So a lack of marketing, preparation, knowing the industry, knowing the customers, and arogance seem to be the culprits here.
The only thing really missing from the park was the people. If anyone has ever been to a park on a "dead" day, you know what I mean...although I think that this particular day (which happened to be the last day they were open) was the quintessential definition of dead. A couple of employees told me that the count was under 1000 for the day. Of course it was mid-fall and the big season was pretty much over with, but..ouch.
When people talk about this place, it's almost like they forget that it's a new park. Disney World was lacking when it first opened, but with time, look what it became. While it's highly unlikely that Hard Rock would have grown into the entity that Disney World is, they would have likely added more with a little time and money. I hope that PARC, or someone else finds a way to open back up. The fact that the minimum bid wasn't met for the auction simply astounds me. Obviously the economy is scaring everyone away, but even in these conditions (which will pass), 35 million for HRP is bargain basement pricing, and most companies worth their salt could make profit with that kind of debt in that market.
People are scared of the economy, scared so much that they are blind to the fact that it will pass. Any good businessman will tell you that this isn't the time to panic and sell, it's the time to buy.
Would I have gone in 2009? Given the fact that I go to MB pretty much every year anyway, the answer is absolutely. The park was entertaining and fun. I would spend more money there too if the prices were a little more friendly.
Any investors out there interested in something that isn't a ponzi scheme?
Suffice it to say, HRP in some form may not be dead (albeit only a few beats left perhaps).
I'd love to the that Zeppelin roller coaster. However, many times one's vision outweighs their pocket books or their smarts/ability to make the dream a reality. This seems to be the case of these developers...
If near the area for another reason, possibly a side trip but would not have made plans specifically to travel to that area.
I was there the last day too, Derek! So I guess you were that other guy in the park!
But the numbers do suggest to me that what HRP had here, in terms of attracting visitors, was not a marketing problem.
We've got a site of theme park fans here, the base of any theme park's market. And, even after looking at extensive information about the park, about 60 percent of the people in this vote would not strongly consider a visit to Hard Rock Park. And about 40 percent would not consider a trip at all.
That ain't good for HRP.
Indeed, a smaller percentage of respondents said that'd definitely visit in 2009 than said they did visit in 2008, when attendance was anemic.
That ain't good, either.
Given that we did not uncover a high percentage of theme park fans who said that they'd visit, once they'd heard about it, that leads me to believe that HRP's biggest problems with theme park fans lay elsewhere - with location, site and attraction line-up.
Without the hard-core fans, HRP is left to appeal to casual fans. But in the Internet era, the decisions of casual visitors often is determining by word-of-mouth generated by hard-core fans. With no buzz, no passionate fan base, a mediocre location and a lousy site, a so-so attraction line-up won't bring in enough visitors.
I just don't see a business case for this park anymore. So the question becomes... which park will buy the Led Zeppelin coaster for the 2010 season?
Not a lot of rides? Of course there were not. There are 2 simple reasons for this. 1) It's a THEME park and 2) It just opened up from scratch. With the all the start up costs, there could not have been enough money to make it into a Cedar Point, Dollywood, or Disney.
Not Disney or Universal scale? Of course it was not. How long have those parks been around? They have had time to establish themselves.
All of these have been reasons I have heard why Hard Rock Park failed. It is pathetic how so many people are quick to jump on the place and say how bad it is when there are logical reasons why it did not live up to what it was. Unlike many people, I am sad to see that it ended this way. Hard Rock Park had a ton of potential. Too bad we will never be able to see what it could be.
Frankly, at this point, if you wanted to open a new theme park in the U.S., you need to either do it either in a location that has a critical mass of existing parks (i.e. SoCal or Central Florida), or in a metro area of at least two million people, with a major airport, access via multiple Interstates and some established tourism.
Myrtle Beach fails on both options.
Robert I just can't agree totally with your logic on this one. It makes zero sense to open a park in Florida or SoCal unless you already are established in the area and are expanding. Land prices are too high, the market is saturated with parks that are owned by multibillion dollar conglomerates and have the deepest of pockets. There are several operations in the US that prove that a park doesn't have to be in a large metro area to be successful. Why doesn't it make sense to go to a huge family tourist market that has not been tapped by a park of any real size? A park in the middle of 15 million tourists is not doomed to fail by any stretch of the imagination, as long as the park has a solid business plan and knows it's market.
Judging by what I have read, not just on this site but numerous others, what really hurt HRP was the negativity it was receiving for all the reasons I mentioned in my previous post. If it were open in 2009, I would make another trip there.
HRP sounds like a place that never really had that much of a chance in the first place. It would have been interesting to visit there. Mainly because I am a big fan of the Moody Blues and was curious as to how they would treat Knights in White Satin. I was actually making plans to visit there when i was driving back up from working in Orlando (Disney College Program FTW). But the location was just too far out of the way and the gas prices had not come down yet.
I've been to Myrtle Beach before, it is a nice area. Remember going to Myrtle Waves and catching some nice swells in the ocean. But our family never made a consistent effort to go there when Ocean City, Va. Beach and the Outer Banks are just so much closer. Myrtle Beach itself is just not really a magnet for most tourists when you have so many beaches in the Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina area. This is probably a contributing factor for most on the East Coast in that area. South Carolina is too far away from Fl, Va, Md and even N.C. with beaches so close to them. When someone goes to a beach they usually just go to... a beach. A family vacationing at a beach wants to relax, not wait in line at theme parks.
When a family wants to wait in line for a theme park; they go to the biggins; Knotts, Disney, Universal, Busch(for the time being). Anyway, i would have liked to have gone, but with the economy the way it is it would have been very unlikely. My two cents.
...Myrtle Beach is in NE South Carolina, and ONLY attracts (on average) 14 million tourists per year.
I have it upon good authority (I live here and had several friends who worked for the park) that the shot-callers hired theme park personnel with all kinds of experience in their various capacities, and basically, didn't listen to 'em when they (almost all of 'em) warned them of the pending problems the parked faced BEFORE it opened.
Thos problems included....
1. Not enough to keep the average family of 4 busy enough to stay in the park more than 2-4 hours, tops. Who goes to your average Six Flags theme park and leaves after only 2-4 hours? I was told (again, by someone who knows their stuff in this capacity) that another $10 million in "shelf" rides would've filled the park out quite nicely and made the place worthwhile to that average family.
2. There wasn't NEARLY enough marketing done to promote this park. They shot their wad on the "theme" of the park, and had precious little to fill it out or market it. GREAT example... my mother has a co-worker in Augusta, Georgia who's family owns a timeshare in Myrtle Beach - we're only talking a four hour drive - and she knew NOTHING about HRP. How do you not market in Columbia, SC, Charleston, SC, Greenville/Spartanburg, SC, Wilmington, NC, Charlotte, NC, Savannah, Ga and Augusta, Ga??
3. Lack of finances ALSO led to a pathetic entertainment lineup. Those of you who rebutt those of us who complain about lack of rides with that weak "it's a THEME park not a RIDE park" line... you lose your argument when you see that the Hard ROCK Park had VERY few well-known acts booked in their inaugural (and only) season. They opened with their "grand opening" events with the Eagles, Moody Blues, etc., but they passed on the VANS Warped Tour (per a reliable source) and went on to only book a handful of name acts (Kid Rock, One Republic [who no-showed and were replaced with Bowling for Soup,] George Clinton and P-Funk, and Charlie Daniels and .38 Special [combo-show]. The Hard ROCK Park had less than five BIG shows outside their grand opening weekend over the course of their first (and only) season. Where's the "theme" in that?
I wish I knew people who had the $$$ for the minimum bid, and another $10-15 million to fill the park w/some of those "shelfed" rides and enough to market the joint, because I don't think the park's such a disaster that it wouldn't flourish if run and marketed properly.
Unfortunately, it never was, from the get-go.
And I have heard...just a rumor mind you...that if you spend more than 2 - 4 hours at the cesspool that is Six Flags Saint Louis, you receive a mandatory tetanus shot as you leave... ;)