Why did some theme parks succeed this year, while so many others failed?
Holiday World spokesperson Paula Werne revealed in a Blog Flume comment
today that the Southern Indiana park set an attendance record this year, despite the weak economy that depressed attendance at most parks around the country.
Santa Claus with TPI's Laurie Niles, at Holiday World this summer
We already knew that Disneyland also saw an attendance increase this year, fueled in large part by free birthday admissions and other promotions. SeaWorld also announced this week that its Orlando park had a "very, very strong performance" due to the debut of its Theme Park Insider Award-winning Manta roller coaster and aquarium.
Which got me thinking, how did these three parks manage to increase attendance when so many others welcomed fewer visitors this year? What do these three parks have in common?
Why, of course: They all were on this year's Theme Park Insider Summer Roadtrip!
Nah, that couldn't be mere coincidence. Obviously, the simple inclusion of these parks on the roadtrip itinerary pushed them to succeed while the rest of the industry failed. Therefore, theme parks are now welcomed to e-mail me their bids to be included in my 2010 roadtrip, as a hedge against what looks like another lousy year for the economy.
(I would suggest taking a moment now to wipe the dripping sarcasm from your computer screen.)
I'm sure that TPI readers have, uh, better theories on why some parks did well this year, as others tanked. Let's hear 'em in the comments.
I think there's varying reasons why certain parks saw high attendance whilst other parks, well, didn't.
I think I would have to agree. It was the marketing strategies that drove much of the industry this year. While the regonal theme parks benifited by the very nature of a down economy (as stated above), destination parks suffered. This is why the "big boys" and particularly Disney had to come up with something pretty good to get reluctent penny pinching tourists into the tunstiles. And love them or hate them (i happen to be of the first group) Disney has this one figgured out. While Disneyland has the destinct privilage of being both a regonal and destination resort, this is not the case for it's MUCH larger brother in Florida. Disney World has to draw in out-of-towners in order to survive. But in this dDisney has figgured something out. Once you get them on property, the wallets open up. This is esspesially true when they feel like they got a great deal on the hotel, or free admission to the park. Sure, Disney is taking a small hit to the profit margin on the hotels and park admission, but I would bet the house that the loss is more than covered by the additional spending on resteraunts, shops, services, ect of a tourist that they otherwise would not have. Esspecially one almost certin to spend his entire trip on property)
Holiday World's success is fairly simple. It's a good deal. Parking...free, Drinks...free, water park...free service...top notch. Add to that three of the best wooden coasters in the country and a chill atmosphere. Disney's marketing and discounting helped their cause. Sea World had a good year on the shoulders of surprise surprise...a good new roller coaster. I'll be curious to see Cedar Fair's numbers when they announce them at the end of the year. A lot of their parks are located in places with down economies, but there were some big new rides opened.
I believe the reason behind it all is that because of the downing economy, people are making choices and the ones with the new big rides are pushed up the list while the others tend to lag behind.
I would say not alot of competition around those parks (OK, Disneyland does, but, its DISNEYLAND!).
Yes, Holiday World is a regional park, but people go because the staff is fabulous, the park is spotless, and the ticket prices are reasonable for the value received.
I think the real reason was touched on above.
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