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our bulletins will be essential reading to get the pulse of the nation

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Published September 2nd 2020

Back to Fun: How Movie Buffs and Foodies Are Feeling About Businesses Reopening

From going to the movies to dining out, many of us have missed our hobbies during lockdown. But what about the super-fans, like move buffs and food lovers? How do the enthusiasts feel about their favorite establishments reopening?

To celebrate the launch of Social Panels, we’ve been exploring how different groups of people are reacting to going back to school, back to work, and now, back to fun activities.

With Social Panels, you can explore conversations coming from specific groups of people online that you define. For example, you might want to look at a panel of florists, or a panel of teachers in Australia with an interest in basketball. It’s all possible with the many flexible filters you can apply.

In this post, we’re going to be studying conversation from movie buffs and foodies in relation to their favorite businesses reopening, as well as how those conversations compare to how the general public feels.

Let’s start with the movies.

Movie buffs and movie theaters

Most people like a trip to the movie theater, but not everyone would define themselves as a film buff. We created a Social Panel of people who are self-confessed movie lovers to compare how they’re talking about movie theaters reopening with how everyone else sees it.

Key topics in general conversation about cinemas reopening

(March 1 - August 16 2020 | Original posts and replies only (RTs excluded)

Key topics in conversation about cinemas reopening coming from movie buffs

(March 1 - August 16 2020 | Original posts and replies only (RTs excluded)

For the general public, cinemas reopening is seen as part of the wider context. Restaurants, pubs, gyms, and schools are all referenced prominently in the conversation.

But the conversation coming from movie lovers is far more focussed on the art itself – film is the most common term used in these conversations, and people are talking about the movies themselves (Tenet is a movie many wish to see in a theater as opposed to at home). Meanwhile, many are talking about keeping an eye out for updates on cinema websites.

When looking at conversation about movie theaters reopening segmented by sentiment, movie lovers have a far higher proportion of positive mentions than the general population. That’s not to say they are generally more in favor of cinemas opening their doors despite safety concerns, but that they’re chatting away happily about how much they can’t wait to get back to the silver screen experience.

Something that appears in both movie lovers’ and general conversations is drive-in movie theaters. This fairly retro trend is seen as a great short term solution for those who want a cinema experience but are hesitant about the enclosed space of a cinema.

For movie theaters, it’s vital to keep track of public concerns around safety. It’s also important to see how their most loyal customers – the movie lovers – are thinking about their return to cinemas. Keeping websites up to date with the most recent information is key, as many movie buffs are checking them regularly.

Foodies and restaurants

A great deal can be learned from comparing foodies’ top-used emojis in conversations around restaurants reopening compared to those of non-foodies.

The most common emojis for foodies around restaurants reopening

May 1 - August 23 2020

The most common emojis in general conversations around restaurants reopening

May 1 - August 23 2020

While foodies are excited to share images of their favorite meals again, many people who aren’t self-confessed food-lovers are angry about the situation.

When we looked at emotion analysis around these conversations, the data echoed the emojis. Foodies are way more likely to express joy around restaurants reopening than non-foodies.

Again, this is not to say that all foodies are advocates for the opening of restaurants regardless of safety issues – just that they’re far more happy about the prospect of them being open than those who aren’t so in love with dining out. For restaurants advertising the fact that they’re opening their doors again, the local foodies will be a smart target market to start with.

And foodies also have thoughts on the future of dining out experiences. Focusing in on the mentions, a number of authors pointed out that they’re fans of restaurants being less crowded because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Whether or not restaurants can fulfil these foodies’ wishes will depend on their circumstances – less seats presumably means less revenue. But, to win back their most loyal customers (the army of foodies), restaurant owners may want to consider extending lower capacity measures a little longer as people get used to dining out again.

Back to fun

Consumers will return to their hobbies at their own pace, although it seems from the above data that those who are most enthusiastic about the hobby will be most likely to return first.

As we’ve said above, groups of local enthusiasts will be smart targets for businesses reopening their doors, and paying attention to their needs and requests (e.g. regular updates on websites, extending capacity limits for a longer period) could help build loyalty and advocacy at a time when many are hesitant.

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