Cedar Fair launches new websites

Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:46 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Six flags forces my iPad to go to the mobile version. No site should ever not give you the option of seeing the full site.


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:33 AM

GoBucks89 said:
Probably a greater degree of acceptable fixit-ness when its released in the off-season. What percentage of the parks customer base for the coming year(s) even knows the parks have new sites up much less that there are issues with them?

Considering they've launched what appears to be a small media blitz based around driving people to the sites, I'd say it would be worth getting right the first time. Stories about the cheaper online tickets were on every Toledo news station and in the Blade in the last couple days.

Edited to add a link to the Blade story, just because one of the comments nearly made me fall out of my seat laughing.

Last edited by CP Chris, Friday, January 20, 2012 3:53 AM

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

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Friday, January 20, 2012 5:31 AM

I assume you mean the "no dinosaur" theorist. Yeah, that was pretty bleeping funny.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Friday, January 20, 2012 9:02 AM

The "you can buy discount tickets online at Cedarpoint.com" even made the Pittsburgh news yesterday.

$7 savings and then pay a $5 processing fee for "the convenience of printing them at home" Ha, what a joke for the poor bloke who only needs to buy one ticket. You're better off getting a $7 coupon and walking up to the gate and buying a ticket. At least you get the full $7 discount that way.

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Friday, January 20, 2012 9:43 AM
LostKause's avatar

That is ridiculous. It's like a fake incentive. If I were buying tickets online, after realizing that there is a fee, I would be very disappointed.

Last edited by LostKause, Friday, January 20, 2012 11:10 PM
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Friday, January 20, 2012 10:21 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

It's not like Cedar Fair invented the online ticket fee. It's been around for as long as I can remember being able to buy ANY ticket online. Do I think it's valid or fair? No. Do I in general accept it. Yes, if it benefits me in the long run, or I have no other choice. This fee is nothing compared to how much you get charged at TicketMaster.

I just looked at a ticket for a show at the Akron Civic Theater. Ticket $42.50 Assuming your utilizing the free print method of delivery, your fees would be a staggering $11.90, or 28% of your original ticket price.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Friday, January 20, 2012 11:25 AM

Fees are crazy, one reason I deal with Ticketmaster as little as possible. I work in the ticket office of a major performing arts center, the sixth largest in the country. Our handling fees for phone and internet orders are based on 10% of the cost of the ticket. So a $100 ticket would have a fee of $10, but other events (or even other tickets to that same event) may have lower fees based on the price. It is a per-ticket fee, but we cap our handling fees at $35. When we work with other promoters to bring in pop, rock, R&B, comedy type shows, those promoters pass on a credit card surcharge even when purchased at our box office, where our standard fees are NOT in effect. If those latter types of tickets are ordered on-line or by phone, those credit card charges are on TOP of the standard fees.

But we don't do print-at-home.

Unfortunately, I may have to deal with Ticketmaster this summer, as I'm hoping to see Springsteen and the Beach Boys (as long as I'm not riding roller coasters on those dates :)

Last edited by Mike Gallagher, Friday, January 20, 2012 11:26 AM

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Friday, January 20, 2012 12:02 PM

I agree with you Jason. It just seems a little dirty to have them tout the $7 internet only savings just to turn around and add $5 to the order.

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Friday, January 20, 2012 12:05 PM
Jeff's avatar

Well, if you paid full price online, and the $5, that's still more. Just saying. I don't agree with it either.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, January 20, 2012 12:17 PM

Ha, what a joke for the poor bloke who only needs to buy one ticket.

Maybe that's not the demographic they are trying to reach with this...


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Friday, January 20, 2012 2:28 PM

WOF Guy said:
I would not be surprised to find it is less expensive to man a ticket booth. I have heard that most of the revenue collected by convenience fees go to the companies that process the online transaction. Let’s theorize that the processor charges 2.5% of the transaction. On a $120 transaction that’s $3.

Most parks pay ticket sellers around $8 an hour. So long as that ticket seller brings in more than $350 in revenue each hour, the park would be spending less than if they were selling the same products online without a convenience fee.

Merchant fees are pretty consistent with a business this size. They'll pay around 1.5% for V/MC/Disc, depending on the exchange rate (debit, vs. reward cards, vs. normal cards, etc.). They'll also pay a flat % plus a per transaction fee to Amex (typically $.50 plus 2.5%). At Cedar Fair's volume & quality of transactions, I doubt they'll pay negligibly more on web-based transactions than card-presented situations.

So yes, it costs more to process tickets in person. Multiple booths * multiple shifts, plus hard printing costs.

I'd say it's unlikely Cedar Fair had to even put any extra hardware behind the site for their payment collection. I'm sure they send a small packet of data to their processor's API for a simple Approved/Declined response.

Again, I find it an insult to customers to extort money like this, when in reality, it is very likely saving the company money vs. traditional ticketing schemes. In reality, the customer should receive an incentive to book on-line.

I buy concert tickets frequently and usually the "Will Call Pickup" is free, although the "Print at Home" has a convenience fee. Who is the convenience for is all I'm asking.

/m


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Friday, January 20, 2012 2:44 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jason Hammond said:
Do I in general accept it. Yes.

Yeah. I can think of about a million things more worthy of getting worked up about.

Do I think it's valid or fair? No.

I really wish we had someone who posted here who knew for sure what the deal behind these fees were. Is it a money grab or a legitimate cost-covering measure?

Either way it seems silly not to avoid the perception of giving an upcharge and just tying the cost into the ticket price. Instead of a $7 discount with $5 fee, just make it a $5 discount. You break even at worst in the long run (assuming an average purchase of 2.5 tickets) and don't turn off the people who see "fee" and immediately backlash.

For some reason there's a certain mentality (and I think SF is guilty of this a lot...CF is getting there) where the idea of a low-upfront or advertised price is used to draw people and then you smack them with all kinds of inflated prices and/or fees after the fact.

People want to be lied to. Just tie in a bunch of the nickels and dimes to the ticket price and tell people stuff is free or low-cost.

And on a realted note, did CP tickets really jump to $52 this year? Are they finally getting the gate right?


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Friday, January 20, 2012 2:57 PM

CP Chris said:
Considering they've launched what appears to be a small media blitz based around driving people to the sites, I'd say it would be worth getting right the first time.

Would have been better to get it right from the start. I suspect they rushed it out to coincide with new management and the new year. But in the end, I don't think it will matter because the majority of their customers do not know there is a new Cedar Point website and had they known, they wouldn't have visited it in January anyway. No matter what marketing compaign they may have been running. And they don't know who Oiumet is (much less can they pronounce his name correctly) or that they should hate someone named Kinzel.

Now I have no doubt that 10 years from now (or even 50 years from now) on this site or whatever successor medium exists, there will be multiple folks who will be able to provide screen shots from yesterday showing the screw ups. And had the site worked flawlessly, there still would have been folks complaining.

On the online fee issue, I don't have a problem with it as long as they tell you the costs upfront. If I don't want to pay the fee, I won't buy online. Seems silly to make a big deal about them or to be insulted by them.

Ever bought tires? Ask them how much they cost and they give you a number. You want them mounted on a wheel? No, I had planned to take them home and use them as seats in my family room. Well, that costs extra. You want air in them? That costs extra too. You don't want them to wobble? Thats extra as well. You didn't roll in here on empty rims or your not taking your old ones home with you (presumably to use as seats in your family room)? Well getting rid of your old ones costs extra too. So your $100 tire is now $150. Why not just tell me that from the start?

Its all part of what to me is garbage marketing/pyschology that pretty much every business employs. There must be some evidence that it works or at least there are folks in management who think it does.

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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:04 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

It is my understanding that many people from other countries find the American practice of listing prices before sales tax as equally annoying/deceptive. The argument is that if everyone pays the tax, then the final cost of the item isn't 'X', it's 'X+tax', so why not list the price as 'X+tax' in the first place?

It's all about perspective.


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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:18 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
And on a realted note, did CP tickets really jump to $52 this year? Are they finally getting the gate right?

We may think so but it will be interesting to see how the ticket buyers react. $52 has some shock value to it.

Last edited by Shades, Friday, January 20, 2012 3:19 PM
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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:21 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
I really wish we had someone who posted here who knew for sure what the deal behind these fees were. Is it a money grab or a legitimate cost-covering measure?

Any service that you provide costs money. Having the computer systems in place, arrangements with credit card issues, etc. cost money. Just like having people manning phone systems taking orders or selling tickets at booths at the park cost money. Question is whether you include those costs in your overhead or charge separately for them. Historically, no one charged for the live person (there was an uproar a few years back when banks said they were going to charge people to go to a teller). But with technology, people always seem to want to recover the costs directly. From what I have seen, its a knee jerk reaction. Even if it saves them money over having humans run the transactions directly. And a lot of the early techie users were always used to paying a premium to be the first on the block. Others view it as a convenience fee for not having to wait in line.

Either way it seems silly not to avoid the perception of giving an upcharge and just tying the cost into the ticket price. Instead of a $7 discount with $5 fee, just make it a $5 discount. You break even at worst in the long run (assuming an average purchase of 2.5 tickets) and don't turn off the people who see "fee" and immediately backlash.

I agree but I think there are a lot of folks who look at the top line number and don't focus much on the bottom line number. Not everyone does though. Presumably companies consider those issues when making pricing decisions though they may get the analysis wrong in terms of the numbers and impact of getting it wrong.

People want to be lied to. Just tie in a bunch of the nickels and dimes to the ticket price and tell people stuff is free or low-cost.

"Free" is a magic word for a lot of people. As are "discounts". Increase your price but add a discount or toss is some thing for "free" and even if people are ultimately paying more for whatever it is, they feel like they got a deal.

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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:36 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

GoBucks89 said:
"Free" is a magic word for a lot of people. As are "discounts". Increase your price but add a discount or toss is some thing for "free" and even if people are ultimately paying more for whatever it is, they feel like they got a deal.

Exactly.

The flip side is that the word "fee" is quite the opposite of magic for a lot of people. Even if people are ultimately paying less for whatever it is, they feel like they got taken. (as evidenced by these CP online prices)


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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:45 PM

Is it a money grab or a legitimate cost-covering measure?

First, I can't believe you used the term "money grab." It seems very un-Gonch-like to suggest that a for-profit business working to increase profit is somehow bad.

But, my take is that the fees just reflect that, to the average consumer, buying the tickets in advance has value---value they are willing to pay for.

Remember, prices are not set only by cost. It's a reflection of what the market will bear. If the price people are willing to pay is more than your cost, the business is successful. If it is not, it is not.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Friday, January 20, 2012 3:45 PM
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Friday, January 20, 2012 3:46 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
And on a realted note, did CP tickets really jump to $52 this year? Are they finally getting the gate right?

Yes, I believe so. Re-post from PointBuzz.

Jason Hammond said:
This is the largest price jump we've seen in a long time. It was $46.99 last year right? Did it bump up to $47.99 at Halloweekends? I don't really pay attention due to the fact that I have a Platinum Pass.

A $5 increase in one year would be an increase of 10.6%

This is the largest increase since Millennium Opened when it jumped from $32.95 to $38 a 15.3% increase. Which, as best I can tell, was the largest increase from one season to another. The next closest I could find was in 1982 when it jumped from $10.45 to $11.95 a $14.3% increase.

Although, not recently, I have researched this thoroughly. :)

P.S. realted? ;)


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

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Friday, January 20, 2012 4:07 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
First, I can't believe you used the term "money grab." It seems very un-Gonch-like to suggest that a for-profit business working to increase profit is somehow bad.

I don't believe "money grab" has negative connotations. I meant it as a matter-of-fact term. It is what it is.

Are they just charging the fee because they can or is it legitimately offsetting some sort of additional costs?

As far as the 'value' of buying the tickets online, I get that. I guess the great irony is that the 'value' for a decent chunk of people is probably found in the discount - especially as the park seems to sell it as "Save $7" rather than "Save time at the gate." (although, admittedly, saving time is mentioned once in the side graphic on the purchase page)

Jason Hammond said:
P.S. realted? ;)

Just for you :)

As far as the ticket price increase - interesting stuff. Back in 2007 I didn't have them hitting $51 until 2015. :)
(you need to scroll way down my novel-length post for the pricing predictions)


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