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WindingSon

Cedar Fair attendance down 3% through July 4th

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Appears to have been better than average attendance this week.  Lots of daily admission today it seems and lots of spending in park.  Food lines most places have been out the door most of today.  Weather certainly a factor.  More cash purchases than I have seen in awhile...

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I did my part on Tuesday with Blue Ice Cream and bacon on a stick. Lol

Appears to have been better than average attendance this week.  Lots of daily admission today it seems and lots of spending in park.  Food lines most places have been out the door most of today.  Weather certainly a factor.  More cash purchases than I have seen in awhile...


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https://pointbuzz.com/News/Story/3244
A little better than previously reported. Interestingly, less KI season pass sales were directly mentioned.

 
I'm listening in on the conference call and he implicitly put Kings Island in the spotlight as having a slow start.

But also stated that they are down from a record year last year.
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Just now, stashua123 said:

I'm listening in on the conference call and he implicitly put Kings Island in the spotlight as having a slow start.

But also stated that they are down from a record year last year.

Yep but you also can’t chalk up season pass sales to weather. I’m thinking that maybe lack of a new attraction and some customer service growing pains over the past few years caught up to them.

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Yep but you also can’t chalk up season pass sales to weather. I’m thinking that maybe lack of a new attraction and some customer service growing pains over the past few years caught up to them.
I just think we were bound to have a down year with nothing incredibly marketable being new.
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Just now, stashua123 said:
2 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:
Yep but you also can’t chalk up season pass sales to weather. I’m thinking that maybe lack of a new attraction and some customer service growing pains over the past few years caught up to them.

I just think we were bound to have a down year with nothing incredibly marketable being new.

They have a lot going on this year. Plus WF was a smash hit and it continues to be included in the pass. I don’t think it was solely the fact that they didn’t get a ride. 2008 was a great year without a ride.

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1 hour ago, BoddaH1994 said:

https://pointbuzz.com/News/Story/3244

A little better than previously reported. Interestingly, less KI season pass sales were directly mentioned.


 

You might have missed it but Cedar Fair cheated.  The press release is the first six months of the year instead of the typical 2nd quarter announcement.  We already know in the first quarter revenue and attendance was up so it helped offset the drop in the second quarter and made the numbers look better.

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You might have missed it but Cedar Fair cheated.  The press release is the first six months of the year instead of the typical 2nd quarter announcement.  We already know in the first quarter revenue and attendance was up so it helped offset the drop in the second quarter and made the numbers look better.
I would not say "cheated" to describe that.
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54 minutes ago, stashua123 said:
1 hour ago, Kenban said:
You might have missed it but Cedar Fair cheated.  The press release is the first six months of the year instead of the typical 2nd quarter announcement.  We already know in the first quarter revenue and attendance was up so it helped offset the drop in the second quarter and made the numbers look better.

I would not say "cheated" to describe that.

Maybe cheated is a little strong.  But I checked 2nd quarter press releases from 2017 to 2013.  All of them had the second quarter results, which this one failed to include.  Cedar Fair decided to use a different time period which showed the chain performing better than the 2nd quarter results would have.

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6 hours ago, BoddaH1994 said:

Yep but you also can’t chalk up season pass sales to weather. I’m thinking that maybe lack of a new attraction and some customer service growing pains over the past few years caught up to them.

This 100%. This is the first year I haven’t been a season pass holder in about four years (Previously had a Gold Pass for a good 7-8 years with a break there for a bit). I just bought a house and couldn’t justify spending extra cash for a pass after a fiasco I had last season with a bloody chicken nugget. Hands down the worst customer service I’ve experienced in and outside of the industry. 

I think there’s an odd demographic gap too. This has been repeated multiple times, but there aren’t any “in between” attractions. You’ve got coasters and kiddie rides for the most part. There’s mediocre shows and embarrassing dining options. There’s an entire group of potential guests being ignored. Maybe that would help the numbers. Maybe not. I’m no expert.

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The 2nd quarter transcript is now available if anyone wants to read what was said during the conference call.

Going back to what I said above, when the chain did not put the 2nd quarter information in the press release.  It turns out attendance was down 5% or 363k in the 2nd quarter.  Basiclly sounds like they are blaming the weather.

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First casualty of “reducing operating costs” appears to be Witch’s Wheel. Last day to ride September 3rd.
Other parks have gotten rid of their og enterprises. You wont see reducing operating costs right away.... if they are seriously considering doing so look a year or two in the future.
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19 minutes ago, stashua123 said:
2 hours ago, WindingSon said:
First casualty of “reducing operating costs” appears to be Witch’s Wheel. Last day to ride September 3rd.

Other parks have gotten rid of their og enterprises. You wont see reducing operating costs right away.... if they are seriously considering doing so look a year or two in the future.

Yeah, they said they’d consider that, not that it was a plan. This is way too soon. As Josh said, most Huss Enterprises are hitting the end of their service lives. See also: Kentucky Kingdom.

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12 hours ago, BoddaH1994 said:

I don’t think it was solely the fact that they didn’t get a ride. 2008 was a great year without a ride.

2008 and 2013 may have not had a ride or any major new thing, but in both of those years, attendance was driven not by new things that year, but by construction of a huge new thing for the following year. Word got out about the construction and people wanted to come to the park and get a first-hand look at it. 2018 doesn't have that; this is the typical "year off" adjacent to a major roller coaster, but instead of the year off preceding the roller coaster, here it is following the roller coaster. Without a new ride or construction to drive the turnstiles, yes, it's not a surprise to me that attendance is down.

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7 minutes ago, jcgoble3 said:

2008 and 2013 may have not had a ride or any major new thing, but in both of those years, attendance was driven not by new things that year, but by construction of a huge new thing for the following year. Word got out about the construction and people wanted to come to the park and get a first-hand look at it. 2018 doesn't have that; this is the typical "year off" adjacent to a major roller coaster, but instead of the year off preceding the roller coaster, here it is following the roller coaster. Without a new ride or construction to drive the turnstiles, yes, it's not a surprise to me that attendance is down.

I do not believe that future construction moves the needle any measurable amount. There are only a few hundred people that would make a special trip to a park to see dirt moved around.

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On 7/25/2018 at 9:34 AM, shark6495 said:

Rides will get you an attendance spike but it never is sustainable. If you want to see increasing numbers you need to improve the little things that make people want to come back to the park.

Over priced sub par food, lackluster employees, etc doesn’t make people want to return. A ride makes you visit once, the other parts makes you want to return.

I'm beginning to question a lot about seasonal amusement parks' business model, some of them longstanding concepts.

1) Have we reached peak season pass? Necessarily season passes lessen the experience for ticket buying guests. More people equals more lines and money upfront means that your business has already been earned.

2) Have we reached peak youth? Many parents treat Kings Island as a day care for big kids. These kids get in with there passes and some eat with their food passes. Other than that there probably isn't a whole lot of money there. Grandma and Grandpa don't have as much to do with the kids as they once did. They no longer have as many shows to watch and can't take the tram from the massive parking lot.

3) Are people tired of being "gouged"? Food prices are on par with the Reds concessions and the quality is about the same. On busy days people watch long lines of people cut them through Fast Lane. That has to sting for those that are making a once a year family trip. These families are the ones that spend the most money on a visit.

There's got to be a better way! The rides are better than the've ever been, but I'd argue almost everything else has taken a dip over the last few years.

 

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on

10 hours ago, WindingSon said:

If you listen to the call, Cedar Point has seen “double digit” declines in attendance in July. Kings Island is having its second best year for passes and is now back to “normal” attendance levels.

“Normal” means that they are reaching their daily attendance goals, not that they are on par with their annual budget.

We knew that season pass sales were down. This was highly indicated by the extension of the Gold Pass program through July 4th. 

I think all of this is an attendance downward spiral (for lack of a better term). They stated that purchasing decisions are being made much closer to the actual visit now. People aren’t visiting because they don’t have a season pass. People aren’t buying a season pass because they don’t make that initial visit. The Gold Pass extension was an attempt to break that cycle.

Here’s an interesting thought, though: the Kings Island season pass numbers were down from last year. They stated that last year was the record year and this year would be second. So that still implies that this year’s number still isn’t even close to last year’s. The fact that it’s even mentioned as a measurable burden on the metrics of the entire company implies that it’s pretty significantly off. If it was within a few percentage points then it wouldn’t have enough of an impact to be cited specifically. 

Here’s to a stronger second half of 2018.

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I think his point of a lack of name recognition and a branding problem is a good one.  I do not want the parks renamed and am not a fan of how Six Flags names their parks.  But the lack of cross promotion between parks and especially Kings Island and Cedar Point seems crazy to me.  I do not mean ads which show both although that does make sense to me, but where are the signs in the park that advertise if you upgrade to a platinum pass you also get admission to more parks.

The number of times I have spoken with guests at Kings Island while in line that have no clue Cedar Point is the same company and that you can buy a season pass to both is crazy.  Maybe a map of the country with all the parks highlighted, with something like “Upgrade to a Platinum Pass to experience 13 great parks”, plus have some fold out brochures which give some basic details on all the parks.

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3 hours ago, Kenban said:

I think his point of a lack of name recognition and a branding problem is a good one.  I do not want the parks renamed and am not a fan of how Six Flags names their parks.  But the lack of cross promotion between parks and especially Kings Island and Cedar Point seems crazy to me.  I do not mean ads which show both although that does make sense to me, but where are the signs in the park that advertise if you upgrade to a platinum pass you also get admission to more parks.

The number of times I have spoken with guests at Kings Island while in line that have no clue Cedar Point is the same company and that you can buy a season pass to both is crazy.  Maybe a map of the country with all the parks highlighted, with something like “Upgrade to a Platinum Pass to experience 13 great parks”, plus have some fold out brochures which give some basic details on all the parks.

And at Knott's, you got guests and employees that are clueless as to the existence of the other Cedar Fair parks period. (minus...CP) A lot of guests I talked to don't even know Knott's is connected to Great America in the same state, but will remember it as Paramount.

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16 hours ago, Kenban said:

I think his point of a lack of name recognition and a branding problem is a good one.  I do not want the parks renamed and am not a fan of how Six Flags names their parks.  But the lack of cross promotion between parks and especially Kings Island and Cedar Point seems crazy to me.  I do not mean ads which show both although that does make sense to me, but where are the signs in the park that advertise if you upgrade to a platinum pass you also get admission to more parks.

The number of times I have spoken with guests at Kings Island while in line that have no clue Cedar Point is the same company and that you can buy a season pass to both is crazy.  Maybe a map of the country with all the parks highlighted, with something like “Upgrade to a Platinum Pass to experience 13 great parks”, plus have some fold out brochures which give some basic details on all the parks.

Thats a great idea. My home park is Canada's Wonderland and any one I talk has no idea that its owned by Cedar Fair. I have always said they do a poor job advertising the Platinum passes. Wonderland only advertises a regular season pass. 

As far as people saying the cost for a season pass is too much, it is if you pay all at once. Now that they offer a 12 month payment plan they have made it so almost anyone can afford it. For a platinum pass its only $15 a month. Thats cheap and something Cedar Fair should advertise more. I am sure if more people knew Cedar Point is included with a platinum pass they would buy it. 

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