relationships established; you’ll be sure to turn customers into loyal regulars.

Corporate sales really is an untapped market for our exhibition customers. Group Sales makes it easy to generate a new sales channel selling directly to corporate customers or other consumer groups. It’s also a way to fill up unused cinema space, so that available resource is fully leveraged and additional profits generated.

Joakim sums up the value of Group Sales

Perhaps another drum roll for Group Sales?

For instance, self-service payments are now easier and more flexible; the customer’s invoice has a unique link which takes them to a self-service portal. They pay via the portal, relevant group sales process staff can see that payment has been made and everyone is happy.

We’ve also created different invoice templates; you can take the existing Vista choices, copy them, create your own versions and when you generate your invoice, pick which template you want to use – every customer is different after all.

Group Sales quickly and easily processes bulk voucher orders and takes care of tracking, printing, invoicing and payments.

Tax exempt bookings are now simple too; you can flag a client as tax exempt so that when you create their bookings, they are automatically tax-exempt – job done.

Payment information at POS has also been enhanced; previously, the POS operator had no visibility of pre-payment made, with the danger that customers could over-pay ‘on the night’. But now Group Sales shows the pre-payment amount, so that the POS operator knows what has been paid upfront, is more in control and most importantly, is able to communicate with the client armed with full knowledge of their situation.

View Infographic
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