We were thrilled when we heard The Entertainer was launching an app for smart phones. Instead of carrying around the old books full of vouchers, which were as fat as phone directories, you can now but the Entertainer App which allows you to access vouchers via your handsets. Once in your chosen restaurant, using 3G or wifi you click on the App icon and then the voucher you want to redeem and key in your four-digit pin number and then the restaurant staff keys in their own pin. It’s as simple as that – assuming you can get online and all employees know their restaurant’s pin number. There are, however, some restrictions...
You can’t search by offer types (eg brunch, buffet or main courses) and you can’t search by keying in your chosen area either (eg Dubai Marina, or even Dubai). Instead you can only search by cuisine type or the name of a restaurant and – unless you already know the names of the restaurants taking part this year (not to mention their exact spelling) – this is a tedious guessing game.
There’s an option to view a map of the UAE dotted with knife-and-fork icons representing each restaurant, which you can click on to find out what’s on offer, but it’s fiddly on the small iPhone screen and a bit time-consuming.
The introductory text from some restaurants is confusing, too. For example, Rococo in Sofitel JBR gushes about its “exquisite five-course set menu” that comes in either the gold or platinum package, but then the vouchers below are for buy-one-main-course-get-one free deals.
On the main listings page, which we had set to list deals “near me” (our location being Jumeirah Lake Towers), the 10th entry on the list was in Abu Dhabi. Also, the main listings page showed only 20 restaurants’ names before we had to wait for the iPhone to download another 20 listings, and then once we clicked into any listing to read the deal and then returned to the main page, we were automatically taken back to the very top of the listings all over again.
Then, of course, there are the frustrating and inevitable “technical issues” that you’ll experience with any computer-based package from running out of mobile roaming data when you most need it to having your App suffer a glitch. On the 2 January we had to postpone our review of this App when we received notification of such issues from the Entertainer, stating: “Our development team is working very hard to resolve the issue but we want to make you aware that you may experience intermittent performance issues with the App for the next few hours”.
Once we located a suitable deal, we headed to Yo Sushi to avail of the offer. However, when we clicked on the listing to access the voucher, we saw the notice: “Included in mobile product not yet purchased.” Unfortunately, our App (Entertainer Fine Dining) also shows all vouchers from other books even if we haven’t bought them, only they’re colour-coded in grey – so, top tip, ignore all grey areas.
On the plus side, all Entertainer monthly member offers (additional buy one-get-one-free brunches, activities, massages and more) load directly onto your phone, instead of having to print the vouchers from the website. You can track your savings each time you use a voucher as every redemption loads estimated savings to your Savings Calculator function. From 2014, every Entertainer book comes with a hotel supplement offering 2-for-1 nights at 120 hotels around the world, and while you’re on holiday you can access free members offers in 23 destinations including London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cape Town. You can share your vouchers with someone else, too. They just need to download the app and sign in using your login details. In the second release, as the account holder, you’ll be able to approve up to three additional usernames to access your offers. The design of this app is very easy on the eye, and you can store your favourite offers on your own bespoke listings page in much the same way we used to tear out and store our favourite vouchers in our purses. Obviously this will lighten the load of our handbags, for which we’re eternally grateful.
We spoke to the team behind the Entertainer series about the navigation issues and their spokesperson said: “For the next release of the Entertainer App, the Entertainer is working on a number of improved functions including the ability to search by mall, hotel and neighbourhood, plus help instructions and more advanced sharing facility. During 2014, the Entertainer will also be introducing an advanced search and discovery function and the ability to sign into the App with your Social Media accounts.”
This is great news for voucher lovers!
Download the Entertainer App and until the end of January you can trial the same buy-one-get-one-free offers from the App and books until the end of January 2014 for free!
INFO: Entertainer Apps cost $108 each (Dhs397). Download for free from iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry World