Cedar Point Getaway Guide... WTF?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:24 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

8.5" x 11" finished page size, full color, 104 pages, saddle stitch, 12500 copies-- approximately $2.21ea. to produce plus $0.66ea. mailhouse and postage (non-profit bulk rate)

Cedar Point would not qualify for the non-profit bulk rate. I've never seen a Getaway Guide...are the trim specs and page count you give accurate? If so I can calculate the postage when I get back to my office (at the magazine) tomorrow.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:11 PM

Seriously though, think about staying at a Disney resort. Its worth it, you dont need a car, and you get a hour of ERT at a park every morning and a 3 hour ERT (at a different park) every night.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:28 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Good points all around the board. Just wanted to add that in the past, every year we stayed at a CP resort, the Getaway Guide would find it's way to our home the following spring.

I can't see the costs being anything substantial. Hell, I'm the guy who argues that it's not unreasonable to give these park CEO's 3 million dollar bonuses. The cost of getting the Getaway Guide into people's hands couldn't have been a number that is meaningful amongst all the numbers in the books.

Even if it didn't convert a single sale, the goodwill alone had to have been worth something. I know I'm not the only one who enjoyed them and like was mentioned already, you had to actively request them in most cases, so it wasn't like they were being 'wasted' and never even looked at.

I do believe there's a 'stickiness' associated with the family seeing it over and over again lying on the table, nightstand or in the bathroom that you wouldn't get with just online marketing or a smaller brochure-style thing. And yes, kids are a big part of that. Big bright pictures of happy familes, rides, the water, the resorts, the descriptions - that's exactly the sort of thing they'll look at until the pages are ripped and crinkled...and they'll show their friends and their friends will see the same bright pictures...and dad will see the same Guide and mention to his buddies at work that the kids and old lady have been bugging him about this Cypress Point or Cedar Grove place that came in the mail and how the bright pictures and happy families sure look good...and mom will tell the ladies at the hair salon about how she thinks the kids kids have convinced her husband to take them to this amusement park and...

Nah, I get what's being said and times change, but I think the Getaway Guide's gave ROI in ways no one could really measure. Oddly enough, I liken it to a lot of what Paula does with HW. Little things that don't take much in the big scheme of business, but have a certain stickiness to them that pays off slowly and steadily over time.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:29 PM

Seriously though, think about staying at a Disney resort.

Dude, I can pay for the rental car, a throwaway campground reservation for ERT access, plus a 2-4 bedroom unit with a full kitchen (and sometimes a private pool) for less than two Value resort rooms on property during my dates. Yes, I could stay in a single Disney-owned room for less, but sharing a single bathroom between four people and sitting in a dark room waiting for my kids to fall asleep at 9PM is not my idea of a vacation. There are so many fractional and privately-owned properties around Orlando that supply has far outstripped demand. You can live like a king for $120 a night.

But, that doesn't mean I don't stay in Disney resorts. I just don't pay Disney prices to do it. Long story, but I paid only a little more for an entire week at Old Key West this February as it would have cost to rent it for just one night from Disney directly.

I avoid ERT like the plauge, even when I'm staying at a Disney resort. There are 30,000 hotel rooms eligible for ERT on any given day---and those rooms run 90% occupancy year-round. Yes, you get extra time, but lots of people have exactly the same idea. I'd rather get my Extra Magic Hour of Sleep, and go to a less-crowded park.

I also always rent a car, onsite or off. Except going to and from the Magic Kingdom, it's always faster to drive, and even then it's close---I had two 35+ minute waits for a bus to MK this past trip. Sucks.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:30 PM
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:30 PM
Jeff's avatar

Anyone who thinks any of this stuff is not an exact science has never had a big media job. I'm not talking about some 4,000-watt FM in Idaho, I'm talking about real mass-media. Everything can be measured, to a ridiculous extent even on the Internet. It might not be "exact," but you can get pretty damn close to measuring the ROI on most forms of media. And keep in mind we're talking about the company that measures down to the penny how much it costs for one ride for one person. They don't take a dump without knowing how much it costs.


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

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:44 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:
And keep in mind we're talking about the company that measures down to the penny how much it costs for one ride for one person. They don't take a dump without knowing how much it costs.

I would hope they do for the most part.

But I think that's exactly the problem here. If it were a conscious choice to discontinue based on ROI then they're not considering the many unmeasureable ways the Guide impacted them positively.

If they'd just step away from the anal train (shuddup Moosh!) for a second and realize that not every benefit can be decided by a piece of paper, a formula or a survey or statistics, then they might understand there's more intangible benefits to be had. Things that (regardless how much info you collect) simply can't be measured. This is more art than science. Put the papers away, let the bean counters go home.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:53 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


I do believe there's a 'stickiness' associated with...seeing it... lying .... in the bathroom...

You are joking, right? ;)

Now I get why it's so important to you! ;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:56 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I told you I enjoyed the Guide, didn't I? I have a special bond with the full page photo of Magnum's first drop and that's all I'm gonna say.

Good day to you, Madam! Hrmph.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:20 PM

That has not been my experience with ERT at Disney World except on one occasion. Using the ERT in the morning and then hopping 2-3 hours after opening and Im able to power ride Space Mountain, hit up all the Fantasyland dark rides, then go to Frontierland and do its two Mountains then hit the Mansion and Philharmagic all before noon. Morning ERT at the Animal Kingdom is an easy way to get that park done before 1 pm (not a real fan of that park.)

And Night ERT at the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are also fantastic. At the MK that is the only time you will ever see a walk on to Dumbo (and even get to ride with the characters,) not to mention every other Fantasyland ride. Ive also been able to do a marathon (without getting off) on BTMRR two days before the 4th of July. At EPCOT, you can walk around World Showcase at night with no one else there (and the shops are still open) and then head to Future World and ride anything but Sorin with a walk on (Sorin had a 30 min wait.) Again, this data is all from my 4th of July trip back in 2006. ERT can be great as long as you use it well. If you are going to do a morning ERT, plan to park hop midday when the park gets jammed and during evening ERT dont try and ride the "big" rides in the first hour, do the "other" ERT rides first and then hit the big rides when the crowds start to die down.

Finally, when you stay on property you truely get that "fantasyland" feel where the real world just disapears. Also, with your car example, you forget to mention leaving the park at closing into the mix. As long as you arent staying at a value resort, a bus will get you back to your hotel quicker then driving out of the parking lot in that jam.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:28 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


Good day to you, Madam! Hrmph.

Hey, don't go away mad...


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:33 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:...not every benefit can be decided by a piece of paper, a formula or a survey or statistics, then they might understand there's more intangible benefits to be had. Things that (regardless how much info you collect) simply can't be measured. This is more art than science.

I can't remember the last time I read anything that made me this happy. I believe I'm shedding a tear. Awesome...thanks!


A real needed edit: That is NOT to say that as a dedicated data-geek I don't believe there's real value in collecting nearly every available piece of data on costs and revenues to an exacting degree. I definitely do. Until you hit the margin where the cost of additional data (acquisition/processing/analysis) means that you're now spending more on data than its worth. But that is WAY down the line....data has real value in the right hands. And at that point, you have to err on the side of "what unmeasurables are out there that I simply can't account for". In instances like this, I think the unseen benefits clearly outweigh the unseen costs (since, as Jeff noted, every penny in direct cost is accounted for).

Not as sure that there are that many people capable of utilizing all that data. But it's still way better than doing it all on gut instinct. Not that I don't find Colbert absolutely entertaining...hehe. :)

Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, May 13, 2009 11:41 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:19 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Gator, let me clarify that bit you quoted by rewriting the last sentence:

"In this case (the impact of the GG), it's more art than science"

Otherwise, like I said, I'm glad they're so anal about knowing every last bit of everything. But once in a while that tactic simply doesn't work.

Just ask them how well it went when they used all that info and those stats that said this is how you make things run well and tried to apply it to the paramount parks. :)

Sometimes the paper (or spreadsheet) in front of you isn't the authority. I believe the Getaway Guide situation is one of these times.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 6:19 AM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

I do kind of miss the Getaway Guides from back in the day. I think I still have a few from the late 90's/early 00's. They were always entertaining. :)

Nowadays I don't care. I know what is at Cedar Point. I am not going to lose any sleep over the Getaway Guide thing.

-Tina

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:02 AM

Don't know if this still holds true or not but...back in the day:

The getaway guides were mailed to certain zip codes. You wouldn't get one if you live in, say, Bucyrus. But, any guest who asked at the hotels or campgrounds could have one. That usually was a GREAT deal because you could buy the discounted tickets and, if memory serves, there was a two for one on the Startlight tickets.

This speaks to the "value" aspect people have been referring to. When we gave those guides to guests unexpectedly they were thrilled with the savings and it certainly may have impacted their perception of their entire visit. In some cases it may have been their reason for returning later in the summer or the following year.

Now, I really can't comment from an educated point of view as to whether these lesser guides (and the lousy turnpike guides) would have a negative impact on the park. I can say that I can't leave a turnpike rest stop without my kids hounding me to get the brochures and THEY usually go for the splashiest looking ones (which here in Florida are Disney, Universal and Sea World). So, FWIW....

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:47 AM
Jeff's avatar

Does the "good will" that they can't measure really matter if they're able to maintain occupancy up near 100%?


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

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 9:53 AM

Maybe the "good will" philosophy allows the park to build another resort one day.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:18 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Maybe Charmland needs a Good Will Resort... ;)


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 10:55 AM

It already does.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 11:14 AM

If my Getaway Guide would only hurry up and get here...I find most of the coupons of little interest, except for that great Breakers early season deal, 30 bucks off a night. (I wish it would come, I'm trying to go for a few days next week) I always have to call and order a Guide, even though I stay on property for at least a total of a week every season.

I'm not surprised that the Guide has taken different form. One of my BFF's is the catalogue designer/production manager for a large western wear store, and even though it's a large part of the business, the book has changed the last few issues. They are always asking him to fit more on a page, use less pages, try different printing companies, and use cheaper paper. When he mentions the cost of producing a catalogue like that, I'm astounded. So, I guess cut backs are everywhere and CP is no exception.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen the rack brochure for CP anywhere yet this year. Columbus is in the market, but maybe distribution is down.

I have a collection of rack brochures (as I'm sure most of us do) and I find Six Flags to be the worst of em and Busch to be the best. CP's was always good, with great photography and graphics.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:35 PM

Using the ERT in the morning and then hopping 2-3 hours after opening

The trick here is, you have to hop away. If you don't want to do that, for whatever reason, AM ERT is a bad idea. PM ERT would work great if we could stay up that late, but if we do, we lose the next morning. And, mornings work better for us than evenings right now. Maybe when the kids get older, that will change. And, when it does, I can always rent a campsite for a night or two here and there to take advantage of it for less money than it costs to stay in a Rat Trap.

Finally, when you stay on property you truely get that "fantasyland" feel where the real world just disapears.

Been there, done that, personally thought it was over-rated. All of our onsite stays have been at OKW so far, and maybe that's not quite fantasyland enough compared to some of the other resorts. Don't get me wrong---if I can exchange in, I'd rather stay in one of the DVC resorts than stay offsite for the same cost. But, if I can't get the exchange, the options are: stay offsite in a 2BR for less than a grand for the week, stay onsite in a single teeny-tiny hotel room for about the same price or a little more, or stay onsite in something with more room for (much) more money.

Given those options, the "magic" isn't worth (a) cramming into one room for a week or (b) spending an extra $1500+. It might be worth it to you, though, and that's why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors.

As long as you arent staying at a value resort, a bus will get you back to your hotel quicker then driving out of the parking lot in that jam.

Again---been there, done that, and found that it isn't so, at least to and from Old Key West. We've done it both with and without a car. Driving home is faster except when leaving Magic Kingdom (thanks to the TTC). Even then, it's close to a push. And, with the bus, chances are good I'll have to stand up while some rugrat kicks my shins, screams, or both, the whole way home.

We still take the bus from time to time just because I don't feel like driving that night, but all things being equal, I usually prefer to drive us. On the other hand, the bus or boat is the only way to fly when you're coming home from a night at Adventurer's Club after one too many Kungalooshes. Hoopla! Sadly, AC is now closed, but there's always drinking around the World at Epcot....

Edited to add: it will be interesting to see how we react to being back offsite this summer. Our past three trips were all onsite at OKW. This summer's trip is an "extra", and we're staying in the Wyndham resort just south of Epcot, and right next to CBR.

http://www.yesterland.com/bonnet.html

Perhaps we've become more accustomed to being onsite than I think. If so, I'll be sure to report back with the mea culpas.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:39 PM
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