Cedar Point Getaway Guide... WTF?

Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:41 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

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

Short answer (for a change):

Yes.

Longer answer:

And it goes beyond good will. I started making trips to CP as a young adult because I looked at those Getaway Guides over and over as a kid and thought about how cool the place looked. A Getaway Guide passed on from my aunt who lived in Ohio at the time led to me requesting more in the future and becoming a paying customer several years later. No doubt about it.

Hell, my kids found a couple of old ones in a box as we were moving stuff out of the flooded basement and opened them up and were looking through and getting excited and asking when we were going back.

You can't measure that. You just have to put the material out there and have faith that it sells the product...and the Guide did.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:42 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:57 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I've stayed off-site at Disney, and I've stayed on-site. Being that the dining plan can be done with the on-site hotels, I'm going to stick with those. Granted, there's only 2 of us, and no children, so that makes it easier.

As for Value vs. Moderate, I've stayed at a couple of value resorts back in the day, and I'll probably never do it again, unless it means the difference between going or staying home for some odd reason. I'm pretty much a Coronado Springs guy, 100%, but I might rent someone's points and give the villas a shot next time. Once we get into our house, I'll eventually join DVC, provided I like the places available to me, but I'm so enthused with Coronado Springs, that it's going to be hard to go anywhere else.
I've also noticed the lack of screaming/kicking children on the CSR busses, it seems there are more adults and younger couples without children, coupled with more frequent busses that aren't as packed. That's just been my experience.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:34 PM
Jeff's avatar

Without kids, I just assume stay on property too. A "tiny" hotel room that I'm mostly just sleeping in is not a deal breaker. And that last three times I've stayed, it was at Pop Century, which isn't much beyond adequate. With meal plans for two and the room coming out to about a hundred bucks a night, I thought I was getting plenty for my money.

I think your intangible good feelies, Gonch, are probably a pretty tiny portion of the 3 million+ annual visitors, but I guess we can't really know.


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

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:42 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I don't doubt that, Jeff.

But in the long run, I think the cost and effort of doing the Getaway Guide was worth it.

Oh well.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:43 PM

About 4 months ago when i filled out the getaway guide request on their website and clicked on submit i got an error page so i emailed the park about the problem. They sent me an email back thanking me and lettng me know they will fix the problem and that i would recieve one not to worry. Well i never got it and i have been getting one for the last 10yrs. I guess their their PR dept pulled a SF on me. This will be the first year i don't attend the park! Way to go CP!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:46 PM

You're not visiting because you didn't get a GG?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:53 PM
Jeff's avatar

I love that Tyler mostly pipes in to point out the most absurd posts. :)

And there is no PR department. There's one PR guy.


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

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:56 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

See? Another casualty of the GG fiasco of 2009. ;) :)


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:58 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I started making trips to CP as a young adult because I looked at those Getaway Guides over and over as a kid and thought about how cool the place looked.

Kids are still doing that, at pointbuzz.com, Flickr, cedarpoint.com etc. There is so much more information and photos of Cedar Point out there in a Google search than that marketing booklet has ever provided. It's a sign of the times.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:04 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

eightdotthree said:
Kids are still doing that, at pointbuzz.com, Flickr, cedarpoint.com etc. There is so much more information and photos of Cedar Point out there in a Google search than that marketing booklet has ever provided. It's a sign of the times.

Yeah, I know. I get that. I've conceded such on several occassions in this thread.

I still think there's a difference between actively seeking the info during online time and having it in front of you all the time...sitting there...look at me again, Billy, look at me...

All of that info and more is online...if you look for it. The best advertising and marketing is seen without effort. The best advertising is seen over and over again. The best advertising just finds its way into our little brains and burrows a hole to live in.

The Getaway Guide did that.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:09 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


The Getaway Guide did that.

...for people who were already interested. That's the part that I keep coming back to about this. This isn't directly reaching people who haven't looked for it. It's reaching the people who sought it out. Just like they could have online.

The word of mouth thing... yeah... I suppose. It's just not likely to be creating a large influx of attendance. But like you and Jeff have both said, we will never know.


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

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:21 PM

The Getaway Guides were for the early season and bonus weekends....at least before Halloweekends kicked in. Those dates generally did not have anything close to 100% occupancy.

Now, since they have closed Sandscastle earlier the last few years (and I don't know...but do they open it later too?) maybe the need for heads in beds has diminished.

Having been on the management side for a little while I can say that, at the time, the Getaway guides were invaluable to resort occupancy. Times have changed though so maybe it is no longer the case. As I said in an earlier post, I can't speak on it from an educated point of view these days.

As for the Turnpike guides, maybe the fact that competition has disappeared in the northern part of Ohio has meant they didn't need to spend a lot on those anymore. They aren't competing against Sea World (and, to a lesser extent Geauga Lake) for eyeballs anymore.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:33 PM

I'm pretty much a Coronado Springs guy, 100%, but I might rent someone's points and give the villas a shot next time. Once we get into our house, I'll eventually join DVC, provided I like the places available to me, but I'm so enthused with Coronado Springs, that it's going to be hard to go anywhere else.

If it were just Maureen and I, CSR could work out okay. As a convention hotel, it's got a much nicer amenities package than the rest of the Moderates, and they recently upgraded from doubles to queens, which is a nice plus.

If you do do the point rental thing, splurge and go with a 1BR. Staying in a larger unit is a whole new ballgame vs. hotel rooms---they're not really even comparable. Maureen and I went down for an five-night no-kids visit over Memorial Day last year, and had a 1BR at OKW. It was fabulous. Yes, a studio would have been doable, but the furnishings of a 1BR made the trip that much better.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I suspect that it's not an offsite vs. onsite thing for me, but a hotel room vs. condo thing. We're to the point that hotel rooms don't really seem like vacations, even if it's just the two of us. At that point, the cost/quality ratio between what's available offsite and on gets to be pretty stark...


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:48 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
...for people who were already interested.

I think we disagree on the amount we believe those were shared.

Whether word of mouth, a "look at this" situation or even a "my wife got the damndest thing in the mail the other day" type of thing - whatever.

But it even goes beyond that.

I believe (in my gut, I just feel it, I have no data to prove otherwise and I'm using a lot of anecdotal evidence :) ) that the Guides not only created a sense of good will, did a great job of being 'sticky' and retaining current customers, but also reached an audience (even if it was a small one) and converted them to customers...and I think it did all of those things in a way that other forms of advertising and marketing can't.

Is it going to kill them to stop the GG? No.

Was it hurting to keep doing it? No.

I'd rather err on the side of caution. If it's not hurting us and we're not quite sure how much it's helping us, then keep doing it.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 2:56 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

But you have no idea how much it is hurting them, per se. You don't know how much this costs to produce and distribute.

In fact, the cost of the GG is the only tangible information they have to go on. So in an environment where an organization must reduce expenses and increase their net profit, how could the GG stand a chance at survival?


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

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:06 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

My assumption is that the cost of the GG was such a small portion of the numbers at CP, that the reduction of such a nominal expense is virtually meaningless and when the savings are compared with the potential benefits of sending it, it's more of a loss in the end to quit it than to keep it.

In fact, the cost of the GG is the only tangible information they have to go on.

That's exactly the problem - they're only considering the numbers. It's that "more art than science" thing. Every once in a while you just gotta put the spreadsheet away and go with your gut. To me that's the difference between doing great things and doing outstanding things.

Sometimes the formulas, stats, surveys, and papers don't give you the answer. If it were just a numbers game, then fire Kinzel and replace him with a PC that can run numbers and make recommendations based on which decision gives the biggest bottom number. Any monkey could do it. It takes more than that.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:06 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:06 PM
Jeff's avatar

I think between what Carrie is saying and 8.3's post, yeah, the people who really get excited and geeked up are doing so in many other ways. CP.com has the blog and Web cams, kids post all kinds of absurd things on PointBuzz pretty much daily about things I scratch my head on... I just don't believe a slab of dead tree really makes that kind of influence anymore.


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

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:15 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Well, that's my secret agenda - to cut down more trees.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:18 PM
rollergator's avatar

^That's not charming. ;)

Doesn't CP collect good hard data on the utilization of the GG? For instance, aren't there like coupons redeemed at the park, or something that shows the "benefits" in such a way as to provide SOME decent cost/benefit info?

Last edited by rollergator, Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:18 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:19 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


That's exactly the problem - they're only considering the numbers. It's that "more art than science" thing. Every once in a while you just gotta put the spreadsheet away and go with your gut. To me that's the difference between doing great things and doing outstanding things.

But you keep ignoring that factor about the economy. When a leader is faced with the difficult decision of getting blood from a stone, they have to go with the facts. They don't have the luxury of going with their gut. The shareholders aren't likely to understand that approach.

And we aren't even talking about the GG being all or nothing. We are talking about a scaled down version of it. So what you are really arguing is that the piece needs to be really pretty in order to be effective. I just can't buy into that.


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

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