How a Simple Survey Built Trust and Changed My Mind on Going Back to the Movies

Posted on
May 5, 2020

Yesterday on Monday, May 4th, at around 2pm CST I opened an email from Alamo Drafthouse asking for my feedback on some of their proposed safety initiatives when they re-open post-COVID.

The full email text:

We've been hard at work researching ways to create the safest possible movie-going experience for our guests and our staff when we reopen. Please take this short survey to share your thoughts and concerns – your feedback truly matters.

We wish you, your family, and friends all the best, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

For some context to my out of TX readers, Alamo Drafthouse theaters are some of my favorite places in Austin and I make a point to tell almost everybody I know about the amazing movie going experience they provide. I also love to go to the movies regardless but from Alamo's high-quality food to their insistence on keeping phones silent and away it makes going there all the more special. So of course when they ask for feedback, I'm going to oblige. Especially when the email they sent was so straightforward and not filled with any marketing fluff. It was a body of text with a simple call to action that was extremely clear on what they wanted.

Now before I opened this email, I was pretty set on not going to the movies for a long time with how dangerous breaking social distancing in a theater environment could be. But, by the end of it, after I provided my candid feedback, my mind was completely changed, and I gained more respect for a company that I already admired.

The email is tracked so I won't share the link to the survey in order to keep Alamo's data clean. But I will provide the questions asked below so you can see for yourself how powerful user feedback can be beyond just for gathering relevant responses.

Alamo Drafthouse Surveys

1. Where is your local Alamo Drafthouse? (a drop down with cities that have Alamo locations)

2. Before Covid-19, how often would you come to Alamo Drafthouse?

  • At least once a week
  • At least once a month
  • Every couple of months or so
  • Once or twice a year
  • Haven't been in over a year

3. After the shelter-in-place is lifted and theaters are allowed to re-open, when do you think you'll feel comfortable returning?

  • Right away.
  • Not right away, but once I feel comfortable.
  • Not until there is a vaccine in place.
  • I'm not sure when I'd return.

4. We're hoping to learn more about how you're thinking about entertainment todau and going forward. Which social activities and forms of entertainment do you miss most during the shelter-in-place?

  • Going to bars and restaurants
  • Attending sporting events
  • Attending live concerts and performances
  • Going to the movies
  • Hanging out with friends

5. How much would each of these safety procedures affect your decision to return to the theater? (Options: Definitely want this, Nice to have, Don't care, Definitely don't want)

  • Employees wearing masks and gloves at all times within the theater, kitchens, and surrounding areas
  • Extra seats automatically placed around my seat, to ensure 6' between other seats.
  • Requiring all guests in the lobby, theater and surrounding areas to wear masks.
  • Having my drink served in either a bottle or can, to ensure I'm the only one opening it.
  • Daily COVID-19 screened performed on all employees entering the building.
  • Using disposable and factory-sealed utensils, to ensure I'm the only one touching them.
  • Providing hand sanitizer at the entryway, at my seat and throughout the theater.
  • Enforcing social distancing within the bathrooms, by forming lines and blocking off every other bathroom stall and sink.
  • Closing the lobby bars to prevent crowds.
  • Coordinating exit plans at the end of each movie, to ensure social distancing when exiting the theater.
  • Bathroom attendants to ensure social distancing and clean faucet handles.
  • Enforcing a no coughing or sneezing policy in the theater.

6. When we re-open, we'll operate at a reduced capacity to comply with mandates and to ensure the safety of our guests and staff. As a result, we won't be able to open unless we have a minimum food and beverage purchase required with each ticket. How much of a financial difficulty would a $20 minimum food purchase, on top of your ticket cost, be to you?

  • Extremely difficult
  • Very difficult
  • Somewhat difficult
  • Slightly difficult
  • Not at all difficult

7. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being very unlikely to return and 5 being very likely to return, how would each of the following impact your decision to return to the theater?

  • A required food or beverage purchase with your ticket purchase.
  • A limited menu with just a few food and beverage options.
  • A coursed menu where you select an appetizer, entree, beverages, and cookie.
  • A two seat minimum required per ticket purchase.
  • Limiting ticket purchase to online and app only, with no option to buy a ticket at the theater.
  • Removing the use of cash at the theater, allowing only credit card or online pre-payment.
  • Having your temperature taken with a touch free thermometer at the entryway into the theater.

8. What movies would you most likely want to see when you return? Check all that apply. (a checkbox list of a bunch of movies)

9. When would you most likely return to the theater?

  • Weekday daytime
  • Weekday evening
  • Weekend daytime
  • Weekend evening

10. Would you be willing to submit an online acknowledgement of a code of conduct and health and safety procedures with the purchase of your online ticket, with the understanding that you may be asked to leave for not following guidelines?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe, I have some reservation

11. Please share any additional comments regarding the reopening of Alamo Drafthouse. (long form answer)

Posted on
May 5, 2020