With a mission to preserve and share the Fox Theatre’s longstanding history, the iconic venue leveraged technology to drive revenue and establish deeper brand affinity with guests. The Fox team knew they were missing a level of service in concession lines. But they wanted to find a mobile solution that would do more than just shorten lines; they wanted to enrich the guest experience and find new ways for visitors to interact with the theatre.
Bypass POS system integration, Google Analytics, Facebook Graph API integration, iOS platform, custom backend implementation
in the media
- Conducted user research to create a phased, digital experience roadmap
- Designed and built an iOS mobile app for guests to buy tickets, pre-order drinks and enjoy a virtual tour
- Integrated with Bypass, the venue’s POS, to order and pay for drinks in-app
- Used technology to engage fans with history of 89-year old institution
- Decreased time in line, increased sales with mobile ordering
- Drove deeper customer engagement with venue through virtual tour
- Positioned the Fox Theatre as an innovative leader of Atlanta attractions
- Positive feedback from guests and the Fox Theatre board
Atlanta’s Fox Theatre Builds on a Legacy of Innovation
The Fox Theatre opened its doors on Dec. 25, 1929, during difficult economic times just two months after the stock market crash. Shortly after, the theatre declared bankruptcy in the wake of financial hardships in the 30s, but fought for survival with a change in management in the 40s. It became one of the shining stars of Atlanta theatre, known for attracting world-renowned talent and hosting the premiere of Gone with the Wind.
By 1974, because of the rise of suburban movie theaters, the Fox began to decline yet again and was approached by Southern Bell to buy and sell the historic institution. Public outcry and mobilization lead to mass community support that prevented the demolition of the venue and ultimately lead to its salvation. In 1976, it was named a National Historic Landmark, and the Fox Theatre’s original architecture is still largely preserved 43 years later.
Today, the 89-year-old non-profit continues to search for new ways to deliver on its mission to preserve and share the venue. With its rich history and legacy of innovation, the Fox team and the board of directors decided to explore the use of technology to further enhance the guest experience and drive brand affinity among its fans. They decided that a mobile app was a step in the right direction. The team wanted to create an experience for patrons that was distinguished from the website and agnostic to the activity on the stage, and they also wanted to increase revenue. However, the Fox team didn’t know how to best deliver on these objectives, so they partnered with stable|kernel to bring these visions to life.
“The thing that stuck out about stable|kernel was how well they knew our business and how vibrant and exciting their prototype was. It was totally different from anything we had gotten from anyone else,” said Jamie Vosmeier, senior director of sales and marketing.
The Fox conducted initial research and discovered the majority of its audience were iOS users so we started building an iOS app first. Our team are avid fans of the historic theatre and well-acquainted with the experience, which helped inform our approach to development. We had a unique guest perspective of the theatre and brought refreshing ideas for improvement to the initial brainstorm. Based on the problems that the Fox was trying to solve, we narrowed down the most effective features and functionality for an MVP.
Guests’ most significant pain point was the long lines at the concession stands. As a visitor, before the show and during intermission, patrons are forced to either use the restroom or purchase a drink with little time to spare. Our solution offered fans the ability to pre-order drinks in the app and then pick up at a designated concession stand without waiting in line. Now, as intermission nears during a performance, users can open the app and pre-order a drink that will be waiting at a designated concession. Guests can also simply pay in the app by safely saving their card information. The app expedites the process while increasing revenue by reducing the time it takes to make a sale.
To further engage the guests with the rich history of the theatre, we created a virtual tour with historical information to enhance their interactions with the venue. Fans can read about the history of each room while walking through the theatre, adding a layer of intrigue and depth to the experience of the theatre. By combining the physical and virtual worlds, the app drives deeper engagement with the brand while also creating an awesome experience for passionate patrons. “I think the tour is beautiful; everyone has a Fox story which I love, but we’re actually letting the Fox tell its story through the app using technology,” Vosmeier said.
The last of the features eases the process of searching for upcoming events and purchasing tickets. The Fox team wanted the app to appeal to an audience that not only included visitors to the theatre, but also reached people who were considering attending an event. Fans want to find and buy tickets with no hassle no matter where they are and in-app search and purchase does just that. With this feature, in addition to the virtual tour, any person who may want to visit the Fox Theatre can engage with the brand through the app.
“Using the app is very easy, the tour is intuitive and informative, and drink ordering is also super easy; we tried to make this as painless as possible for guests. You can get more info about the Fox staff, contact info of the venue and even buy a ticket. The app does a little bit of everything,” said Vosmeier.
The guests at the theatre and the board members have given positive feedback about the app. Both parties truly enjoy the virtual tour; they find the photos beautiful and the historical information abundant and engaging. Beyond the virtual tour, guests are relieved and excited about pre-ordering drinks in the app. They find it convenient and easy and enjoy the freedom to have time to use the restroom and purchase drinks during intermission.
We developed a strong partnership with the Fox team while working together on this project. “First and foremost, you just got us. We felt important from the very beginning and that was huge,” Vosmeier added. The team appreciated our consistent communication and laser focus to keep the project on track. Because of the solid foundation we built in the first version of the iOS app, we are set to launch an Android version in the near future to offer every guest the same experience. In this version, the virtual tour will be enhanced with a 360-degree view of the spaces.