Entertainment voucher app gobbled up

RACHEL THOMAS
Last updated 10:05 29/05/2014

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Coupon kings and queens who swear by the Entertainment Book now have the option to buy a digital membership - and Hamilton merchants are seeing a steady uptake of the new system.

The smartphone app, rolled out in early April as part of Entertainment Publication's 15th birthday, displays offers in the user's area.

Jay Prangnell, general manager at Furnace, said the app was more convenient than carrying a book around.

"The digital version seems to be a lot easier for everyone. Customers are probably getting more for their money because they carry it with them [on their phone] everywhere they go."

National Entertainment Publications manager Ruth Boyes said the app had come out of customer requests. "This move into the digital space is definitely coming from customers. Families want the ability to look for offers that are near them, make a booking and give their feedback with the click of a button."

Wilson Kaan, duty manager at Joe's Garage in Hamilton, estimated he'd seen about 10-15 customers using the app, versus about 40-50 with the book.

Llyween Wilson, from Hamilton Zoo, said she's also seeing more of the traditional paper vouchers.

"I guess with this new [app] you have got to have those smartphones so it comes down to if you have one and if you're young enough to use them."

Duty manager at Cullens restaurant in Hamilton, Jun Fu, said about a tenth of customers used the digital version.

Palate duty manager Justine Nicholls said she hadn't seen many customers using the app, but believed that was because many were still using the old book, which would expire on June 1.

She said from what she saw, the digital app would be an easier method for staff to follow than the paper version.

Boyes said the challenge lay in building a platform that worked for more than 4000 merchants "from fine dining to a drive through window".

"Where most companies are simply trying to figure out how they can digitise their customer service or marketing, we've had to digitise our entire product . . ."

The company's research demonstrates how quickly the digital space is moving, she said. "When we first did some research about two months ago, about 20 per cent said they would prefer the digital. When we asked a week ago, it was closer to 50 per cent - things are happening in the digital space so fast."

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