Flashpass prices at Great Adventure have gone through the roof

Monday, October 27, 2008 3:53 PM

I really don't think Six Flags knows what to do. I'm not suggesting the idea was a failure, I'm just not sure they know where to go from here.

The point of charging people more money for the ability to cut in line is to allow for some people to spend more to get more- in this case, more rides. You give something and you get something, right? But obviously enough people are purchasing the ability to cut in line that there is an unexpected side effect- more lines. What does Six Flags do? Keep prices as they are and assume people will find satisfaction with their ever-diminishing benefits? Or raise prices so fewer and fewer people purchase the ability to cut in line?

Look at the cost of getting into the park and purchasing Flashpass- you could find yourself paying upwards of $150 for a day at Great Adventure. There are a lot of things you could do with that money, and I'm sure I'm not the only person that will realize that as prices continue to escalate. Considering the cost of food and parking, at what point do people give up on the idea of going to an amusement park because it's ridiculously expensive? Regardless of the economy, I think Six Flags is already putting a price on their experience that they have no right charging. What happens when Flashpass Gold costs $100? $125? $150?

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Monday, October 27, 2008 4:27 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Well, Flashpash isn't an expense you have to incur to go to an amusement park so I don't think it comes into play in your question about when people stop attending altogether because of ridiculous expenses.

And besides that, despite the many times that question gets raised due to rising costs (season passes, gas prices, food, etc), I still haven't seen a case when the price point gets hit so hard that a park immediately folds due to lack of attendance. Even if Six Flags has hit that spot for you, there are many others who disagree, so the beat goes on.


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

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Monday, October 27, 2008 4:29 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

So let's see...$15 to park, then about $40 for admission, plus the cost of food and then another $90 to ensure I get on all the rides?

And people wonder why I don't visit Six Flags parks! lol

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Monday, October 27, 2008 4:40 PM
matt.'s avatar

Rob Ascough said:
Regardless of the economy, I think Six Flags is already putting a price on their experience that they have no right charging.

One part of me thinks I know what you mean here. The other part of me thinks what I think you mean can't possibly be what you mean.

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Monday, October 27, 2008 4:40 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Rob Ascough said:
You give something and you get something, right? But obviously enough people are purchasing the ability to cut in line that there is an unexpected side effect- more lines. What does Six Flags do? Keep prices as they are and assume people will find satisfaction with their ever-diminishing benefits? Or raise prices so fewer and fewer people purchase the ability to cut in line?

Exactly.

Rob Ascough continued:
What happens when Flashpass Gold costs $100? $125? $150?

We'll let Carrie start:

Carrie M. said:
I still haven't seen a case when the price point gets hit so hard that a park immediately folds due to lack of attendance. Even if Six Flags has hit that spot for you, there are many others who disagree, so the beat goes on.

Yup.

It's about finding the sweet spot where price and demand balance to give sufficient revenue to the business and sufficient perk (product, service, whatever) to the customer.

It's also supply and demand. If you sell out off your product, you raise the price because clearly the demand outweighs the cost.

It's really no more complicated than that. This is like 3rd grade economics here. There's no trick to consider or complex point to discuss.

Enough people are buying into the Flash Pass that it makes sense to raise the price on both the service/cost ratio and on the supply/demand side of things too.

So what does happen when a Q-bot is $150? I guess we'll find out because it already is.

If people buy into it, then your argument doesn't hold water because...well, people are buying it.

If sales slow enough to affect the park's revenue then they drop the price back a little until they find that 'sweet spot' again. In which case your arguement doesn't hold water because...well, people are buying it.

It's not any more complicated than that.


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Monday, October 27, 2008 4:43 PM
matt.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
This is like 3rd grade economics here.

They didn't teach you in 3rd grade that private business doesn't have the right to set the prices of their own products?

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Monday, October 27, 2008 4:44 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I must've been sick that week.


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Monday, October 27, 2008 5:00 PM

LO-Q supply both dollywood and sf parks systems and they are both the same v2020 architecture.

Lo-q the parent company are a listed company on the aim market of london stock exchange. Due to the carnage there incredibly good value. The company is valued at just 3 million pounds. As a company they announced this years profits will be at least double market expectations so expect this years profits at 1.5 million pounds and will have 2 million in cash in the bank. Even more with the strength of the dollar (last year average 2 dollars to the pound, this year about 1.7 )

There are products in development for water parks, plus a mobile phone sms text system.

We're all hoping Magic mountain come on stream soon.

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Monday, October 27, 2008 5:12 PM
rollergator's avatar

Pareto-optimal pricing - maximizes customer utility (happiness) while maximizing profit. Nobody took college economics besides Gonch? ;)

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Monday, October 27, 2008 6:22 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Yes, but after we graduated we stopped using the term "pareto-optimal" in everyday chit chat. ;)


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

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Monday, October 27, 2008 7:14 PM
rollergator's avatar

^The price I pay for going back to school - I have to start using weird jargon all over again. It was nice to get to use my business-school lingo though, since now everything in my classes revolves around public health, and morbidity/mortality is what I go to amusement parks to get away from. :)

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Monday, October 27, 2008 9:24 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

mfivsdarienlake said:
I still don't think one can judge the parks "success" based on attendance numbers for that year, unless you are consider the effects of the year before. As more people are exposed to the whole line cutting thing, while its "working" this season, I think it will continue to bite the park in the butt later on. Of course, you could then argue that per-cap is up and maybe less attendance is a good thing.

You could argue that, but in this case there's no reason to.

What I would argue is that these systems have been around long enough (Disney is closing in on 10 years - SF on what? Like 7?) to have seen the effect. In fact, that's exactly what I argue.

These systems have been around long enough to see that the big fallout of unsatisfied guests just isn't happening. Quite the opposite, actually. As more and more people are exposed to it, more and more people choose to use it. So much so that prices are rising to control the demand.

Like I said (ranted?) earlier, the idea of debating it at this point is laughable. It's here. It works. People still come to the parks. People wait in line to get in on these systems. More parks add VQ systems each year.

It's not even a question of "if" anymore. It is.


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Monday, October 27, 2008 9:54 PM

Yep. It's time to declare a winner. Raising the price? That's declaring victory loud and clear. But, Gonch, remember: denial is not just river in Egypt.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, October 27, 2008 9:54 PM
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Monday, October 27, 2008 10:50 PM

Not to mention Disney didn't charge anything for their system (nor did Universal) so it's a totally different concept, it was more of courteous restaurant-style reservation system. Flashpass on the other hand is like flaunting a big tip to the sleazy hostess under her podium for the right to bypass everyone else. If enough of that goes on, after a while the regulars will find another equally good or better restaurant that is more civilized and doesn't insult their dignity for the sake of a few bucks. Who wants to sit down for a meal and be told that if you want to get your entree ahead of the other folks who came in long after you, it'll cost you EXTRA!

Last edited by Rye.D.Ziner, Monday, October 27, 2008 10:51 PM
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Monday, October 27, 2008 10:59 PM
LostKause's avatar

The only reason demand is up is because people see that it's the only way to enjoy the park if you actually want to ride anything. People get into the park, see that it is WAY to busy, and decide that instead of buying food and t-shirts, they will spend that money on flashpass.

I haven't said that the system will fail for a very long time. I say that it is wrong for the parks to offer it. It still might bite them in the butt some day if people wake up and see how it is affecting the overall park experience.

I think that it is absolutely wonderful that they are raising the price. As long as less people are using it, it takes less from the regular folks. I say flashpass is not expensive enough.

Now all the park has to do in order to fix their long line problem is add more rides and attractions. The only reason that park is so popular is because it's smack dab between Phili and New York. It has nothing to do with fantastic service or a really great experience.


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008 12:12 AM
rollergator's avatar

Just want to clarify, Universal had a free system. Pitched it. Now you can stay on-site, or purchase the ride reservation system. Like all FL parks, there's also the super-deluxe host/hostess thing. And Busch has gone to Quick-Q (or whatever they're calling it), but from what I gather it only guarantees one entrance for each ride. I paid for the Platinum pass, which until further notice gives me the ability to re-ride anything at BGT except the mouse and...yep, the Anton (no wonder they say there's justice, hehe). Seriously, you can't use anybody here in Florida (except maybe Disney) to make the case against some sort of pay-to-play scheme. And even Disney I guess caters to early-risers (I prefer the extra Magic Hours for nighttime adventuring if I'm doing Disney, and that's for on-site guests). Bottom line - the methodology may change, but the game...remains the same.


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008 12:30 AM

^Not to mention the persistent rumors of Disney changing their fastpass system to at the very least allow more FP at one time for resort guests (and even more for deluxe resort guests) to changing it to a pay as you go system.


2020 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, CP, KI, Hershey, Dorney, SFGAdv, Canada’s Wonderland, BGW, Holiday World, SDC, Universal Orlando, Sea World Orlando

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008 12:30 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Good points across the board, Gator.

And yeah, everyone likes to praise Disney for the FastPass, but while they're tossing a handful of "go to the front of the line" tickets to guests in the park, they're giving those that pay (mostly via the resorts) so much more.

Maybe that's what SF needs to do? Your entry ticket gets you one FOL opportunity - the first one is free, then you gotta buy. ;)


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008 12:35 AM

They did that in 2006 or 2007 as a season pass perk. You got 1 exit pass with your pass. This year they offered a free 1 time use flashpass if you applied for the Six Flags credit card (I didn't look into it to see how many people it was for).

They also used to have some kind of limited free system I guess around 2001 or 2002. I am not sure how it compared to the pay system though.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008 2:07 AM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:Maybe that's what SF needs to do? Your entry ticket gets you one FOL opportunity - the first one is free, then you gotta buy. ;)

Well said, Scooter... ;)

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