31 May 2018   

5 min read
HOYTS is a household name. It operates 48 cinemas with over 419 screens and more than 60,000 seats and is spearheading exciting innovations in cinema with initiatives such as virtual reality, esports arenas and a partnership with Amazon, which are challenging the standard movie going experience in Australia. With its seven-screen cinema complex opening at Stockland Green Hills next month, we asked CEO and President, Damien Keogh, to share his thoughts on how HOYTS is engaging with its customers and repositioning the iconic company for the future.
What are some of the initiatives HOYTS is using to keep the cinema experience relevant for today’s audiences, particularly teenagers who consume media in so many different ways?

Cinema has been around since the 1890s and despite all the new technology in our lives, it continues to draw Australian audiences by the millions. In a market that moves quickly, we stay ahead by asking one thing: How can do we continue to give our guests a better experience? Coming to HOYTS is more than just a trip to the movies, it is about giving our guests a variety of experiences and content. This year alone, HOYTS has introduced our in-foyer virtual reality offering called HOYTS XVR and signed a partnership with Gfinity Esports Australia to create a dedicated Esports arena at HOYTS.

The cinema environment has always been and will continue to be a natural meeting place and HOYTS recognises that the in-foyer space is just as important as the auditoriums. The majority of our locations have mega video walls throughout the foyer where we program the content to fit the time of day and guests in foyer. The content varies from our promotions, to trailers, behind the scenes clips and interviews with the movie stars. It’s just another way we engage our audiences and encourage repeat visitation.

We are also the number one cinema brand in terms of follower counts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and these platforms, combined with our other owned assets, are key for us in connecting with our guests.


How is HOYTS heightening the cinema environment to keep customers engaged and coming back?

HOYTS is dedicated to creating the cinema experience of the future, our business has been established for over one hundred years and in that time, has evolved to consistently create an out of home entertainment experience like no other. HOYTS was the first to market with powered recliner seating and by the end of 2018 guests at over 79% of our locations will be able to sit back with their feet up and enjoy the latest movies, all for the price of a standard cinema ticket. A majority of our recliner cinemas are also licensed for our guests to enjoy a selection of alcoholic beverages.

With our premium dine-in cinema experience HOYTS LUX combining fine wine, a gourmet menu designed by one of the most popular personalities on Australian television, Manu Feildel, and service at the touch of a button, we’ve set the standard for a first-class cinema experience.

Beyond the seats and the screen, our brand promise ‘Experience More’ still carries through. We’re continually evaluating how we can challenge the traditional movie going experience and investing in the expansion of our offer with the likes of Esports, Virtual Reality as well as our food and beverage offering through more open plan, walk through Candy Bar’s.


HOYTS recently partnered with Amazon to introduce voice interaction for its customers. Can you tell us about this innovation and what it means?

We have now launched a Skill for Amazon Alexa and the beauty of this means guests can simply ask their query, from across the room using their voice only. For example, guests can say, ‘Alexa, ask HOYTS what’s on at Green Hills next Tuesday?’ Finding out what to watch at the movies will never be the same again.


What other innovations are HOYTS using to enrich the movie experience?

Recently HOYTS launched state-of-the-art 360° virtual reality immersions at five locations across Australia where guests have a chance to get off their seats and into the movie action. Virtual reality is the latest innovation in entertainment and by bringing virtual reality to HOYTS cinemas, we’re not only making this technology more widely available, we’re also enriching the movie experience for our guests.


HOYTS is growing its footprint in the Hunter Valley with the June opening of a new seven-screen cinema complex at Stockland Green Hills. What can customers expect?

With every seat in the cinema being a powered recliner including two Xtremescreens with Dolby Atmos surround sound and our premium dine-in cinema experience HOYTS LUX, HOYTS Green Hills has set itself up to be a complete entertainment destination. There’s a huge selection for moviegoers to choose from with our food and beverage offering as they wander through our open plan Candy Bar Treat City or Artie’s Bar & Café, with both being a great place to meet up with friends before seeing the latest blockbuster. Guests really can expect to enjoy all the best parts of the HOYTS cinema experience at Green Hills.


What will make the cinema experience at Green Hills an exceptional one?

Our new Green Hills cinema complex will be the biggest in the region, and promises moviegoers an experience unlike any other in the Hunter Valley. We’ve gone through extensive planning and we’ve ended up succeeding in our goal of bringing the best of HOYTS Chadstone, our flagship cinema, to Green Hills. With such a variety of experiences with powered recliners, HOYTS LUX, HOYTS Xtremescreen plus free parking, we’re excited to launch our newest all-recliner cinema in a thriving retail, dining and entertainment destination.


How important is customer service in making the movie experience magical for a new generation of moviegoers?

With a mission to place the guest experience at the heart of our business, HOYTS continues to create the cinema of the future by investing in innovation. From the cinemas to our head office, our guests mean everything to us, so we put everything into keeping them happy. Our Guest Obsessed Program is one way we achieve this, ensuring every person who works at HOYTS has a role to play. By constantly seeking our guests’ feedback, we know what we’re doing right and can build on it. We’re also constantly connecting with our guests through social media and our loyalty program, HOYTS Rewards, which allows us to better understand our guests and help create the best movie-going experience possible.