We Filipinos love movies. And every time there’s a new blockbuster, a lot of us use online cinema reservation sites to avoid long lines, and to make sure we get good seats at our preferred schedule. Now, while most of the popular malls/cinemas already have online reservation websites in place, not all of them offer a good user experience. After comparing all of the cinema booking websites available to us, here’s what we think is the best and the worst:
Our country’s best cinema reservation site is also its newest. Last month, SM Cinema launched its revamped website. The new site’s layout is intuitive and the booking user flow is made painless by enabling drop-down options for the SM cinema branch of your choice (with all the SM cinemas nationwide listed), the cinema number and show schedule, and finally, the number of tickets to be bought. Another thing that’s good about these options is that they are shown to you after you select the movie that you’d like to watch, instead of having multiple instances/schedules of the same movie displayed on the homepage. This is very good and organized execution, especially when you consider that SM Cinema has the most number of theaters/screens in the country. The new smcinema.com is also responsive, making ticket reservation through phones or tablets hassle free. If SM cinemas are where you get your movie fix and you prefer reserving tickets online, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using the new SM Cinema website.
Meanwhile, Sureseats.com, which powers online ticket reservations for Ayala Malls cinemas throughout the country has a lot of catching up to do. The site’s user-interface is quite dated (the copyright text on the website’s footer says 2010); and as to be expected with a site made six years ago, it’s not responsive/mobile-friendly. The ticket reservation process also isn’t streamlined, bogging users down with “BUY” and “RESERVE” options and multiple instances of the same movies on the homepage. The drop-down selections for mall/cinema, day, and time are a disjointed mess and is a far cry from the interconnected drop-down selections that SMcinema.com has (wherein the cinema number and schedule is automatically filtered based on the mall selected). Lastly, Sureseats’ forgot username or password system is outrageously dreadful; because you get your username or password by texting a number and then they’ll text back the requested info to the mobile number you entered when you registered. But what if you already switched numbers and no longer have access to the old one? Well poor you, you’ll have to email your full name, registered e-mail address, both old and new cellphone numbers to email@example.com (might as well tell them how terrible their website is along the way). Needless to say, the current Sureseats website is just embarrassing, especially when you consider that Ayala Malls has some of the best cinemas (and malls) in the country. Come on Sureseats, step up your game.