Movie Theater Chains in Mauritius suck. Here’s Why.

According to Forbes, Walt Disney’s remake of The Lion King opened yesterday with a boffo $78.5 million Friday gross, including $23 million in Thursday previews. Including overseas grosses, it has already earned $270.5 million worldwide.

Just a few months after Marvel’s Grand Finale release, much awaited 90’s animated blockbuster The Lion King premiered worldwide a couple of days ago. While I watched the hype gain momentum online and memes overtake my Newsfeed these last weeks, all I could think about was how disappointing my previous movie theater experiences had been in Mauritius. Despite my initial reluctance, my mother still managed to drag me along to Star Cinema, Bagatelle yesterday to celebrate my little cousin’s fantastic grades. So, I decided to give it one last chance.

And I won’t budge a bit (Rant Alert ahead!): Movie Theaters in Mauritius suck BIG TIME. Here’s why.

Humans adapt, Businesses should too

Credits: ODJ

Survival of the fittest. This fundamental of Darwinian’s Evolutionary Theory can also be applied to businesses. In simpler words, in an economically competitive era like ours, if businesses don’t adapt to the needs of their customers, they eventually become obsolete. But it seems that nobody figured that out at both Mcine and Star Cinemas, two of the leading Cinema Chains in Mauritius.

Why Businesses should care about Customer Satisfaction

To date, there are about a dozen cinemas in Mauritius. Out of which none provide online bookings. Moreover, Counters open only half an hour before the movie starts.

Here’s the situation: No one likes to queue up (And if you do, you’re probably an alien). Yet, every so often, as some of the biggest movies in the entire Film History hit the screens, never-ending queues can be seen at the cinema.

To top it all, Star Cinema Branches do not provide card payment services. Why is it so?

Not only do you have to show up at least 2 hours before to make sure you don’t go home empty-handed but in the event you’d actually get your hands on those much sought-after movie tickets, chances are you’ll end up in one of those (Pardon my French) you-can’t-see-sh*t theater seats on the far-left where teens usually make out. Ew, all praise the free-seating policy. And if you wait until the hype goes down, evil movie spoilers on social media will make sure you develop murderous thoughts.

We thought calling the cinema to book our tickets in advance could work but uh-uh. They never everrrr answer the phone – just like that psycho ex of yours you’ve been trying to avoid for months.

Can a Booking App be a Game Changer for this Industry?

According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, Uber is believed to be an easily replicable Business Model. It therefore had to grow at a phenomenal rate. Does this mean that because businesses do not need to shut out rivals, they tend to bother less about their clientele’s satisfaction?

Without a doubt, my answer would be yes. All around the world, globally known brands like Uber, Amazon and Airbnb have turned to fast, efficient, online booking apps. The results have been phenomenal so far – These multinationals make billions of dollars of profit every year and have got some pretty decent customer satisfaction rates.

With today’s savvy technology, it would be logical to design a mobile portal that enables Mauritian movie-goers to purchase their tickets directly from their smartphone. One could pick their seats, venue and preferred movie session in just a click and make the payment online. Nobody’s reinventing the wheel here, these Apps do exist! BookMyShow, for instance, is one of the best tried-and-true movie ticket-booking Apps I’ve tried when in India. A local version could represent a creative, user-friendly and efficient solution to boosting the local movie theater industry and their sales revenue.

Rule No. Important in Business Optimization: Know Your Audience

The poor rating Star Cinemas received online goes to show how unsatisfied most Mauritian movie-goers are.

Interesting Fact. I’ve recently noticed that the queues are getting longer and longer for English Versions. I’m no business development expert but understanding your target audience seems like a fairly important thing to consider in business. If one understands the dynamics of demand, one can better supply.  So why is it that most of the movie theaters only provide one OV session per day? Especially at a time that isn’t at all convenient for people who work or go to school?

While it once provided people with phone booking options, MCine‘s portal has been unresponsive for months now. The “review” option is also deactivated on MCine’s Facebook page. Could this have been done on purpose to avoid a massive backlash from customers?

All of this led me to realize that local businesses are generally run with poor or next to no consideration for business optimization and user experience. There’s also an urge to beg the following questions: How competent are marketing professionals in Mauritius today? How much do businesses actually care about their customers? How ready are we to give up on the patch-up culture? Because clearly, leisure in Mauritius isn’t the only industry that is affected by such mindsets.

If you’re thinking of starting a business in Mauritius, here’s a Business Venture idea you may want to explore (Go ahead, it’s free) and some food for thought on how central your clientele should be in your Business Strategy.


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