Posted Wednesday, March 1, 2006 8:53 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Knott's Berry Farm, which has struggled to boost attendance in recent years, is counting on lower ticket prices and cheaper cotton candy to attract more customers. Starting today, the Buena Park venue will cut adult admission 11%, from $45 a ticket to $39.95, the company said Tuesday. The price of cotton candy will be reduced to 25 cents from $2.75.
Read more from The LA Times.
If Shapiro is right about one thing, Six Flags did undervalue the industry. I'd hate to see that disease start to spread.
Time will tell...
*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 3/1/2006 10:11:42 AM ***
I hear what Shapiro is saying about under valuing the industry. I tend to think he is right about Six Flags season pass prices, but I don't think single day tickets were undervalued.
A single day at an amusement park for an average family that spends all day at the park, eats a couple of meals, plays some games and buy some souvenirs is really pushing the limits of affordability for many families. Cedar Point's research on average income brought that point home.
A lot of people compare an amusement park trip to sporting events. Twelve hours of entertainment at a park has a lot more value than 3 hours at a sporting event. That is fine, but it is assuming that a family can afford to go to either of those venues. If the price of admission is too high, it doesn't matter if the value is there.
I'm on a season ticket plan with the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field. Judging by the types of conversations going on around me, and the appearance of the typical fan there, it appears that many or most are upper middle class and above. Very different from the old Cleveland Stadium in the 70's when cheap tickets brought a much wider cross section of society to the ball park. Have low to middle class people been priced out of baseball? Could be, and they very well could have been priced out of amusement parks as well.
I think this year will be very interesting in comparing Cedar Fair and Six Flags. I tend to think the Cedar Fair strategy is the right way to go. The Six Flags strategy of raising prices could lead to an attendance drop for them, and it seems to go against economic theories of using supply and demand curves to set price points. Though that, of course, is very simplistic. Time will tell, but we should know by around the middle of summer which company is right.
Also, Knott's has no new attractions this year, so the discount on tickets is one of their only options as a marketing angle.
I hope it works out, Knott's is a great place and deserves the best.
DBJ- Johnny Rockets is a wholly owned Knott's concession. They bought a franchise. Just like the TGIFridays restaurants out side of Knott's and Cedar Point.
As for Shapiro's mantra about SF "undervaluing" the industry IMHO the only thing they undervalued was their customers.
I do think that amusement parks are generally too cheap though! However, this is capitalism at its best! Competition certainly is supposed to serve as a price check! I'm just not certain that these parks are close enough together to make a difference.
edit - meant Silver Bullet, not Ghostrider.
*** This post was edited by Mamoosh 3/1/2006 12:02:45 PM ***
About the cotton candy- only thing I can think of is...someone buys it just because it is cheap...if it were 2.75 they would not have bought it at all. Cotton candy makes you thirsty...so the person who wouldn't have spent a penny then buys a drink at a huge profit margin for the park. Makes sense.
Sounds like Knott's is taking on SFMM head on with "family friendly" pricing.
As for Six Flags, I've said before that IMO the prices both at and outside the gate will drop some once Shapiro can raise the season pass prices up to where they belong.*** This post was edited by DWeaver 3/1/2006 12:27:52 PM ***
I tells ya, if they DO have Cotton Candy at $0.25 a pop at all Cedar Fair parks, you can bet your willy that I'll be first in line for that! Will that make me say "awesome deal"? Yes. Would I have bought it otherwise? Hell no. Will I be seeing that as a savings to use on something else at the park? Oh hell yes! I'll be less hesistant to buy a Pepsi rather than just use the drinking fountain because mentally, I'll say to myself "I just saved so & so, so it comes out to maybe 90 cents per item".
It's a good strategy to value certain foods at a severe discount, because it'll attract other business for other food. I liked when Cedar Point gave away free refills for the Dragster cup after the initial $10.00 sting.
I really hope THIS will set Cedar Fair in the right direction... lowering prices, vs hiking prices. Although I'd like Six Flags to succeed, I hope the pricing strategy in Shapiro & Snyder's mind just totally backfires (mainly 'cause of the parking issue). Cedar Fair always seemed more like the Target of amusement parks while Six Flags kinda felt like the WalMart of the amusement industry.
If I was given a toss-up of 2 parks... Magic Mountain & Knotts. Faced to compare & contrast what each park offers... I'd choose Knotts. 16 coasters? So what... better value at Knotts with quality coasters, quality rides, a quality reputation, and a quality ownership of Cedar Fair... not to mention the $.25 cotton candy! :)
To respond to Robert Mosley's comment... lowering the price to get people back in could be a bad thing if price wasn't the reason attendance was slipping. From the sounds of it, a lot of SoCal folks think KBF is slowly turning into SFMM, in terms of the atmosphere. And there's a lot of ground to make up attendance-wise to compensate for lower ticket prices.
We'll see what happens. At the very least, it's an interesting economics experiment on display in California.
I think it's obvious who the healthier fan base will be...
My 2 cents (no pun intended) I thought that businesses that are competing for people do this kind of thing. One company lowers there prices then the other company tries to say there better so they lower there prices a little more then the other company to get more people. Well SFMM upped there prices and Knotts lowered theirs. I know there mite be a difference in the two parks, but its a little weird to me.
You must be logged in to post