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Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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"How to Piss Off All Your Pass Holders 101", presented by Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Classes run from February 1st to March 31st and are bound to stir up a massive amount of backlash that anyone with eyes could have seen coming.


Picture backups in case they're pulled: Twitter | Facebook
 
Feb 9, 2013
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RE: Discounts & Deals

They are getting nailed by the pass holders in the comments section, on Facebook. And I have to agree with them, it's a bit ridiculous that people who barely go to the park get better deals than we do. The Christmas Town pass was another example, they offered this as a pass member exclusive, but then they went and gave the same exact deal to the GP. I'm not feeling the appreciation at the moment.
 
Apr 1, 2010
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RE: Discounts & Deals

I felt stabbed in the eye back when this "family friendly" park got rid of the Family 4-Pack Passport (around a %25 discount or was it fourth free?) when they must have become family UNfriendly.

They must have tasted blood and now keep coming back for more every year.
 
Dec 23, 2011
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RE: Discounts & Deals

As stated on their Facebook by a fan, to be fair, the park does give lots of things to pass holders already. I mean, the pass saves you money overtime versus the short term cost. You get discounts, free friend tickets, discounted friend tickets, free parking, special pass holder events (Ride Nights, ERT, Preview Day, Appreciation Weekend, etc.), discounted/free admission to other parks. 

So what if they offer an admission deal. How can they give you a deal on admission when you have already have admission, along with a slew of other extras. I will say the Christmas Town Pass was definitely bad for pass holders because it came out as an exclusive pass holder discount, then it came available to everyone and that destroyed it.

But really, I don't see a major problem with it.
 

Zachary

Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
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RE: Discounts & Deals

Here's the problem with that point of view Party Rocker: We pay extra on top of the Fun Card for those things. Since we're paying money on top of the Fun Card price to get those additional perks, it stands to reason that we should have everything the Fun Card holders have in addition to the perks that have always differentiated the two tiers.
 

Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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RE: Discounts & Deals

So I dug into this a bit further and found something even more shocking. While the park giving away Water Country USA fun cards to anyone who buys a Busch Gardens Williamsburg fun card looks really bad, what if I told you that the park has actually had the nerve to raise two park season pass prices as well? I'm here to tell you just that. Here's a chart for all you chart fans.

mJFY6Z2.png

Note the $12 increase in 2 park season pass prices compared to 2013 that just serves to further the massive gap in price this nonsense has ripped open between the park's two two park passes. It's pretty clear that pass members are being royally screwed over here. Not only are we not getting a massive perk provided to the lower tier of park passes for free, but this year we're expected to pay more than last year for the same benefit the park is giving away to fun carders this year. Ain't that some crap?
 
Feb 9, 2013
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RE: Discounts & Deals

And when you compare our benefits to every other park in the company's pass member benefits, we get nothing compared to them. We get one pass member preview day, and a pass member appreciation weekend, both with limited perks. Other parks give their pass holders appreciation months! With increased perks, discounts, and events. We maybe the most loyal pass members in the company, but we are treated the most poorly.
 
Dec 23, 2011
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RE: Discounts & Deals

How is a $12 increase for those who are just now buying passes screwing anyone over? I mean If you buy your passes brand new fresh every year, I can understand the pain. But for those who have EZPay, it really doesn't change much because their still paying a low price from when they first bought the pass. That is part of being loyal. When I say loyal I am referring to as your membership stands continuously uninterrupted, not the frequency of your visits and tolerance to management or whatever. Get EZPay, the longer you keep the more you save in the long run. Of course that is looking at the situation from a long-term investment view.
Now for those who do not have EZPay and renew annually by paying the one lump sum of cash, then I can see how that hurts. But honestly, I think just because your a pass holder shouldn't mean you really deserve anything. I think it should be in regards to the length of your membership. I would love to see them have a system that basically records how long you have a pass membership and for each consecutive year, you get an extra perk or benefit, or perhaps the price of renewing goes down a few dollars or something to that extent. 

Who cares what other parks offer their pass holders? Other parks are not BGW. If you are trying to compare products why would you compare a BGW pass and say a KD pass. It really depends on what product you are looking for. Are you looking for just a theme park pass? Then compare them all. But if you are looking to get a pass specifically for BGW, only compare their products. 

That goes in hand with what I said earlier, sort of. It is not a total rip off for everyone. There are people out there only interested in BGW and KD means crap to them. So why would they buy a KD pass if they don't like KD? Because it has more KD perks. If you are only interested in what BGW offers, then it shouldn't matter what other parks offer. But like I said it depends on what your looking at, a BGW specific product or just any theme park product.

Sorry for picking on KD, in all honestly you can insert any park. I just choose KD because it is a close competitor.
 
Sep 28, 2009
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RE: Discounts & Deals

So many people only know Busch Gardens for less than a decade.  Growing up at the park, one thing my family always felt is that if you were a season pass member, that the park appreciated your loyalty.  

That is the key issue- loyalty.  Fun Cards are great for families on a budget and still want to take their kids out for fun during the summer. Season pass members are folks who , even if their budget is tight, sacrifice other luxuries in their life because they want nothing more than to be at the park all year long.  (not every season pass member is mega rich)

I am not screaming over the fact that Busch Gardens has offered a great deal to families in a tough economy.  However, I am upset that after decades of being a loyal season pass member, that a Fun Card holder can now access water country when I cannot.  

I think it is time Busch Gardens really reevaluates their pass system.  I would not pay an upgrade to Platinum because I am not a huge fan of Water Parks, nor do I go to Florida enough to make the multi-park aspect worthwhile.  

However, if the true "season passes" offered more bonuses- say a 30% discount, free preferred parking, and quick queue access to your home park- well- I would so get that Platinum Pass!  

As it stands, season passes feel hollow and less important; an after thought.  

As far as comparing Busch Gardens to other parks- that is exactly what everyone should do.  When you buy a phone, do you not research for the best deal?  Who gives you the best contract, the best customer service, the best payment plan?  Who has the best apps and perks?  

This is NO DIFFERENT than those looking to spend their hard earned money on a season pass.  You are pretty much buying a contract with the park in a way.  Loyalty- respect- and appreciation for your patronage is key to a successful business.
 

Zachary

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Sep 23, 2009
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RE: Discounts & Deals

Party Rocker pid=91301 dateline=1391218298 said:
How is a $12 increase for those who are just now buying passes screwing anyone over?

You completely missed the point Party Rocker. Here, let me break it down as far as I possibly can:

There are only 2 notable price chances that occurred this year and they are as follows:

  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg & Water Country USA 2 Park Season Pass: $12 More
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg & Water Country USA 2 Park Fun Card: $27 Less
How can anyone justify that? Spoiler: It's absolutely impossible.

Also, I'll say this: Your EZPay argument is completely invalid. There are a ton of people out there who prefer paying for things in one lump sum. Myself included.
 
Dec 23, 2011
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RE: Free WCUSA Admission With BGW Fun Card Purchase

Zachary pid=91306 dateline=1391222106 said:
Also, I'll say this: Your EZPay argument is completely invalid. There are a ton of people out there who prefer paying for things in one lump sum. Myself included.

Irregardless of personal preference, for those who are looking for the absolute lowest price, EZPay still is the way to go. If you don't prefer it then I'm sorry, pay the extra few dollars each season. There is not more I can say for that. I'm not trying to offend you, it's just how I see things. Sometimes to get the better deal you have to disregard personal preference. For example, I knew an elderly couple who didn't own a computer yet they were pass holders and wanted to get their 'Bring a Friend Free' tickets. Well you had to have a computer to get those. Guest Relations wouldn't print it out for them because they can't. Maybe they don't prefer to own a computer, well they lost out on a deal because of something they prefer. I mean that is just how things are sometimes.

I mean, I look at the value of a pass in two things, full season admission and perks. The Fun Card doesn't offer either of those, so I expect it to cost less. It's not like it is a permeant price change, it is a limited time only offer.

Now I will say, I hate the fact they are offering a deal on a Fun Card because Fun Cards are not supposed to have deals. They are supposed to be you pay the full flat price no discount. That is what made the Fun Card different from other tickets, it couldn't be discounted.

Honestly, I hate the fact that WCUSA has a Fun Card. That sucks because a WCUSA pass and a WCUSA fun card are the exact same except one has perks and the other is cheaper. The admission is break even since their good for the same length of time really. Unless you buy your pass in the middle of the year.
 
Feb 9, 2013
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Party Rocker pid=91301 dateline=1391218298 said:
Who cares what other parks offer their pass holders? Other parks are not BGW. If you are trying to compare products why would you compare a BGW pass and say a KD pass. It really depends on what product you are looking for. Are you looking for just a theme park pass? Then compare them all. But if you are looking to get a pass specifically for BGW, only compare their products. 

That goes in hand with what I said earlier, sort of. It is not a total rip off for everyone. There are people out there only interested in BGW and KD means crap to them. So why would they buy a KD pass if they don't like KD? Because it has more KD perks. If you are only interested in what BGW offers, then it shouldn't matter what other parks offer. But like I said it depends on what your looking at, a BGW specific product or just any theme park product.

Sorry for picking on KD, in all honestly you can insert any park. I just choose KD because it is a close competitor.


You may not care, but I do care about what parks offer their pass member, and so do most other people who are affected by this.

You obviously didn't get what I was saying I was comparing our benefits to other parks benefits, that are owned by the same company, SWP&E. I didn't say any park, I said how is it fair that every other park in our company treats their pass members a heck of a lot better than BGW does. ANSWER: it isn't. If I lived in Florida, I would be more than inclined to get the highest pass they offered, because they offer more benefits than BGW does. Your KD comparison is invalid, to what I was trying to say.

It's insulting that BGW will treat people who rarely go to the park a lot better than they do people who go to the park often. You're about the only person who thinks it's fair to trick loyal customers, into buying a worse deal.
 
Dec 23, 2011
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No, I got what you said. You can insert any park or grouping into what I said. The important thing I said was If you are only interested in what BGW offers then that should be what matters. Why would you care about what any other park in the chain or any other park in the world offers if all you care about is BGW then why does any other park in the chain matter?
How is the park treating Fun Card holders better than Annual Pass holders? FCHs don't get perks, they don't get into the park the whole season. The Annual Passes are still the better deal. 

And I think it is really unfair for you to just assume Fun Card holders visit the park less than Annual Pass holders. I know a lot of Fun Card holders that go daily, where as my family being Annual Pass holders, go like once a year.

I honestly do not see it as some trick. I see it as, look hey a great deal for people visiting the area for a week or longer. I still think annual passes on EZPay are the best option for anyone who wants to get the best deal in terms of someone who plans on visiting the park for many years.

EDIT: Zachary I think the title of this thread is misleading. They aren't giving away a WCUSA Pass, it's just a WCUSA Fun Card. Looking at the title of the thread it just looks to me like the title implies they are giving a full pass with discounts to fun card holders, which just isn't true.
 
Sep 28, 2009
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I'm going to nip this in the bud right here.  Stop, please.  Party Rocker, your opinion has been expressed and we all understand your view (whether we agree or not). However, let us just say that the majority here disagree over most of what you have said. There is no use in trying to convert the masses.   

Right now, the pushing and pushing is becoming antagonizing to the group and and is serving no more than getting folks riled up and therefore I am stepping in and shouting PEACE! before it goes any further.  

Thanks.
 

Gavin

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Sep 27, 2009
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I don't think we are asking the right questions, and here is why:

Yes, this deal isn't fair to us pass holders that pay more, and makes me want to write a few dozen angry emails to the park and Orlando. But the real question I have is: Why? Why would the park's management risk angering it's most loyal customers, it's pass holders, just to possibly gain an attendance boost at WCUSA? Why would the park leave money on the table? What could possibly come of this?

While we don't know what attendance numbers were for both parks these past two years, we do know that they weren't even close to where they should have been. Verbolten flopped, and things have been looking down ever since. Why it flopped is a whole nother debate, but I'm sure SWP isn't too happy about it. Now this year we have a major attraction opening at WCUSA for the first time in ages, and I'm sure park management is trying to get its numbers up to satisfy SWP. So what can they do?

Kings Dominion has long prided itself as Virginia's Only 2 in 1 Theme Park/Water Park. They are also doing extensive work this year to celebrate its 40th anniversary, and people are already excited to see what that entails. This is the sort of attention that WCUSA should be trying to get, but isn't even making an attempt at. It shouldn't be that hard to garner even half the attention that KD is getting. Honestly, park management seems scared to me, scared that this may be the final year that they are left running things.

Think about it. Over fifty million dollars were spent on a coaster that didn't even attract the same number of people as something that cost just half of that. Millions more were spent on "revitalizing" a portion of the park that most likely would have been just fine the way it was, if not better. Rumors were going around of the bright future the park had, until Verbolten opened and dried all of them up. Park management has built themselves a coffin, and now they are staring right into it. I think Colossal Curl maybe the only chance they have at saving their jobs.

Consider; BGW and WCUSA probably aren’t performing [attendance wise] as well as SWP would like, especially after dumping all that money into them. KD is becoming a major contender, and may very well end up eating BGW’s lunch. So what is a sure fire way to bolster attendance numbers? You give passes away.

Now why passes and not tickets? Well, tickets don’t give people a reason to come back, but a pass would. Of course SWP would not be happy if they just started handing out passes to every man, woman, and child at no charge. So you bundle it with something that people already buy a lot, or at least more of. Now the park has a foot in the door to get more people to go to WCUSA. Sure there’s Colossal Curl now, but with the park’s horrid marketing team, who’s to say that’s enough? If your job is on the line would you take that risk, or would you do everything you could think of to make sure you aren’t shown the door.

To me this isn’t about money, pass members’ best interest, offering an amazing deal, or even trying to impress corporate. This is an act of desperation, the last thing the park would do to make sure everything turns out in management’s favor.

That’s what I think.
 
Oct 9, 2013
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From a personal stand point, I could care less, I have no desire to go to WCUSA...but I think Gavin is right, this sounds like more of an act of desperation in getting more sales.  I can also agree that it probably wasn't the best idea to forget about your pass holders and offer something this large without extending it to current pass members.  But I'd like to point out that we as pass members currently get free access to HOS(for now) and free parking, where fun cards do not, which is a much bigger perk IMO. BGT doesn't give HOS to pass members.
 

Zachary

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Gavin pid=91320 dateline=1391229485 said:
Sure there’s Colossal Curl now, but with the park’s horrid marketing team, who’s to say that’s enough? If your job is on the line would you take that risk, or would you do everything you could think of to make sure you aren't shown the door.

What if this isn't actually an example of the park's marketing team being horrible and is, in fact, all planned? Think about it for a minute- money had to be sat aside for Colossal Curl marketing, right? The ride itself isn't actually that expensive all things considered. Has anyone seen a dime of that theoretical marketing budget actually put to use anywhere? What if the vast majority of that money is being funneled into this promotion? There's no way this isn't a pricey deal for the park to be running- I imagine they have to make up that difference on their books somehow. Why would they op for this vs traditional marketing you ask? I think Gavin hit the nail on the head: The park doesn't want to take the risk. They could advertise Colossal Curl to the masses and hope that it draws people but at the end of the day, that is still a gamble. Giving anyone who buys a BGW fun card (which there are plenty of those people) free admission to WCUSA translates to a more or less guaranteed notable increase in attendance and then use Colossal Curl's marketing budget (likely provided straight from corporate) and maybe even the price increase on 2 park passes to fill the hole in the books.

Basically, I think Gavin is spot-on with his reasoning but I don't know that's it's anywhere near as desperate of a move as he theorizes- it seems much more calculated than that. This isn't going to help Water Country USA at all. This isn't going to help Busch Gardens Williamsburg at all either. This is simply a sure-fire way to bring a higher number on a spreadsheet to SEAS Corporate and its shareholders. Unfortunately, in the long run, this just further damages the park. As they continue to devalue their product in the eyes of the consumer, the amount people will be willing to pay for said product will continue to fall. Partnered with the decreasing quality of in-park experiences, that free-fall will continue to quicken. The park is digging a hole with these promotions. The only way they've found to get people into the gates the past few seasons has been with absurd deals like this one. That's an extremely dangerous precedent to set and they've been at it for years now.

If you watched the park's Facebook page during Christmas Town, I'm sure you saw the many posts by people who were angry that the park wasn't offering $5 tickets this year. Many of them said that since $5 tickets weren't being offered, they simply wouldn't attend the event this year. This is what happens when the park perpetually undersells itself. People associate the current level of quality with the price being offered. Christmas Town is a fantastic event- a fantastic event that was sold to people over and over again for the laughable price of $5. In the mind of the general consumer, that makes the Christmas Town experience they had worth $5. Who can blame them for not wanting to pay six times more for the same (or even a worse) experience? I know I sure can't. This is what's going to happen to Water Country passes. After getting it for free this year, who would want to pay a ton more for it next year, especially when Water Country USA isn't going to have a new notable attraction next season? Spoiler: No one.
 
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