The Regal Guest Response System Proves Successful
by Alex Billington
December 3, 2006
Over the last few months, a new system called the Regal Guest Response System has been tested in a few of Regal Entertainment's theaters. The announcement about its implementation came back in early August, and an update has come recently from the Regal CEO Michael Campbell during the Reuters media summit in New York City (via Engadget as well).
The "RGRS" is a little wireless pager that has 4 buttons on it: 1) picture and sound issues, 2) "disruptions" or disturbances within the audience (cell phones, etc), 3) temperature, and 4) "other" issues. These pagers are given to certain loyal patrons and "frequent customers" to alert anonymously problems in the theater while enjoying a movie. The anonymous aspect is something that they introduced in order to prevent people from being "assaulted with bats, knives, guns" for telling on others. As elementary-school as it sounds, it does happen often in Regal's theaters (I'm glad it's rare where I live). In addition, patrons who carry these get a free bag of popcorn for thanks in helping improve the experience.
All around some great thinking on Regal's part, and it's great to hear that it's been succesful in its 4 month usage so far. Campbell had some incredible quotes during his presentation at the summit:
"Back when I was a teenager there was still a reverence I think to some extent for the movie going experience. You knew when you went in that you weren't supposed to talk, you weren't supposed to disturb anybody and you certainly didn't have cellphones."
"There's a whole generation out there today. They multi-task. They think they can do everything at the same time and every body else is going to be okay with that and it's just not."
Finally, someone is getting it right! If you can't go and sit at the movie theater, turn off your cell phone completely, stop text messaging and playing games, or otherwise thinking about something else besides the movie - then don't go! For once I'll say that those people who want to do that need to stay at home and watch movies on their own time. The rest of us don't want our experience to be ruined just because of them. I'm also glad to finally see concern put into the picture and sound, with one of the buttons notifying problems for that as well.
Out of anything I've heard, seen, or even noticed over the past year, this is the best step towards improving the theater-going experience. Although Regal is resilient to some of our own ideas for improvement, they at least have done something right. I hope this model can be implemented in a much wider range as well as duplicated and even advanced in other chains like Cinemark and AMC. Let's hope for more in the future! And congrats on a good job Regal.