Knott's Berry Farm announces installment pay plan -- for hotel rooms

March 17, 2013, 4:01 PM · This is a first -- at least, it's not something I've encountered before. Plenty of theme parks have introduced installment plans for buying theme park passes. But Knott's Berry Farm has introduced an installment plan to pay for a hotel room.

Knott's Hotel room
Photo courtesy Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm's Easy Pay Program is, in essence, a layaway program for stays at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel, in that you must complete your four payments before the beginning of your hotel stay. Given that many hotel stays are not paid in advance, one could just set aside a certain amount of money each month before a trip, and get the same result. But Knott's plan might help the theme park ensure that would-be visitors don't change their mind and decide to spend their "saved" money on something else. (Knott's FAQ promises "no cancellation fees" on reservations cancelled more than 72 hours before arrival.)

Have you seen an advance payment or layaway program like this for hotels before? Would you consider using it?

Update: From the comments, it appears that Cedar Point (Knott's sister park) is offering the same deal at its hotels.

Replies (7)

March 17, 2013 at 5:38 PM · It seems Cedar Point is also adopting this program.
March 17, 2013 at 6:31 PM · A lot of hotels I've stayed in will charge the first night upon making the reservation, with the rest due at check-in. I could see someone wanting to spread out their payments for a hotel stay (plus the tickets--you can buy them together as a package, according to Knott's website) and using this installment payment plan.

I don't think I would use this for staying at this hotel-- we live just an hour away from Knott's. But I could see using a payment plan for a bigger trip or a cruise. I think I'm just used to using a credit card for most kinds of travel expenses.

March 17, 2013 at 7:11 PM · I understand advance payment, when it gives you the opportunity to book a lower rate, or a high-demand period, or preferred rooms. What I don't get is the benefit of this program, since it doesn't seem to deliver any lower rate or preferred benefit. Perhaps if you're the type of person who needs the external discipline to set aside money for a vacation? (And that, BTW, is *far* preferable to charging the room and paying it off, with interest, after the trip.)
March 18, 2013 at 5:43 AM · Here's another example:

This model seems to be catching on.

March 18, 2013 at 6:22 AM · I could see the advantage for a special activity like a TPR West Coast Bash or such or possibly high season.
March 18, 2013 at 8:03 AM · This will help those who can’t save the opportunity to set a financial goal and then enjoy the benefits of it…

This is also a great business decision by the corporation. They will have your monies in an account getting some extra interest until you use the room. Plus once you pay for it, you are committed to going to their park for a vacation. No changing your mind… I bet they have a policy of not giving you your money back, probably just give you a credit it the hotel if you change your mind.
Anyone read the policy for cancelation after payment? I am wondering…

March 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM · This really doesn't make that much sense. I could see Disney or perhaps Universal offering a program like this, but for parks that likely wouldn't see guests for more than 2 or 3 consecutive days, it doesn't seem useful. I don't want to sound crass, but if you can't put money aside on your own to pay when you arrive for your first night's stay, then perhaps you shouldn't be booking hotel rooms.

All this does is put money that you could set aside in a bank or other investment in Cedar Fair's hands. Why would anyone do that, and if there's no perceived benefit (lower rate, upgraded accomodations, or frequently sold out property), why does Cedar Fair think anyone would do this? Are people really that dumb with their money that they would fall for this gimmick?

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