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MovieTickets.com launches points-based loyalty program

MovieTickets.com has launched its first-ever loyalty program.

The Red Carpet Rewards Club allows registered members to earn 100 points for each ticket purchased on MovieTickets.com. The goal is to increase the frequency with which members use the online service; currently, MovieTickets.com does a large part of its business on the opening weekend for blockbuster titles, after which usage drops until the next big release.

“We had been considering a loyalty program for quite some time because, as you know, loyalty programs can increase a repeat customer’s order by almost 25%,” said Walt Borchers, SVP of sales and marketing for MovieTickets.com. “We wanted to start rewarding customers for utilizing MovieTickets.com because, for major blockbusters, we will regularly sell out multiple showings for opening weekends, but the continued use of our service does not always follow. We would like people to use us at any time, and we thought the best way to incentivize that would be to reward consumers.”

Points can be redeemed for prizes, but, in a twist, prizes are auctioned off to the highest points bidder, rather than just bought and sold. Auctions are blind, meaning those bidding do not know what others have bid for the prize. Each auction runs for a month, during which members can bid on three different tiers of prizes.

Borchers explained the auction system this way: “It generates excitement and suspense for consumers, and it allows people to get involved right away even when they have low points. They don’t have to stockpile them away for a long time, so they can jump right in and win.”

Prizes will run from $100 MovieTickets.com gift cards in the lowest tier to iPods, Xboxes and vacations in the highest.

MovieTickets.com is using targeted e-mails and its weekly member newsletters to encourage its 11 million+ registered users — many of whom are between 20 and 50 years old — to sign up for Red Carpet. There’s also a tab on the MovieTickets.com site where visitors can get more information on the program and sign up. New users of MovieTickets.com will automatically be signed up for the program, but will be able to opt out.

The rewards program is operating on an organic growth plan and is depending on MovieTickets.com’s regular growth (30,000 new registered users a week) to drive the growth of Red Carpet Rewards, Borchers said.

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