Rampage at Alabama Splash Adventure re-opens to ACE members

Thursday, November 6, 2014 4:22 PM

Jeff, we disagree on this. Let me begin with a small example. Disney gate pricing affects what we do at our park. Believe it or not Disney pricing is kind of the gold standard or once what was the gold standard as to what a regional park could charge because many consumers used Disney pricing as the reference point for pricing to enter a regional park. We love to see Disney raise their prices because it makes our park pricing appear even more reasonable and a great a value. Now, not all consumers did that but some did.

As to the soda issue I'll give you my perspective, which may be even more import monetarily. If we would have retained the right (as the patent holder) to be the only park in America that gives away soda with your gate price, that would make us stand out from Cedar Point, Dollywood or Kings Island, etc. Consumers do compare overall pricing and guest experience and even if it were only 20 % of our attendance that had knowledge that we were the only park with a free unlimited soft drink with gate admission it would give us a small (perhaps large) strategic advantage. Consumers pay attention to what their experience is like at other parks. More than 20 % of our annual attendance at HW visited another park that year. So we thought it would be a nice feather in our cap to be the ONLY park in America that included free soda in your gate admission charge. Small business advantages are all important. Cumulatively they make your business unique in the market place. So yes, the vast majority of our guests wouldn't know or care that other parks were doing free unlimited soft drinks but if that gave us a small edge on consumer perspective on pricing/guest experience of say 5% I'll take that every day. So, we just disagree business wise here.

Plus and finally, I think you miss another very important point. Had we been granted the patent, every park in America would have had to go through our park for the right to pay our park for the free unlimited soft drink program for use in their park. Owning a business methodology patent provides protection for your idea and possible revenue if you want to grant use of the idea for a price to another business. No biggie that we disagree. All the best. Hope to see you at IAAPA. Dan Koch sodahead.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014 8:39 PM

I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that most people in Detroit and Cleveland have no idea what Holiday World is. They certainly aren't going to drive six hours to visit HW instead of CP in significant numbers. Besides, there's no way you could patent that given the sheer volume of prior art in the hospitality businesses.

I love HW dearly, but it thrives because it knows exactly what it is and nails it.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014 9:12 PM

Jeff, you are right the people of Detroit and Cleveland don't know what HW is. But there are cities like Indianapolis who are all well aware of Kings Island Cedar Point and Holiday World. Cedar Point, Kings Island all enjoy strong guest visitation from the people of Indianapolis. Louisville also does well at Kings Island and Holiday World. Plus, Will, Natalie and I were hopeful that in the outside chance we got the patent, we would receive royalties if the idea caught on like wild fire and spread like cancer through the theme park industry. You win. We were idiots for even trying to get a patent. Sodahead Dan. We paid $5,000 on the outside chance we would get the patent and the commencement royalty. From a risk reward perspective, we saw great value in the upside of obtaining this business methodology patent, viewing our chances of getting a patent at about 10 %. But with 20/20 hindsight we can now see that as a $5,000 flush on the patent lawyer. Oh well. Soda head Dan, Will and Natalie should have seen that we were just wasting lawyer money on pursuing this patent given the sheer volume of prior art in the hospitality business. Thanks for the comment. Over and out. Soda brain Dan Koch. I am going to guzzle a diet dew now! Woo hoo.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 7:34 AM

Wait, it's not over. I want an old fashioned duel to resolve whether it was stupid or had any business logic whatsoever in pursuing the methodology patent at a cost of $5,000. I challenge you Jeff to a two out of three boxing match. That's right! rock em sock em robots. You pick the time and place. I'll be there. You even choose your robot first. I'll even agree to a referee of your choosing! I'm at the park now practicing my rock em sick em robot skills! Go Dan go! LOL!

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Friday, November 7, 2014 8:09 AM

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Friday, November 7, 2014 9:50 AM

Dan has a fair point, though. I think that $5,000 is a reasonable expense, especially for a successful theme park, for the possibility of revenue gains. Holiday World has been very successful and it's like Dan said: even if only a small number of people are "comparison shopping" amongst theme parks, it was worth it to ensure a competitive advantage.

Shoot, look at how many events Coasterbuzz has had at Holiday World over the years. I'm not saying that free soft drinks are the reason that Holiday World has remained a perennial favorite, but I can bet you that ideas like free soft drinks at least somewhat contributed to the park's stellar reputation, and I'd argue that the $5,000 the park spent in hopes of snagging that patent has been more than paid off by the enthusiast crowd that flocks to the place for things like Holliwood Nights and the like. That's a crowd who travels to these places and who often does "comparison shop," and while we're often fond of claiming how small of a demographic we are, we're certainly large enough to have footed that $5,000 bill.

Besides, as Dan stated, the revenue potential was there. We haven't seen free soft drinks really take off as a widespread concept (Lake Compounce is the only other park I know of that offers them), but park pricing is clearly a hot topic for discussion these days, and I don't see the problem with trying to put yourself in a position to profit from future parks who might warm up to the idea.

Lastly, again, it was five grand. We're seriously heaping all this criticism for a four-digit expenditure by a park with the Raven, Legend, Voyage, and Thunderbird? It's a drop in a bucket.

Last edited by sirloindude, Friday, November 7, 2014 9:52 AM
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Friday, November 7, 2014 9:54 AM

Considering the possible gains *IF* the patent had been granted (even if the possibility was slim), 5 grand seems like a pretty small amount of money to risk. It's not like throwing money at lottery tickets or anything...

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Friday, November 7, 2014 10:20 AM

Aside from being absurdly non-patentable, given the prior art problem, he originally implied it was for competitive reasons.

Patents these days are a lot like lottery plays, and fortunately we have a lot of activist judges tearing down patent trolls.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 10:34 AM

Forget the sodas and patents I just wanna a battle in rock em sock em robots with anybody. Any takers? I'm a brawler in rock em sick em robots.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 10:46 AM

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Friday, November 7, 2014 10:54 AM

Wouldn't a park just have to offer free drinks in an different way (make them not look free) to skirt the patent.

Something as simple as "$1 of this ticket price pays for your drinks inside the park" on the ticket (written in legalese, of course) seems like it'd be enough to claim they're not giving away free drinks.

Sort of the inverse of tying the costs of drinks into the gate and telling people they're free.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 11:13 AM

Sounds like the 2-drink minimum at clubs offered for all of modern history.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 5:49 PM

Dan, I hope you realize that soft drinks in the state of Alabama are not called sodas, they are all Coke's right? Big cultural and language difference between Santa Claus, IN and Birmingham, AL.

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Friday, November 7, 2014 6:16 PM

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Friday, November 7, 2014 6:25 PM

That's awesome.
I knew Ohio was pop country, I've used that word my whole life, although it always sounds a little southern to me.

I wonder what the "others" are? There's little pockets of those here and there. Pepsi, I suppose.

Fanta? Moxie? Cerveza?

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 1:03 AM

Back to the original topic,

I was at the event, and had a great deal of fun. I had just arrived in Alabama a few days before, and this event was like a wonderful welcome party.

Seeing Mrs. Koch was one of the highlights of the event. Her absence was blatantly obvious during this year's Holliwood Nights, and Holiday World just didn't feel the same without her. Seeing her here in Alabama, working hard to make sure we were having fun, had a great impact on me. The hospitality of the Koch Family, their team, and Josh, really made me feel at home here in Alabama.

The ride was wonderful. I would definitely rank it as on the list of my favorite wooden coasters. Dan and his team put a lot of effort into getting the ride ready, and hosting the event, and it showed.

The main reason that Alabama Splash Adventure now has a real chance to survive is that Dan not only has a plan, but also a wonderful team to execute that plan, and to slowly resurrect this park.

While I will miss having Cedar Point in my back yard, I am really looking forward to having a Koch Family park in my new back yard. The family atmosphere, and the love of the business that I see in Dan and his team are things that will bring me back this summer, as well as my family!

I am trying to promote the park here in Alabama, as many people here don't know about the return of Rampage, or the new unlimited soft drinks being offered for 2015! I can't wait for May, and for having a front seat to the show that is the growth of this up-and-coming amusement park!

-Sam

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 8:02 AM

Steve Free Cokes in Alabama! But we serve Pepsi. Sam, WELCOME!!! We will build this park up every day. It's all I care about. Even my kids know Daddy's obsessed with this. I work them too! Sodahead Dan Koch See you at diet few rehab!

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 8:05 AM

Diet Dew Rehab. Hi my name is dan. I'm a dewaholic. Admitting is the first step. I am powerless over Diet Mt. Dew!

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 10:43 PM

Are you going to have regular Diet Pepsi or the caffeine free Diet Pepsi (crap) that is available at HW?

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Saturday, November 8, 2014 11:00 PM

Dan! I am really not happy about this free soda! I was a recovering Coca-Cola addict, until I came to The South. Now I have fallen off the wagon. Thanks to your free soda, I'll have to spend half the summer in rehab! :-(.

You sucker us in with a wonderful waterpark and a great wooden coaster, and now you get us hooked on free Pepsi? Is that even legal? Next thing you know and I'll be bringing my family, and they will be hooked on your park. How dare you? ;-)

-Sam

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