Park Budgets, Costs, and Pricing

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Mar 16, 2016
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But I feel like this does not make sense. I know BGW pays employees squat, so basically one paying car more a hour almost covers two employees pay for that hour at the parking booth. The quicker they can get guests in the park the quicker they start buying food and other items.
And it would be great if it was a direct correlation like that. But you got to take out from that. Tram operations come from the parking budget. More parking means more tram runs, extra trams running, more wear and tear to account for, more lots open, so add on for all of that. Got to add in the park paying extra employee benefits, insurance, and other backside operation dollars. I would be interested in seeing BGW's formula, I know PSU's football and arena operations said it takes, with all of that factored in (and even about 50% of the 'workforce' being student volunteers) it takes about 50 cars to offset the labor hours of 3 extra employees.

When they have people sitting in their cars for a hour waiting to park they are making nothing.
This is an interesting point, because they actually are. Most business projections don't show it as needing x hours to spend x dollars.

It all comes back to the you have to spend money to make money.
It's not that easy. Take into account ROI, labor, taxes, training costs, building costs, ect. I'll give you a great example. I know someone that owns a McDonalds. The most recent renovations were required within a certain time. At a cost of $500,000 per franchise owner. ROI on that is about 5.5 years. Unless you own multiple, then the timeline becomes shorter.

Another area I think they are losing...at least for my case is drink and snack stands. If they had more open on slower nights I would be more likely to buy something, but when theres very few stands open and theose all have really long lines im not waoting. Now if I could walk up and wait for only one or two people I would be more likely to stop and try more things. I also think sometimes they have poor assignment of working team members.
You are a single person with that. A line of 20 people taking 15 minutes to get through with 4 employees costs about 1/3 the cost of 2 lines of 10 people taking 5 minutes with 8 employees. Show me a place with multiple lines open all the time and I'll show you a business that won't last. Costs are too high.
 
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Nov 24, 2009
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Show me a place with multiple lines open all the time and I'll show you a business that won't last. Costs are too high.
Chic fila, Apple Stores, Disney World, Disneyland........oh wait those places are all massive sucesses because their comittment to service.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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Chic fila, Apple Stores, Disney World, Disneyland........oh wait those places are all massive sucesses because their comittment to service.
Yet they still have limits to how many customers per line they open. Commitment to service and opening max lines regardless of demand aren't mutual concepts. Again, the cost of an extra snack stand being open or both sides of Trappers for example is exponentially higher than the profits lost from the 5% of people that would pass on getting something because of the line. Unless they can find a way to serve from both lines without having to open full facilities (doubtful) and without having to double the work force (doubtful) then it's more cost efficient for them to only open one side. Disney, fast food industry, they live in a completely different world. But even at that, those businesses still operate with 'on call' employees, and if the demand isn't there when that persons 'call' time is, they don't go in regardless of what happens later, and the same issue ends up happening.

EDIT:
Really what I keep seeing if you want everything open and fully staffed regardless of the crowd levels, but you don't want to pay more, and BGW's long term viability doesn't really matter.
 
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EDIT:
Really what I keep seeing if you want everything open and fully staffed regardless of the crowd levels, but you don't want to pay more, and BGW's long term viability doesn't really matter.
Im not saying everything, but come on if cars are backed up and around the curve open more than 4 or 6 lanes with 1 person staffing 2 lanes. I do pay more now, when I went from annual passes to memberships in good faith that the park was changing and I was going to have to my per year rate went up a ton yet some of those same old grandfathered passes are still around paying a few bucks a month to ride the same rides and see the same shows as I do. Where did that increase go to pay for?
 
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But I feel like this does not make sense. I know BGW pays employees squat, so basically one paying car more a hour almost covers two employees pay for that hour at the parking booth. The quicker they can get guests in the park the quicker they start buying food and other items. When they have people sitting in their cars for a hour waiting to park they are making nothing. It all comes back to the you have to spend money to make money. Another area I think they are losing...at least for my case is drink and snack stands. If they had more open on slower nights I would be more likely to buy something, but when theres very few stands open and theose all have really long lines im not waoting. Now if I could walk up and wait for only one or two people I would be more likely to stop and try more things. I also think sometimes they have poor assignment of working team members.
I want to come back to this. There are a lot of jobs that aren't revenue producing. Basically all of ride ops, custodial, tram ops, security, performers, stage crew, maintenance, etc. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the support personnel like HR, finance and marketing. These are jobs that don't directly create revenue but require money from the revenue made in order for the park to be open. It isn't as simple as just saying this location has a long line, they should have more staffing at this one location. And it definitely isn't as simple as saying that one extra car will pay for adding that stand. There are also a lot of other costs associated with opening that stand. Not to mention that the extra car that you are referring to is still going to come in and the park will get the money from the guest (or they might not because it is a member). Also say you bring in an extra employee, you might only need that employee for an hour before there is no longer enough cars to justify. Should they really bring in an employee for one hour? Also even if BGW wanted to then why would the employee want to come in for just an hour?


Chic fila, Apple Stores, Disney World, Disneyland........oh wait those places are all massive sucesses because their comittment to service.
Have you been to Disney lately? I am there a lot due to travel and work taking me down to Florida, I visit the parks at least once a month. There are nothing but lines there and they are aggressive at cutting the number of staff that they have at a location as there lines go down. When there is a slow day there are lots of locations that are closed or where they only have one line open. Case in point was when I was down there at the beginning of September for the opening of Galaxy's Edge. There was a hurricane that was supposed to come through that ended up not being that big of a deal but a lot of people rebooked their travel because of it. It was very slow at Disney despite the weather being very nice post the storm. Staffing was very clearly not there. There was very little open and what was open only had one or two people working. The quick service locations also only had one or two registers open. There were some small lines everywhere despite the park not being busy.

Also I think that it is unfair to compare locations like Chick-fil-a, Apple and Disney to BGW. The demand for their products far surpasses BGW and it has nothing to do with their commitment to service. Well maybe Chick-fil-a but I don't think I have ever heard anyone use the words Apple and commitment to service in the same sentence before unless it was about their lack of commitment. Maybe I have only ever had bad experiences with them but they certainly are not the first company I would think of. But then again that is a topic for another thread.
 
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I want to come back to this. There are a lot of jobs that aren't revenue producing. Basically all of ride ops, custodial, tram ops, security, performers, stage crew, maintenance, etc. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the support personnel like HR, finance and marketing. These are jobs that don't directly create revenue but require money from the revenue made in order for the park to be open. It isn't as simple as just saying this location has a long line, they should have more staffing at this one location. And it definitely isn't as simple as saying that one extra car will pay for adding that stand. There are also a lot of other costs associated with opening that stand. Not to mention that the extra car that you are referring to is still going to come in and the park will get the money from the guest (or they might not because it is a member). Also say you bring in an extra employee, you might only need that employee for an hour before there is no longer enough cars to justify. Should they really bring in an employee for one hour? Also even if BGW wanted to then why would the employee want to come in for just an hour?




Have you been to Disney lately? I am there a lot due to travel and work taking me down to Florida, I visit the parks at least once a month. There are nothing but lines there and they are aggressive at cutting the number of staff that they have at a location as there lines go down. When there is a slow day there are lots of locations that are closed or where they only have one line open. Case in point was when I was down there at the beginning of September for the opening of Galaxy's Edge. There was a hurricane that was supposed to come through that ended up not being that big of a deal but a lot of people rebooked their travel because of it. It was very slow at Disney despite the weather being very nice post the storm. Staffing was very clearly not there. There was very little open and what was open only had one or two people working. The quick service locations also only had one or two registers open. There were some small lines everywhere despite the park not being busy.

Also I think that it is unfair to compare locations like Chick-fil-a, Apple and Disney to BGW. The demand for their products far surpasses BGW and it has nothing to do with their commitment to service. Well maybe Chick-fil-a but I don't think I have ever heard anyone use the words Apple and commitment to service in the same sentence before unless it was about their lack of commitment. Maybe I have only ever had bad experiences with them but they certainly are not the first company I would think of. But then again that is a topic for another thread.
I was at WDW last weekend, as well as during Dorian and the Galaxys Edge Passholder Previews a couple weeks before(cant wait to ride Resistance in a few days). During Dorian yes they did cut staff but they were also preparing ride out teams and had people doing things in preparation. The parks were desserted and yes they closed some lines. However they didnt need them open, we didnt have to wait for anything, when you walk on Frozen Ever After and get a second ride without even having to get out of the boat the place is desserted. But with saying that there was also no where that I went that was something I wanted to do or eat that was closed. The Halloween party went off as planned with the only exception of the Fireworks. There was adequete staffing everywhere. Last weekend at the Christmas Party there were like a dozen people just inside the gate handing out wristbands, there was no line because they had plenty of people there ready to take care of guests entering.
As far as Apple, have you ever walked into one of their stores? I have never made it more than a couple steps inside before being greeted and asked how they could help you.
Maybe in place of increasing staffing at the parking plaza they need to look at their process. I dont get why it takes each car so long to be taken care of and to pass through. For one having one attendand working both sides of a booth is one slowdown but once you pull up they phusically take your pass and scan your pass, ask for ID, ask for zip code, print out a reciept even though you have a membership and it costed you nothing, you get a reciept that shows 0.00. They then hand you a parking pass and sometimes a second slip of information, explain the turning on your hazzard lights, then you finally move on. Now go up the road to KD, you hold your pass out the window they scan it and you drive on, you barely even stop. Maybe thats more what they need to work on....effichency.
 
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From my understanding BGW was in a extremely fortuitous situation under busch parks management since they were not considered a profit-making enterprise and huge amounts of revenue were allowed to be put into operations and investments.

Those days are of course over though, and BGW is squarely in the 'american regional amusement parks' market and needs to provide return to investors. Comparisons to disney parks or apple or anything are not apt as they do not exist in this market. SFA, KD, Hershey, and Carowinds are the market equivalents here.

Unlimited customer service and attraction budgets are not going to benefit the business here.
 
Mar 16, 2016
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Out of curiosity why is WDW and DL the comparison point for BGW and not the more appropriate Dollywood, SDC, Hersheyparks? WDW and DL is a near trillion dollar operation that can pull resources from nowhere, especially in WDW where they have their own local government via the Reedy Creek district. That's an absolute huge advantage to not have to worry about statues. Dollywood/SDC/Hersheypark, while in a much better financial position than BGW, operate on the budget levels that BGW lives on.

To me the most 'disingenuous' part of the knocks of BGW is who is being used as a standard to compare against. It would be like saying Old Dominion University football is terrible because they would lose to an All-Pro team; or the local news is terrible because they can't afford Walter Kronkite.
 

Mushroom

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From my understanding BGW was in a extremely fortuitous situation under busch parks management since they were not considered a profit-making enterprise and huge amounts of revenue were allowed to be put into operations and investments.
Is there any actual proof of this? I've seen this statement made countless times but I can't imagine that Busch actually would not have been concerned with the parks making a profit. Sure, the parks weren't the company's only source of revenue, but is there any real evidence other than hearsay that the parks weren't meant to generate a profit?
 

GrandpaD

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I heard that story, too. And it might have held water in the beginning. But overall the parks did contribute to the AB bottom line -

"The properties generated record earnings in 2004, the 45th anniversary of Anheuser Busch's entry into the amusement park industry. The profits generated by Busch Entertainment provided its parent company with $173 million in operating profits, not a major reward for a company that netted $2.2 billion in 2004, but the value of the amusement parks as a promotional tool added an intangible worth to the contributions of Busch Entertainment. Its relationship with its parent company aside, the company ranked as the third largest theme park operator in the United States, an impressive industry standing that the company likely would not easily surrender in the years ahead."

Read more: https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/7/Busch-Entertainment-Corporation.html#ixzz67j8ITgIs
 
Sep 24, 2018
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Is there any actual proof of this? I've seen this statement made countless times but I can't imagine that Busch actually would not have been concerned with the parks making a profit. Sure, the parks weren't the company's only source of revenue, but is there any real evidence other than hearsay that the parks weren't meant to generate a profit?
I can't give you proof but having worked there when AB owned the park and after I can tell you my experience. When AB owned the park there wasn't a significant focus on how much an item cost or whether it would generate a lot of revenue. The park did a lot of things the more expensive way because that's what Mr. Busch wanted.

Obviously the park couldn't be a money pit and make no money. But they could operate much closer to revenue neutral then they can now. Nowadays there are shareholders that are only focused on the parks. Under AB it was easier to hide and not be as profitable.

The parks were always a bit of a passion project for the Busch's. They weren't necessarily there to make a lot of money but more there to be marketing tool.
 

Nicole

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My friend worked as a food and beverage manager for Spirit Cruises ages ago. According to her, the entire operation was a tax write-off for the parent company. So, I know for a fact that companies run entertainment divisions at a loss.

(I am not a finance person, so I don’t claim to understand the details of how this works; just that it is an accepted practice.)
 
Sep 29, 2009
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I have always wondered if it would be feasible or worthwhile for SeaWorld to start another money-making business to subsidize their parks. I know they will probably never be able to compete with Disney or Universal, but I wonder if they could try by doing something other than just running theme parks. Could you imagine a ride like Curse of DarKastle on a Disney-comparable budget?
 
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I have always wondered if it would be feasible or worthwhile for SeaWorld to start another money-making business to subsidize their parks. I know they will probably never be able to compete with Disney or Universal, but I wonder if they could try by doing something other than just running theme parks. Could you imagine a ride like Curse of DarKastle on a Disney-comparable budget?
They should start a brewery!
 
Sep 24, 2018
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I have always wondered if it would be feasible or worthwhile for SeaWorld to start another money-making business to subsidize their parks. I know they will probably never be able to compete with Disney or Universal, but I wonder if they could try by doing something other than just running theme parks. Could you imagine a ride like Curse of DarKastle on a Disney-comparable budget?
SEAS has had a number of fairly successful TV shows in recent years. The most recent are Sea Rescue which focuses on Sea animal rescue and rehab. The other is Animal Docs which basically follows the vets at BGT around as they care for the animals. They both aired on ABC for a while but I think that Animal Docs recently moved to the CW. It airs on Saturday mornings and is geared towards kids. Sea Rescue I believe no longer airs.

They started airing around 2012 and I believe they were both airing until about a year ago when Sea Rescue ended and Animal Docs moved to the CW.
 
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