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Cedar Fair attendance down 3% through July 4th


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To be clear, the cost of a season pass is the same whether you buy it in one lump sum payment or spread out the payments.  Yes, it will not eat into a family`s monthly budget during one month as much if you go with the payments every month, but you are still paying the same amount. If the payment plans lead to increased pass sales then it is worth it.

I too am glad that Cedar Fair hasn`t slapped the Cedar Fair name all over the parks, but perhaps they should start introducing the name somewhat, so that there is some cross promotion.  I also agree that they do not market the platinum pass as much as a gold pass.

 

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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.

We all saw this coming. Extended Gold Pass through July 4th was unheard of. Adding BAF cheap days is always a go-to for them. In their defense, the entire industry is down. 3% thou

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 p

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They do up at CP as they don’t have a Gold Pass, so no free parking, no waterpark,  no early entry, no ERT ride nights with the regular Season Pass.  Those restrictions really limit the appeal of a regular SP.  In fact I don’t recall ever seeing any regular SP adverts up there, it is all about Platinum.  

Cedar Fair’s Canada’s Wonderland just doesn’t work does it? ;)

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Cedar Fair Reports Record Revenue in August

http://ir.cedarfair.com/newsroom/press-releases/news-release-details/2018/Cedar-Fair-Reports-Record-Revenues-In-August/default.aspx

I am sure some may take issue with the statement that they maintained integrity in their pricing structure, but is seems to have worked at least in the short term.

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New Attractions and Rides are a mere band aid for the root problem that Kings Island and other CF parks face.

Poor Customer Service, low quality dining and lacking entertainment continue to be major issues that are neglected every year.  Especially at Kings Island.  

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2 hours ago, King Ding Dong said:

Cedar Fair Reports Record Revenue in August

http://ir.cedarfair.com/newsroom/press-releases/news-release-details/2018/Cedar-Fair-Reports-Record-Revenues-In-August/default.aspx

I am sure some may take issue with the statement that they maintained integrity in their pricing structure, but is seems to have worked at least in the short term.

Attendance will always go up if you give away the gate. They made some money in August but at a very high cost to the over all business.

Zimmerman:

“Over the past five weeks we have experienced strong growth across all aspects of our business, reaffirming our confidence in the resiliency of our business model “

If calling almost every future sales plan as an audible, offering incentives that are unprecedented under the Cedar Fair, and blanket company-wide discounts are your business model then it makes you wonder if “business model” and “contingency plan” mean the same thing to them.

Also, August was VERY hot - not unlike June and July. Clearly weather was not the  only contributing factor with the attendance decline for the first half of FY18. 

I am sure they are patting themelsves on the back for these short term results, but pricing integrity, true value, quality of patrons, and much were exchanged for this. 

The remainder of this year as well as next year will be very interesting.

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All things considered, I'll throw this out there:  I brought my elderly parents to KI for the first time since 2011.  The bring a friend tickets played a roll in this because they can't do many rides (they did the Eiffel Tower, Boo Blasters and the train.)  I also brought, on a different day, a friend from first grade.  She had not been since 2009.  She can ride everything and we had a blast.

Besides the money they spent in the park (meals, ice cream and Sweet Shoppe items), both my parents and my high school friend plan to visit again next year.  My parents are looking forward to KMAA and my friend just might be a budding enthusiast after a terrific experience.

FTR:  my parents and friend are not low brow surly folks.  While the gate giving surely did attract these types, I believe it did attract some quality folks too.

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Is attendance down because folks are busy working? Just throwing it out there. Unemployment rate keeps dropping. Folks are busy. Busy working. My family visits are down this year, but it's because of work. I'm guessing we are not alone. There's many variables at play, for sure. Work is one of them, though.

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We're just one family, but we've been to KI plenty this year mainly because the kids are getting to the point where it's not a total pain to take them. Also, Cedar Point's amazing collection of coasters made me go up there for the 1st time in 9 years. 

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This is where the concern lies: 

Per capita spending is a measure of how much, on average, a guest spends inside the park (in-park per capita, out-of-park is obviously something else). 

Internally, the measure season pass per capita (which is sometimes less than $1 for various departments) and non-season pass per capita.  Non-season pass per capita is targeting people who don't regularly visit.  Once or twice a year-ers.  

So the question I post is this: if they are making strong pushes to put season passes into the hands of those who either have never had a pass, or haven't had one in years.  If they are given an entitlement of the rest of the 2018 season, wouldn't their spending theoretically be more in line with non-season pass?  Does the measly 1% increase in per capita show that they are fishing out of some of the wrong ponds?  

I do not want anyone to think that I am cheering against them.  It's simply a thought process I'm sharing with you.  Remember when Cedar Fair wins people like us typically win too.  Don't fall into the trap of "if we do well we will get a giga!" because that's just not the way it works.  However you all saw the effects of minimal staffing during the past several weeks and I really think the Skeleton Key removal has everything to do with it too.  It sucks for both sides of the table.  

Here's to a dry October and a warm December!  With what may end up being an enlarged season pass base its quite possible that 2019 may shape up to be a very strong year.  Let's hope it does.

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17 hours ago, BoddaH1994 said:

If they are given an entitlement of the rest of the 2018 season, wouldn't their spending theoretically be more in line with non-season pass? 

Doesn't that assume that purchasing decisions will stay the same once they become pass-holders? If it is more of a routine, and less of a special occasion, your in-park spending will likely go down. When I go to KI with he kids, we bring our own meals and allow them one treat per visit. When I went to CP with my wife, we bought 2 meals, ice cream, and beer because it was a special trip. Still, over the course of the year we will have spent more at KI due to multiple visits. Even if per capita spending goes down once you become a passholder, it's still preferable to have more passholders.

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10 hours ago, HandsUp said:

Doesn't that assume that purchasing decisions will stay the same once they become pass-holders? If it is more of a routine, and less of a special occasion, your in-park spending will likely go down. When I go to KI with he kids, we bring our own meals and allow them one treat per visit. When I went to CP with my wife, we bought 2 meals, ice cream, and beer because it was a special trip. Still, over the course of the year we will have spent more at KI due to multiple visits. Even if per capita spending goes down once you become a passholder, it's still preferable to have more passholders.

What I am assuming is that the purchasing decisions of someone who bought a pass for the first time ever, or at least for the first time in years, will be far more similar to a ticket holder than a season pass holder.  At least for the first few visits. 

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Possible.  Or they could be cheap *******s like me.  My first year as a Passholder I spent nothing beyond ice cream for the kids every 2-3 visits.  I have actually been a bit more lax recently and actually allowed my kids to purchase Steel Vengeance shirts and they usually get some sort of treat each visit. 

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A new article about boosting attendance in 2019.

https://www.toledoblade.com/business/Stock-Market/2018/10/04/Cedar-Fair-unveils-plan-to-increase-its-revenue/stories/20181004148

The last part of the article was most intriguing to me.

A new trend in attractions is the use of virtual reality with rides, but Mr. Zimmerman said the company has tried that and found it wanting.

“We did put it on two different coasters. Operationally, it was very cumbersome,” the CEO said. Worse, it didn’t attract additional consumer demographic groups and it required more employees.

So rather than continue with virtual reality, Mr. Zimmerman said Cedar Fair plans to experiment more with augmented reality — adding digital elements to a live setting. An example would be the popular Pokemon Gogame where virtual characters are seen while looking through a phone.

“Augmented reality has a much lower cost point,” the CEO said. “We will play with that more than with virtual reality at this point.”

 

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47 minutes ago, IndyGuy4KI said:

A new article about boosting attendance in 2019.

https://www.toledoblade.com/business/Stock-Market/2018/10/04/Cedar-Fair-unveils-plan-to-increase-its-revenue/stories/20181004148

The last part of the article was most intriguing to me.

A new trend in attractions is the use of virtual reality with rides, but Mr. Zimmerman said the company has tried that and found it wanting.

“We did put it on two different coasters. Operationally, it was very cumbersome,” the CEO said. Worse, it didn’t attract additional consumer demographic groups and it required more employees.

So rather than continue with virtual reality, Mr. Zimmerman said Cedar Fair plans to experiment more with augmented reality — adding digital elements to a live setting. An example would be the popular Pokemon Gogame where virtual characters are seen while looking through a phone.

“Augmented reality has a much lower cost point,” the CEO said. “We will play with that more than with virtual reality at this point.”

 

See also:

”We’ve been able to take the impact out by managing hours and becoming more efficient, look for ways to retool our business model,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

Translation: wages went up but budgets did not. Attempting to do more with less people.

 

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Anyone think the focus on seasonal events is due to the number of individuals who are season passholders rather than buying day tickets for the park? I think it's been said on here that KI specifically has a large season passholder base, but I wonder if that's true for any of the other Cedar Fair parks. However, I do think the emphasis on seasonal events will increase attendance, if only because people don't want to miss out on what's going on.

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See also they Skyline Chili self ordering kiosks.  That enables them to have the kiosk order the food, and reduce the number of cashiers that they have to pay.

Kind of surprised that they haven`t developed a front gate system similar to the self scan parking system.  I know about five years ago they briefly experimented with this, but it quickly and quietly went away just as soon as it had appeared.

That missing out on an event is often what Cedar Fair has referred to as creating a sense of urgency.  Ie, compelling the guests, whether pass holders or not, that they need to visit or they will be missing out on something.  (Based on my two visits to Haunt on Friday nights so far, people are coming out like crazy for Haunt, granted the weather has been insanely warm).

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Could there possibly be low attendance due to the lack of new coasters going to their subordinate parks? Dorney Park, World's of Fun, Valley Fair!, and Michigan's Adventure haven't received new coasters in nearly a decade. Maybe there's not as big of an ROI as there is with the superior parks like KI, CP, CW, & CWS, but I feel like not adding new coasters is hurting their attendance in some form or another. 

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I think that does hurt attendance. Not only just coasters but new rides in general. Dorney got nothing in 2016, 2018 and 2019 (and both 2017 rides replaced rides that were removed so no rides were gained). I don't think Michigan's Adventure has gotten any kind of ride additions recently either. And in Dorney's case, they have their main competitors adding coasters every 4 - 5 years and some kind of new ride almost every year that coasters aren't added.

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But clearly, if those parks needed a new addition to drive attendance, then Cedar Fair would have installed something.  The way I understand it, is Michigan`s Adventure hasn`t added much, because they simply haven`t needed to.  The park brings in a lot of people and from what I have heard, has one of the higher margins of the parks in the chain.  Ie, they don`t need to sink a lot of money into the park for what they make there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

They almost always do that every season at the end of the season, regardless of how well the passes/attendance have been.

I believe that they are scheduled (Cedar Fair) to release third quarter numbers tomorrow.  Will be interesting to see how things shake out.  All the times I visited Haunt this year (Fridays) the park seemed really busy.

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1 hour ago, King Ding Dong said:

@BoddaH1994 Awaiting your analysis.  :P

So is “Surprise. Surprise!”  Supposed to be scarcasm?  

 

13D908D7-65C2-4C25-B1CB-91CA0CC96960.png

I literally just sent my business partner that same screen shot with that same caption.

But yeah, this is every year. I guess it’s always in the plan and they market it the way they do for a sense of urgency.

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