Cost cutting at CP: It ain't the hours

Sunday, May 20, 2007 5:42 PM
In the now infamous cost cutting thread we had recently, there were a number of people going on and on about how parks would cut hours because they wanted to save money, and they were hurting the experience for guests.

Those of us who felt otherwise said that if there was money to be made, and guests to entertain, they'd keep the parks open. They can generally predict, after all, what the crowds will be like based on historical data.

Well wouldn't you know it, Cedar Point got it wrong, and they're staying open until 8 every day this week (Friday is a normal 10 closing). Clearly they believe that the crowds justify it, and they adjusted. It's a cup-half-full kind of thing... reducing hours isn't cost saving, but staying open longer is a revenue opportunity. And thus, Gonch was right. ;)

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 6:04 PM
Can we get that on a T-shirt? ;)
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 7:21 PM
Over here at the Cbuzz Textiles Factory we ran out of T-shirts.

We do have a "Gonch Was Right" jock strap on the way, tho.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 8:01 PM
I just ordered mine ;)
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 8:47 PM
What time were they planning on staying open until during the week?

I have been at a few Six Flags parks, wanting a t-shirt, or ice cream cone only to find that at closing they were closed. Amazing.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 9:01 PM
It was supposed to be a 7pm close this week.
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 9:46 PM
Jeff, I think you missed the point on the other argument. In the short term (for that day), it makes sense for the park to close if there is no money to be made to operate the last 2 hours or so. The argument was whether repeat visits and future income would be less due to the park not being open as late and the night experience at a park being something that would encourage repeat visits. Again there is really no way to quantify this and I just wonder if this aspect is being overlooked. I don't think Cedar Point opening 1 extra hour proves either point. When I was previously a ride operator, the park I worked at extended the day s operations by one hour during a few extremely busy days (bring a friend free day). Its not like its a revolation that a park would extend hours if the crowds dictake it. Than again I have worked a few cold rainy weekends in april, where the park closed at 6 (2hours earlier) due to a lack of crowd.

The question really is, is whether reducing the hours of operation good for the long term business of the park. I am not really discussing the case of when they close early on a really empty early weekend day due to a cold rainy condition. Its more of the fixed summer schedule, where parks are reducing hours during the week from say 10pm to 8pm. Parks that in the past had a later operating hours for many years, and now all of a sudden cut back hours. I really don't know if that is good for business or not. *** Edited 5/21/2007 1:50:42 AM UTC by Beast Fan***

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 10:23 PM
I think the answer is no: if there aren't enough guests in the park to justify staying open past 7 in the moment, then closing at 7 doesn't hurt repeat business.

By definition, most of your guests are already gone.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 11:22 PM
Exactly! That was my original point. I can remember countless visits I've made in May of previous years where I'd do everything by 2pm. Again, unlike enthusiasts, normal people don't marathon rides in low-crowd situations.
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 11:28 PM
Wait...you mean normal people are not like enthusiasts? Next thing you'll claim those normal folk won't notice Maverick doesn't have on of them roll things!
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 11:48 PM
I think I made that claim in another thread, several times, and it was not well received. :)
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Sunday, May 20, 2007 11:58 PM
Lord Gonchar said:
Can we get that on a T-shirt?

If I buy the VIP package of T-shirts, will I get mine before everyone else? ;)

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Monday, May 21, 2007 9:36 AM
The question I had, and continue to have, is why they insist on cutting the hours by closing early.

During the week when a large percentage of the population is school bus trips, I can kind of understand the 10a-7p schedule, as those groups tend to leave early. But on Sundays when the crowd has fewer buses and more regional customers, why not cut the hours at the other end of the day? Go to any "local" park on a Sunday morning and you'll see a bunch of people arrive when the gates open, and a much larger stream of people come in a little after Noon. So why not cut the park hours accordingly: instead of running 10am-7pm, operate from 12pm-9pm. Same number of hours, better matched to when people appear to want to be in the park.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, May 21, 2007 9:38 AM
Perhaps. Depends on when people have to get home in order to get a decent night's sleep before work on Monday.
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Monday, May 21, 2007 10:22 AM
Well, what I know is that last Sunday evening, there was very little exodus before the rides closed at 8pm. On 8pm close nights (usually Sundays) I generally don't see much of an exodus before 8pm, but by that time people do start migrating towards the front of the park. On 10pm close nights, people really start leaving around 8pm. This is all generalized, of course, and I would hope that the park has better information on this than I do (after all, they have their people in the park EVERY DAY!) and it assumes beautiful weather.

Besides which, what's the incentive to stay in the resort hotel when the park closes early enough for you to stay to close and still drive all the way home before midnight?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, May 21, 2007 10:45 AM

RideMan said:
Besides which, what's the incentive to stay in the resort hotel when the park closes early enough for you to stay to close and still drive all the way home before midnight?

Hot tub, pool, beer, dinner, walks on the beach, relaxing...

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Monday, May 21, 2007 10:57 AM

RideMan said:
So why not cut the park hours accordingly: instead of running 10am-7pm, operate from 12pm-9pm. Same number of hours, better matched to when people appear to want to be in the park.
They've been doing this in the fall during Halloweekends for a couple of years now.
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Monday, May 21, 2007 1:54 PM
^ And THAT is the schedule I see parks moving to in the future. Kids don't go to bed at the hours they did in years past, and the later hours allow the heat to dissipate a little. Plus, as an added bonus, people get to see the parks lit up at night. My theory has been that later is also when they're more likely to open their wallets, cause it looks BEAUTIFUL, and they've already HAD a great day of fun and rides and....shows... ;)

I threw the last one in there for the enthusiasts. :)

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Monday, May 21, 2007 2:14 PM
Nah. Gotta disagree. The only reason it's that way is because of the Halloween stuff. (Kind of works better with the nighttime thing, ya know. :) )

I still don't understand the difference in reasoning that people will buy more stuff at the end of a 10 hour day if the time is 10pm, but won't if the end of their 10 hour day falls on 8pm.

Again, I don't think the parks are exactly throwing darts at a wall to choose the hours. I don't see the changes and then question the wisdom, I see the changes and think, "Hmmm, people must come early and leave before close."

I'm of the mindset that the customer habits dictate the park's decision, not the other way around.

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Monday, May 21, 2007 2:21 PM
It ain't cheap to light up an amusement park.
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