Nov 11 Kinzel Article

Monday, November 12, 2007 11:45 AM

gomez said:
3 million is still low for CP, but like it was pointed out in the article the park should be pulling in 3 to 3.2 million a year or better.

They said that the attendance fell this year. I guess Maverick didn't get people coming. How can they expect Cedar Point to make 200,000 more in one year by adding rides to a previous kids section?

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Monday, November 12, 2007 12:00 PM
matt.'s avatar ^The demographic attracted to a park by a new kids area is the most lucrative one they can target. If 80 bajillion adult coasters isn't going to bring in attendance I don't see how 80 bajillion + 1 adult coasters is, either.

Anyway, the "hassle" aspect of it is something I've been mindful of for years, now. First you gotta pack up the car, drive to the park, wait in a line in your car just to park, figure out what you're doing about tickets, stand in line to get tickets (online ticketing is a step in the right direction), then stand in line to even get in the gate, all to stand in line for rides (that are generally great, but still) and food (that is usually lousy.)

Of course, this isn't new, it's the way it's been for years. But even for me, someone obsessed with coasters, it all gets a bit much when I work and I go to school fulltime and I have to give up some of my precious free time to all of the stuff I *don't* like about your average regional park. There need to be creative ways to simplify the experience and concentrate the fun factor. The reason it's having an impact now is that I have a lot more entertainment and leisure choices than I did 10 years ago, and I can name quite a few that are pretty close to hassle free. *** Edited 11/12/2007 5:09:30 PM UTC by matt.***

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Monday, November 12, 2007 12:20 PM
^It's just an excuse that the company makes up because people aren't going to the park enough. Is that hard to go online, and buy tickets? Is it that hard to wait in line for all those rides? No, it's not. People shouldn't go to the grocery store either than.

It's about the prices. It's about they are adding another roller coaster, and it doesn't look appealing to me. It's about Sky Hawk looks the same thing like Max Air does. I've been on Max Air already. I guess that's why the St Louis Cardinals have had a declining season, and the pro football teams are not having any people come to there stadiums at all because it's a hassle to drive to those stadiums.

It's all the money you have, and whether that's what you are interested in doing. Some people hate the lines so much, and rather just go to there local carnival instead. It costs a pretty penny to get into these parks, and the gp might think that they haven't added anything this year that interests me, so why should I go.

How about those food prices being ridiculously high too? That's a lot of money just be wasted on food.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 12:43 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Of the two posts preceding mine - one is spot on and the other is dead wrong.

Guess which is which. :)


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Monday, November 12, 2007 1:03 PM
Spinout, your sports analogy is seriously flawed. Everytime I go to CP, Magnum will more or less give me the exact same ride, as will every other ride at CP. When I go to a sports stadium, the game is different every time, you might have a blowout loss, gut wrenching close loss, amazing once and a lifetime close win, or a complete and utter domination type win, you just dont know. Also, sporting events are just that, events, once in a lifetime, never to be repeated and if you decide not to go to the game that becomes one of those amazing wins, shame on you. Thats why people will pay upwards of $2000 to go to a championship game (not me mind you.)

However, the amusement park is more or less there all the time, you can take it for granted, and since it gives you the same experience everytime, why do you need to go all the time? Thats why sports have bigger more rabid fan base, and amusement parks dont: limited access, and its a gamble to what game you get to see.


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Monday, November 12, 2007 1:29 PM
I do not get anything out of watching a football game. I can not figure out how it can be entertaining to watch a sport. I enjoy the interactivity of amusement parks.

Zack

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Monday, November 12, 2007 1:59 PM
^Your loss ;). I dont mean to suggest that everyone does, Im just trying as a coaster enthusiast and a huge football and (college) basketball fan how going to an amusement park and a sporting event are fundamentally different.

2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Monday, November 12, 2007 2:18 PM
Here's an interesting question: what is the rate of change of, say, college football revenue nationwide, vs. theme park revenue nationwide.

Unfortunately, I don't have an hour to kill right now. Maybe later tonight, I'll look this up.


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Monday, November 12, 2007 3:16 PM
Yeah Gonch it is a personal prefference not to have to wait 20 minutes to pay my ten dollars to park.

Not to have to pay 4-6 dollars to quench a thirst.

Not to have to wait 2 hours for a ride (Not applicable to new attractions)
and

Not to have to pay extra to not wait in said two hour lines (This does not apply to new attractions)

I full well am willing to buy food, drink ect at a park as long as there is no HASSLE to it.

It's not bashing CP to say (Since both are 3hr drives. I prefer HW over them just for those reasons alone.

Chuck, who tried and tried to tell ya KI's attendance was way down (The saturday Haunts are the only thing that saved it)

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Monday, November 12, 2007 3:53 PM
CPLady's avatar "It's too crowded"
"It's too expensive to get in and to park"
"The food is too expensive, you have to wait forever and it's sub-par to begin with.
"lines for rides are too long"

Those are the excuses I hear most from non-coaster riding friends and family.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

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Monday, November 12, 2007 6:34 PM
Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Everyone keeps thinking you have to keep bringing more and more people throught the gate. Attendance is no longer the measure of success - especially for parks that have 'matured' in their markets. The easy attendance growth is over. It's time to find new ways to be profitable beyond just trying to lure more people through the gate.
I agree with the last part, but it ignores the fact that we've been watching a steady decline for years now. CP topped out at 3.5 million, in 1994. That puts attendance down 14% or so, but the increased revenue each year barely keeps pace with inflation. A higher per cap means every guest is paying for the missing people as well. Eventually, that curve stops, and I think we're pretty much there.

I'm not suggesting that they haven't made some adjustments. The lower ticket pricing at a lot of the parks was a good move, but then they hiked up everything inside. That creates a real perception problem. I remember getting 20 oz. sodas from the vending machines for two bucks circa 2000, and by 2006, they were up to $3. What other industry can get away with raising prices 50% in six years? That doesn't go unnoticed.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, November 12, 2007 6:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Who is to say the slide will continue...or that it's because of pricing?

That's key in my eyes.

I think the slide is due to lack of thinking beyond the same old, same old and that they're just fine if they level off soon. The in-park prices as they are now with an average of 2.8 (give or take year to year - think long term here) is just fine. 3.4 million was a peak. You can't expect to ride a peak for any considerable amount of time or it's an average, not a peak.

Now find those new ways to stop the attendance slide and leave the rest alone and it all falls into place.

I still think these parks are just fine (better off?) serving numbers in the mid-to-high two millions than the low-to-mid three millions at the higher pricing structure. Although, I do admit I'd like to see less in-park hikes and more at the gate. (if HW is $40 in 2008, CP should be WAY higher than $42 or $43)

Pricing is the least of their problems at this point.


Jeff said:
What other industry can get away with raising prices 50% in six years? That doesn't go unnoticed.

Not many, but again I have to grade on the curve and if we're grading on the curve let's look to the best.

HW has raised their gate something like 80% in the past 8 seasons. To me that's just further proof that if you're doing things right, that pricing can go as high as you'd like and people won't balk.


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Monday, November 12, 2007 6:55 PM
Jeff gets it.

Theres no value in a lower gate and getting taken inside. Get more people by making it affordable both to get in and to purchase while inside.

Chuck, who says marketing to teens isn't where the real money is anyhow and Paramount figured that out.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 7:33 PM
Jeff's avatar I'm glad you bring up Holiday World, because there's a pretty huge difference there. Holiday World is/was a smaller product to begin with, and has made drastic increases to its overall product offering, while delivering on a great value proposition. Cedar Point hasn't done that since 2000.

Holiday World is like a blossoming teenager entering into adulthood, while Cedar Point is like an old man trying to make sure everyone knows how fun he is to hang out with still.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, November 12, 2007 7:56 PM
Maybe, Holiday World can charge more because you are getting more. Don't they have "free" parking along with "free" drinks inside? Cedar Point doesn't give you that. Thus, Holiday World could charge more. They also have a "free" waterpark while Cedar Point has a pay more waterpark.

Also, where in the heck is the competition in Indiana? You have Indiana Beach, and Holiday World. What other amusement parks do you have? They only make a 1 million in attendance compared to Cedar Point's 3. How are they comparable again? Adding 4.5 million in investments would make your admission go up drastically. To Cedar Fair, that's a chunk of change. When you are a small little operation like Holiday World, that could make that place go out of business if it doesn't pay off.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 7:59 PM

Jeff said:I'm glad you bring up Holiday World, because there's a pretty huge difference there. Holiday World is/was a smaller product to begin with, and has made drastic increases to its overall product offering, while delivering on a great value proposition. Cedar Point hasn't done that since 2000.Holiday World is like a blossoming teenager entering into adulthood, while Cedar Point is like an old man trying to make sure everyone knows how fun he is to hang out with still.

The only thing old man about CP is it's leadership. There has to be a way to increase your attendance. If not, Might as well get out of the bizz.

Oh wait they did that with one park.
Chuck J/K

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Monday, November 12, 2007 8:08 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Charles Nungester said:
Theres no value in a lower gate and getting taken inside. Get more people by making it affordable both to get in and to purchase while inside.

Except that if attendance is slipping for any other reason other than pricing - all you're doing is further shooting yourself in the foot and losing even more money.

I'm far from convinced that pricing is responsible for attendance declines.

If attendance is declining because of pricing then sure, you have the obvious answer there, Chuck. If it's for any other reason, you're missing the boat entirely.

In fact that's exactly the old thinking I say the industry needs to separate itself from - more people through the gate isn't always better and once you reach a certain point, it's unquestionably worse.

And just for the record, CF did try to drop ticket prices and in-park prices two seasons ago. They quit that approach in record time.

Lowering prices is an oversimplified answer that, quite frankly, has no historical evidence of working for anyone.


Jeff said:
Holiday World is like a blossoming teenager entering into adulthood, while Cedar Point is like an old man trying to make sure everyone knows how fun he is to hang out with still.

Great analogy. :)

And both should take a totally different approach. CP is still thinking like a blossoming teenager. I couldn't agree more.


Spinout said:
Maybe, Holiday World can charge more because you are getting more. Don't they have "free" parking along with "free" drinks inside? Cedar Point doesn't give you that. Thus, Holiday World could charge more. They also have a "free" waterpark while Cedar Point has a pay more waterpark.

So your logic is that if Soak City was included and the park did free drinks and parking, then you'd accept the 80% gate increase in Sandusky as they've done in Santa Claus?

Ok. Welcome to the world of the $70 CP ticket. People bitched a few months back when Disney broke $70 - do you think that's going to fly at CP?

Collectively the answers seem to be, "give the customer more and charge less for it."

It just isn't going to work like that.


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Monday, November 12, 2007 8:22 PM
Jeff's avatar I don't think that's it, I think demonstrating value is key. Cedar Fair isn't good at demonstrating value.

Look at Universal Orlando. The food pricing at its base is more reasonable (and the food doesn't suck either). They offer their "meal deal" which sells like crazy and boosts per cap in one sweep. They offer ticketing deals that feel like a good deal, even if you won't really use them. No one uses a "7-day" ticket, but it seems like a good deal. It's all how you package it and place the sources of revenue.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Monday, November 12, 2007 8:30 PM
To quote Rich W.'s line in the famous film we all love:

'Because it's noisy, it's crowded, and it's hell to come to'

This, my buzz friends, is the ultimate task in overcoming for a profitable theme park business.

Get people to and thru the gates and the queue lines efficiently and you're removed the hell factor. Disney and Universal are among a select group who have figured out ways of doing this and that is what makes them well-attended and profitable. For example, DisneyWorld offers their free fasspass system as well as a great and efficient mass transit network within and between their parks.

People will endure the noise and the crowds if you can disguise the hellish crowds with diversions such as 'preshows' to disguise the queue lines with good theming and attractions to attract your attention away from the maddening sea of humanity that you've paid to be part of.

The other obvious thing that people forget is the optional pay-one-price wristband - If grandma can get in for free, the whole family will go, and more often at that.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 10:18 PM
Is anyone going to bring up the incredibly bad US economy, not just around CP, but all over? I mean, I'm in Canada, and when the Canadian dollar is trading over the US dollar, you know that something is seriously wrong.

Changes in November 2008 should lead to a stronger economy, increased tourism to the US based on a **hopefully** better global image, and growth should return to businesses at all levels.

It's a good thing CF chose to invest in Canada in a big way for 2008, because it's not looking that good in the US.

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