Fixing SF - what would you do?

Thursday, July 24, 2003 1:14 PM
Since season pass sales are down I would put an end to their 300-mile rule for purchasing season passes online. Last Christmas I was going to pick up season passes for the kids and I but since we live 340 miles from SFGAM (the nearest SF park to us) they refused to take my money. Of course I could have purchased the passes at a SF park at a higher price during the regular season but instead that money was funneled into trips to IB, HW, PKI, CP, WoF, VF and MA (yes, purely out of spite ;).

In all practicality/reality what is the purpose of the 300-mile rule? If you still have to go to the actual park to have your pass processed who cares if the customer has to drive 2 miles or 2000? I've heard comments that the policy prevents scalping. But if you think about it and that really is a risk, the rule really only reduces scalping, as anyone within a 300-mile radius could set up their own season pass shop as it stands right now.

The other reason I've heard is to prevent people from buying passes at the "cheapest" park. It doesn't take a math whiz (or hopefully a SF exec) to conclude that driving further costs time and money. The next nearest SF parks to us are SFStL and SFWoA - both double the distance of SFGAM. Do they really think I'm going to "cheat" the system and save $10 per pass by driving an extra 300+ miles? That doesn't make any sense! Even if I were willing to do that isn't a sale still a sale? And what about someone who lives within 300 miles of two or more SF parks? They already can choose the cheapest park so in effect this rule (or the intent behind it) is already being applied inconsistently. Customers almost always prefer being treated fairly.

It seems to me when it comes to off-season sales of season passes they are trying to fix the "bad guys" (which I'm guessing don't exist in the first place) at the expense of alienating millions of potential legit consumers. What other areas are SF punching their nose to spite their face?

If I were running Six Flags I would be looking into untapped markets. The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is just a stone's throw outside their 300-mile rule, there is no SF advertising of any kind in this area - millions of potential customers completely overlooked!

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 4:37 PM

Marko said:
Since season pass sales are down I would put an end to their 300-mile rule for purchasing season passes online. Last Christmas I was going to pick up season passes for the kids and I but since we live 340 miles from SFGAM (the nearest SF park to us) they refused to take my money. Of course I could have purchased the passes at a SF park at a higher price during the regular season but instead that money was funneled into trips to IB, HW, PKI, CP, WoF, VF and MA (yes, purely out of spite ;).

If you want a cheaper price for a season pass, call the park and ask them for the out of town discount. I got my season pass at SFOT for about $50.

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It IS as bad as you think, and they ARE out to get you.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 4:41 PM
I wouldn't worry about season pass sales so much as customer service...maybe if they actually pleased their customers people would want to come back.

Note: I understand that not all SF parks are bad and that many have good and bad days, but we all know that in general, SF is mostly lacking in the customer satisfaction category.

--Craig, who's hoping for the best when I go to SFMM for the first time in August

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 4:56 PM
I want to know who runs SF because they have no common sense. I still think their commercials (at least SFNE) are ridiculous! As many of you know SFNE had a huge expansion on our waterpark. The main atraction and backbone of the expansion was the one-of-a-kind funnel shape slide Tornado (like Zinga). So naturally they are spending ridiculous amount of money advertising the new double the size HH.

Of course to save a few pennies they never actually recorded any SFNE, HH footage. So they mention their one-of-a-kind Tornado, and show a plain blue slide.

What is the purpose paying for a commercial that advertises crappy slides that aren't even at SFNE? Only Six Flags is this stupid. Hopefully they'll go out of bussiness sooner than later. And isn't this false advertising, showing attractions that are not in the park?

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 5:19 PM
A common misconception of false advertising is that every commercial is critiqued and made sure that it is telling the truth before it is put on the air. However, the real thing is that, unless it is reported or complained about to the specific group that deals with it (forgot what it was the group was called, there are so many groups in the television industry) then will something be done. However, the court case would be pretty pitiful because it's can't be proved conclusively that it is false advertising, there is too much opinion as to whether it is or not.

As for what I think Six Flags needs to improve on the most, it is to lower their prices a bit. I know that it would cost a family of 4 about $355 to go to SFGAm for the day (yes they could go to the car every time they wanted a soda, but honestly, if you have one day at the park a year, you aren't going to do that). That is a really ridiculous amount of cash for an average family in this still tough economy for one day of entertainment.

And in SFGAm's case, their food is really not up to par with other parks. It tastes more like school mass produced cafeteria food than anything else. They need to bump up the quality, possibly offer a "meal deal" so the soda and sides don't have to be ordered ala carte. This would make it more realistic to visit a six flags park, or any park for that matter.

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You know how they say every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Well that's true for every day but one, the day you die. "American Beauty"
*** This post was edited by SFGAMDie HARD 7/24/2003 9:21:14 PM ***

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 5:22 PM
Why would you want them to go out of buisness...whats wrong with you?

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#1 Canobie Lake Park Fan!!! My top 7 coasters:
1. S:RoS @ SFNE 2. Montu 3. Yankee Cannonball 4. Kumba 5. Gwazi 6. Cyclone (SFNE) 7. B:DK

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 6:40 PM
What would you do to fix SF?

Let people who know more about this than any of us fix it.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 7:40 PM
Good point, GP...sometimes common sense is the greatest cure for any problem.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 7:55 PM
1. eliminate the fastpass seats and blend Q-bot users into the line like the freeway at cedar point.

2. hire more workers so that rides are run more efficiently and the lines move faster.

3. make all season passes the same price like other corporate chains.

4. use originol names for rides so there are not five rides of the same name.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 8:37 PM

SFGAMDie HARD said:


As for what I think Six Flags needs to improve on the most, it is to lower their prices a bit. I know that it would cost a family of 4 about $355 to go to SFGAm for the day (yes they could go to the car every time they wanted a soda, but honestly, if you have one day at the park a year, you aren't going to do that). That is a really ridiculous amount of cash for an average family in this still tough economy for one day of entertainment.

And in SFGAm's case, their food is really not up to par with other parks. It tastes more like school mass produced cafeteria food than anything else. They need to bump up the quality, possibly offer a "meal deal" so the soda and sides don't have to be ordered ala carte. This would make it more realistic to visit a six flags park, or any park for that matter.


I couldn't have said it better myself. Even with the deals out there, it can be bitterly expensive for a family to visit a theme park.

There are many different ways that they could market such as a family of four one day ticket for $100.00 - $120.00. Meal Deals as mentioned above. Pay full retail for a one day ticket - no discounts - and we'll give you a free any day MVP.

Given enough time and resources I could come up with plenty of ideas, that would seem like great deals to consumers, but in the end would acutally generate more overall revenue for the company. It's not rocket science. It's just simple common sense and business marketing. You can learn it playing RCT!

You can say this to one extent or another about any theme park. Probably more so w/ SF than any other. I would love to be able to go to a park and lot feel like I am trying to be taken advantage of. I am not looking for a great value - just not obvious, blatant, "we got you buddy; ha ha," pricing..... lol
*** This post was edited by HardRider 7/25/2003 12:41:10 AM ***

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:01 PM

General Public said:
What would you do to fix SF?

Let people who know more about this than any of us fix it.


Or better yet an enthusiasts group could pool their ideas and send in a letter with hopefully some sincere suggestions for improvement.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:06 PM

HardRider said:

SFGAMDie HARD said:
It's just simple common sense and business marketing. You can learn it playing RCT!


And you my friend, have delusions of grandeur. You cannot learn how to run a multi-billion dollar company from playing a SIM game. It is not as simple as common sense, and being a "rocket scientist" myself I can say that I haven't the first clue in running a business of that magnitude. Let the bean counters do their thing, you chill and continue playing your game.


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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:12 PM
Add trams in the parkinglot like buschgardens and sea world have lower the price of water. $3.00 for a bottle of water come i should sue you for forcing dehydration. Like in sixflags worlds of adventure make the darn park one whole theme to sides are beach themed then there is the western theme then the fifties theme and then gothem city how about one side beach themed. Then the other side gotham city. More ride operators. More cleaning people when you put i X-flight you forgot to theme the ground the ride sits on. Mow all grass. Fix all rides in timely mannor. More across the lake transport. Get the roder running this year not next year.

Dump q-bot for a cedar point type system wich is free. Pave all parking lots i hate parking my new car in gravel. Completely remove all geuga lake and sea world signs yes the still have some of them around. in the parking lot for example. Paint the whole darn park it is fadding everywhere. Most of all new none clone rides for all sixflags parks. That is just the beging of my list it goes on and on. But they are working o nthe cleaning thing.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:14 PM
one more thing if a ride can have two trains then have two its not that hard.
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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:19 PM
Rick, you can just go up to a food stand and ask for free water. I did this at SFGAdv, it saves some money.
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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:19 PM

Marko said:

Or better yet an enthusiasts group could pool their ideas and send in a letter with hopefully some sincere suggestions for improvement.


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Sorry, I, uh, remembered something funny someone told me in 1984.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:38 PM
As far as the season pass sales being down in general, that can be attributed in part to the economy and to some extent the weather (e.g. Northeast early in the season).

I think the 300 mile rule is a reflection of the regional nature of Six Flags parks. Maybe SF would rather try to sell passes to people who live close enough to a given park to visit that park (and spend money in it) more than once a year.

I can see how the rule seems weird, in that you'd think SF would be happy with any season pass sales they could get. If an SFMM local buys a cheap pass at SFA, visits SFA once, then goes home and uses it several times at SFMM, the chain as a whole still makes money.

However, I'm sure the folks at SF are paying attention and would try to avoid doing things which they know will lose money. If they felt that cheap passes, bring a friend free coupons, the 300 mile rule, etc. were truly hurting their bottom line, they would have put a stop to those things by now.

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Thursday, July 24, 2003 9:56 PM

Antuan said:

HardRider said:


It's just simple common sense and business marketing. You can learn it playing RCT!


And you my friend, have delusions of grandeur. You cannot learn how to run a multi-billion dollar company from playing a SIM game. It is not as simple as common sense, and being a "rocket scientist" myself I can say that I haven't the first clue in running a business of that magnitude. Let the bean counters do their thing, you chill and continue playing your game.



I can appreciate what you are saying Antuan, but, just so that you can see where my perspective comes from, I am a Finance Director for a multi million dollar company. In my own personal experience, once you have the experience, skill and knowledge to handle managing an organization it really can be simple (not to over simplify or say anyone can do it).

In my own personal experience there are many people who try to make it a lot more complicated than it is. I guess that could be said about many different people and many different situations though.

I firmly believe that when a given organization has it customers best interest at heart, with the right leadership, focus and direction, anything is possible.

IE Six Flags could be the leader in theme parks just the same as I could personally be the driving force behind their turnaround (now I am really daydreaming I know)

In my expereince what holds 1) people as individuals; and / or 2)organizations as a whole, back from their full potential is themselves. For example, how can I be the best Finance Director my company has ever seen, if I do not first truly believe with every last bone in my body, that I can be, unequivocably, the most professional, focused, and driven Finance Director that this organization has even seen.

Wow, I was really on a tangent there!

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Friday, July 25, 2003 6:44 AM
I really think the one thing SF parks in general lack is character. They feel very heartless and like a bunch of rides plunked down in the parking lot. Parks like Busch's, CP, IOA, etc. have such awesome settings, employees, etc. that I don't mind at all spending my money there. A park like SFWoA has so much potential with the scenery and the two sides and when I was there, crowds were really low, but I still somehow managed to only have a mediocre day. I'm not sure why, but I just didn't really feel like I do at BGW or IOA.

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It's not a Toomer" - Arnold Schwartzenkoph
"Those who know don't talk and those who talk don't know." -Jeff

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Friday, July 25, 2003 8:25 AM
Antuan - how else do you propose to learn business? From a book? What if you're a visual learner? No matter how much you feel its "just a game" sim games and other "management strategy" games are just that - management strategy. If I'm working on something in classes and I need someone to take over a portion of my project, should I put joe schmoe who might have taken a class they slept thru on business and has no other experience in anything business in charge, or a guy who is a successful RCT or SimCity player who deals with (electronic and fantasy yes, but still) money, keeping people happy, making the best of bad situations, and dealing with resources? I think the choice is obvious.

But on the topic - I think that the character of the parks is a big thing, but I think they need to "clean house" in upper management (and I mean like Oklahoma City or wherever they are upper management) and get some new people in there with fresh ideas and who are angry with the direction the company is taking. At this point (from my limited stock research into PKS when I bought into FUN), it seems that the upper crust is happy to just raise their salaries, see only a slight to moderate loss every year and just keep things status quo. If an individual park *asks* for something, they seem to recieve it (a-la-SFWoA probably demanding some extra budget to make the service and appearance changes that have been made to great effect this year) but no one seems to be willing to take the entire company back to square one. Keep all the parks static for one year to maintain the money and get a business plan and vision worked out - work on the character of each park, work on the cleanliness, work on ways to bring down food prices, and most of all, realize that a shiny new piece of metal may work for raccoons and small children, but its the big kids (aka adults) who have the checkbooks and like to not be taken for idiots (in terms of money or customer service).

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Formerly PittDesigner (graduating soon!)
Lifelong fan of all Impulses!
--Brett

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