Why a loyalty program is a must if you run a cinema business

All industries, no matter the size, need loyal customers. And what is the best way to attract existing customers even more? Not surprisingly, using reward programs is the checked and verified method. Thus, the most successful cinemas recognize that customer loyalty is crucial for driving business. Let’s dive deeper into why loyalty programs work for your cinema and how to manage such programs right.

Why start a loyalty program in cinema?

It doesn’t matter what type of business you run – you always want to keep customers coming back for more. It is much easier to convert a returning customer than a new one. Every new customer comes with a price tag, after all (you need to spend money to raise awareness and promote what you have to offer). Therefore, it really pays dividends to run a reward program for your existing customers. The more they come back, the further the money you have invested in marketing stretches. Another thing is competing in the cinema market. It is worth using incentives and rewards to mitigate the loss of customs to rivals. Loyalty programs make visits to the cinema more affordable which makes customers more spoiled and willing to come back. Sometimes they bring other customers, so your customer base increases. And, finally, loyalty programs tend to reactivate inactive customers with new incentives and promotional offers.

What type of loyalty programs you can run

Different businesses use different methods to make customers come back. However, the most important are: points-based reward schemes, membership discount schemes, and subscriptions.

Points-based loyalty programs

The simplest type of loyalty program. Customers collect points for each purchase, then they can exchange the points with free tickets, purchases in snack concessions, bars, or café. The most popular are discounted (or even free) tickets that reward customers after they see a certain number of movies. Points-based loyalty programs work great with punch cards. Every time a customer buys a ticket, you hole punch the card to keep track of the clients’ participation. The more tickets the customer purchases, the more stamps they collect and the more rewards to collect. The best way to manage the program is to use a POS system.


Cinemas often take advantage of membership schemes. Such programs make customers feel appreciated and give them the sense that they are getting a good deal. The membership fee is usually paid monthly or annually. Sometimes, membership rewards customers with extra tickets free of charge, or with exclusive screenings of new movies. Such a reward is an experience the members will never forget – they will feel like celebrities as they watch the latest blockbuster before everyone else. A paid membership is often a chance for the customers to get discounts at partner restaurants.

Subscriptions / unlimited pass

With an annual subscription pass, a customer can watch as many movies as they want, as many times as they want, and whenever they want. Sometimes they also have additional club benefits like discounts on food and drinks in the bar. They usually don’t pay any booking fee, and they can preview screenings of upcoming releases. For a cinema, this is a great deal, as a large proportion of their revenue comes from food and drink sales.

Gift cards and vouchers

There is another way to keep your customers interested in your services – gift cards/vouchers. Technically, they aren’t the type of loyalty program, but they may be a great addition. A card enables the receiver to choose their favorite screen and treat themselves to the candy bar.

Quick summary

Modern cinemas have developed multiple ways to handle customer loyalty programs. Most of them can be easily managed in POS software platforms. No matter what type of loyalty programs you choose for your cinema business, you should always keep in mind that the program should be easily customizable so that you can combine various elements and adjust the program right to your needs.


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