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Jun 7, 2013
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Dr. Julius Money Ed.D said:
And before you say that they must be making more this way than the old way, I'd caution that we all know their internal metrics are flawed as they can't get people o take surveys and it's very easy to conflate correlation with causation without supporting info. People may spend more in the park now than before, but that could be unrelated to ticket prices.

Here's where I get confused.

A traditional 1-Park, 1 Year Pass to BGW is $120. With that you get free parking and 10% off in park purchases, IIRC. I haven't been this season but I think parking is $10. I know I shouldn't limit the scope like this, but let's say everyone sets a budget of $30 of in park spending per visit regardless of the Summer Fun Pass or 1 Year Season Pass.

If a Summer Pass Member and Fun Pass Member drive to the park and park there the same number of times, and spend the same hypothetical budget of $20, by the fourth visit it would have been cheaper for the Annual Passholder than the Fun Passholder to do the exact same things at Busch Gardens, not including the fact Summer Fun Cards don't let you into HOS or give you CT admission.

I don't know if they are actually losing money this way. I do think the Summer Fun Card is a borderline nebulous pass that adds to the already complex ticketing options for BGW, WCUSA, BGW/WCUSA 7 day, 14 day, 1 and 2 year options, the +Colonial Williamsburg Option, Vacation Packages, dozens of "extras" that can be added or subtracted, and the Platinum Pass.

I mean, with Cedar Fair, I give them credit for "1 day ticket" "Season Pass" and "Cedar Fair Platinum (all parks) Pass" levels that are pretty clear cut.
 
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Jun 25, 2013
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Brandon
RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

PayneTW said:
If a Summer Pass Member and Fun Pass Member drive to the park and park there the same number of times, and spend the same hypothetical budget of $20, by the fourth visit it would have been cheaper for the Annual Passholder than the Fun Passholder to do the exact same things at Busch Gardens, not including the fact Summer Fun Cards don't let you into HOS or give you CT admission.

How many of those Fun Pass Members actually buy meals. On some of the now defunct boards for SWO/BGT there were people joining and asking about packing lunches and eating at the car to save on cost. I am a pass member at those two parks and regularly eat at the car. There are several variables with something like that.
 
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Apr 5, 2011
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

PayneTW said:
Here's where I get confused.

A traditional 1-Park, 1 Year Pass to BGW is $120. With that you get free parking and 10% off in park purchases, IIRC. I haven't been this season but I think parking is $10. I know I shouldn't limit the scope like this, but let's say everyone sets a budget of $30 of in park spending per visit regardless of the Summer Fun Pass or 1 Year Season Pass.

If a Summer Pass Member and Fun Pass Member drive to the park and park there the same number of times, and spend the same hypothetical budget of $20, by the fourth visit it would have been cheaper for the Annual Passholder than the Fun Passholder to do the exact same things at Busch Gardens, not including the fact Summer Fun Cards don't let you into HOS or give you CT admission.

I don't know if they are actually losing money this way. I do think the Summer Fun Card is a borderline nebulous pass that adds to the already complex ticketing options for BGW, WCUSA, BGW/WCUSA 7 day, 14 day, 1 and 2 year options, the +Colonial Williamsburg Option, Vacation Packages, dozens of "extras" that can be added or subtracted, and the Platinum Pass.

I mean, with Cedar Fair, I give them credit for "1 day ticket" "Season Pass" and "Cedar Fair Platinum (all parks) Pass" levels that are pretty clear cut.

The issue with fun cards is that they simply don't encourage people to spend money at the park. Yes, you do have to pay for parking, but there's no discount with a season pass and if you're cheap enough to get a fun pass vs season pass, are you really going to spend money on food and toys at the park? Every time I go, I always see people with picnics in the parking lot and people sneaking in food.
 
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Nov 14, 2009
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

You guys know some people just don't have that much money right? That doesn't necessarily make them some kind of moochy, cheapskate, "couponer class."

I mean, it's kind of nice that the park gives people that may not otherwise be able to go more than one day a year an affordable way to enjoy the park with their families. There are a lot of children who are making memories that will last a lifetime courtesy of those fun cards. I think we may want to keep that in perspective.
 
Feb 6, 2013
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Shafor said:
You guys know some people just don't have that much money right? That doesn't necessarily make them some kind of moochy, cheapskate, "couponer class."

I mean, it's kind of nice that the park gives people that may not otherwise be able to go more than one day a year an affordable way to enjoy the park with their families. There are a lot of children who are making memories that will last a lifetime courtesy of those fun cards. I think we may want to keep that in perspective.

Amen! We have season passes, but that is ONLY because we got raises and the easy pay option! I always try to schedule a trip to the park around paydays! Budgeting families aren't necessarily cheap, just frugal! I go to make memories with my kids and/or friends! Thank you Shafor for putting it into words!
 
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Shafor said:
You guys know some people just don't have that much money right? That doesn't necessarily make them some kind of moochy, cheapskate, "couponer class."

I mean, it's kind of nice that the park gives people that may not otherwise be able to go more than one day a year an affordable way to enjoy the park with their families. There are a lot of children who are making memories that will last a lifetime courtesy of those fun cards. I think we may want to keep that in perspective.

Like my family, you mean?

I'm not saying anything bad about those people (which includes me). What I'm saying is that your profit model can't be based on letting people in for free and then hoping those people elect to spend money once inside. A lot of people may end up coming who otherwise wouldn't, because it's free, and then not spend any money. And if your park gets crowded with those people, you're going to be in financial trouble.

There should be a difference in price between one-day tickets and multi-day passes. However you stack that, you should be charging people to get in.
 
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Ken

Mar 1, 2012
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

I'm not so sure I agree with the Dr. analysis on the fun card, "buy one day get the rest for free" thing. I suspect there are a lot of people who save up and buy the tickets for a day at BG with the family. They say, "wow, we can come back for free? Good deal!" Then, THEY COME BACK. That doesn't cost the park anything, and they MIGHT buy some food and drink, play some games, and buy a stuffed Nessie doll. However, if they just bought a regular one-day ticket. They probably won't come back until next year. They won't buy any food or drink, and the park will seem emptier. The fun card puts 'butts in seats,' the ultimate measure of entertainment income. Sure, some people will bring a picnic and go cheap, but that isn't costing the park much. Most will likely buy at least an ice cream or lunch, at great mark-up. I still think it's a solid concept for BGW. Could they get away with charging a few bucks more for it? Probably, but they know how to crunch numbers on that kind of thing.
 
Apr 5, 2011
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Shafor said:
You guys know some people just don't have that much money right? That doesn't necessarily make them some kind of moochy, cheapskate, "couponer class."

I mean, it's kind of nice that the park gives people that may not otherwise be able to go more than one day a year an affordable way to enjoy the park with their families. There are a lot of children who are making memories that will last a lifetime courtesy of those fun cards. I think we may want to keep that in perspective.

I can certainly understand that, but at the same time, the park has to do something to make money and if fun card users aren't spending money at the park then something needs to change.
 
Jun 7, 2013
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Shafor said:
You guys know some people just don't have that much money right? That doesn't necessarily make them some kind of moochy, cheapskate, "couponer class."

I mean, it's kind of nice that the park gives people that may not otherwise be able to go more than one day a year an affordable way to enjoy the park with their families. There are a lot of children who are making memories that will last a lifetime courtesy of those fun cards. I think we may want to keep that in perspective.

That's nice and all, but as was mentioned earlier in this thread, the park that for over 40 years was essentially one of the play grounds of the Busch family and a front for beer sales is now a regional theme park chain just like Cedar Fair or Six Flags. They have stockholders and private equity executives that want to make money. You can say you can't put a price on memories, but I'm pretty sure the operational budget is suffering because management has to.
 
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Stragedy said:
I'm not so sure I agree with the Dr. analysis on the fun card, "buy one day get the rest for free" thing. I suspect there are a lot of people who save up and buy the tickets for a day at BG with the family. They say, "wow, we can come back for free? Good deal!" Then, THEY COME BACK. That doesn't cost the park anything, and they MIGHT buy some food and drink, play some games, and buy a stuffed Nessie doll. However, if they just bought a regular one-day ticket. They probably won't come back until next year. They won't buy any food or drink, and the park will seem emptier. The fun card puts 'butts in seats,' the ultimate measure of entertainment income. Sure, some people will bring a picnic and go cheap, but that isn't costing the park much. Most will likely buy at least an ice cream or lunch, at great mark-up. I still think it's a solid concept for BGW. Could they get away with charging a few bucks more for it? Probably, but they know how to crunch numbers on that kind of thing.

It's not what fills up the park, it's what makes the park money. If three thousand funcard users come into the park on any given day and only a few hundred buy meals, then the park just lost money due to operating costs.
 
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Stragedy said:
I'm not so sure I agree with the Dr. analysis on the fun card, "buy one day get the rest for free" thing. I suspect there are a lot of people who save up and buy the tickets for a day at BG with the family. They say, "wow, we can come back for free? Good deal!" Then, THEY COME BACK. That doesn't cost the park anything, and they MIGHT buy some food and drink, play some games, and buy a stuffed Nessie doll. ...


Not true. The stores have to be staffed, security has to be there, ticket takers have to man the booths, show performers have to perform, rides trains have to run, animal handlers have to be at the park, water has to run, electricity has to be on, AC units have to cool, etc., no matter if people got in free or not.

If your park is 80% full of people who, on any given day, did not pay to be there that day, then for every 8 guests, only 2 are covering all of those aforementioned costs. Buying sodas and ice cream won't cover it.

I mean, can you think of any other business that operates this way? Do you get into the movies free all summer because you bought one movie ticket in March? Do you get into all of the Tides games all season because you showed up to one during spring training? In both cases, you'd theoretically be buying concessions and what not while there.

I don't know for sure that it's a money loser. But I know I wouldn't do it if I were in charge, and I can't think of any other similar business that does it.
 
Jun 25, 2013
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Brandon
RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Pretzel Kaiser said:
It's not what fills up the park, it's what makes the park money. If three thousand funcard users come into the park on any given day and only a few hundred buy meals, then the park just lost money due to operating costs.

Gate clicks do nothing without guests spending. If you have 20,000 people coming in the park and buying a couple meals a piece and drinks throughout the day with merchandise tossed in maybe then you have had a good day. If you just have guests coming in, not buying merchandise, Fast Passes, and food then you are operating at a heavy loss.
 
Sep 8, 2010
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Shafor said:
Am I missing something in the logic that somehow not letting people in basically for free = MORE people at the park?

More people in the park doesn't always equate to more money being spent in the park. Plus it requires more staff to handle said crowd....

After all, it is a business at the end of the day.
 

Ken

Mar 1, 2012
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Pretzel Kaiser said:
It's not what fills up the park, it's what makes the park money. If three thousand funcard users come into the park on any given day and only a few hundred buy meals, then the park just lost money due to operating costs.

I totally agree with this, but I just wonder if that is truly the math of just who is in the park. I see lots of first-timers, out-of-towners, and large groups when I'm at the park. I also see a lot of familiar faces and locals. I just don't have a good handle on the breakdown of who is in the park. As long as the mix of cardholders to single-day visitors is managed well, I still think it is a good idea because it can capture a group who are unlikely to buy a second ticket, but would buy food when they return.

In my own case, the funcard was like a lost-leader for buying an annual pass. We had the fun card three years ago, then thought, "wow, this is a great park, let's upgrade to the pass for free parking and food discounts." Now we get annual passes.
 
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Nov 14, 2009
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

I'd also like to know how many of you posting on here are regular "ice water warriors" yourselves? ;) I spend $50-$100 every time I go to the park and I go about 100 times a year so just know that I'm picking up your slack.

BTW, season pass = $120(?) with unlimited free parking and 10% off every purchase in the park. Fun card = $70 plus $15 a pop for parking and no discounts. Seems like the season pass holders are ripping the park off more than the fun card users.
 
Sep 5, 2010
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RICHMOND
For free or not for free...that is the question (Fun Cards)

Continuing a discussion from the EitA is Closed thread:

Is the Fun Card a financial drain on the park or a good idea because it drives traffic?

Discuss.
 

Ken

Mar 1, 2012
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

I'd be curious to know what the average number of visits per funpass per season is. They know this, because they scan them. That's how the math is done.
 
Apr 5, 2011
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

If you come to the park a lot, then you should get an annual pass. Giving free admission to a bunch of people is throwing away money. As mentioned before, it's all about the people you should be attracting to your business. The park should be attracting people who will spend money in the park, not people who are willing to always use the cheapest option out there.
 

Zachary

Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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RE: Europe in the Air is Now Closed

Shafor said:
BTW, season pass = $120(?) with unlimited free parking and 10% off every purchase in the park. Fun card = $70 plus $15 a pop for parking and no discounts. Seems like the season pass holders are ripping the park off more than the fun card users.

As easy as it is to beat up on Fun Cards, ^ this is a very good point- especially when you factor in that the Fun Card is only good for a fraction of the year. Quite honestly, the answer here is to raise pass prices and fun card prices across the board. :s
 
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