Cedar Fair this morning reported record-setting attendance across the chain last year, with in-park guest spending and overall revenue up, as well.
Strong attendance at Halloween and holiday events helped push Cedar Fair's attendance up one percent for the year, to 25.9 million guests, according to the company's annual report. In-park per capita guest spending was also up one percent, to $47.69. Overall revenue was up two percent to $1.35 billion, but Cedar Fair's operating income dropped two percent, to $291 million.
The regional amusement park chain blamed higher operating costs, led by increased pay for employees, for the decline in operating income. Cedar Fair also noted that overall attendance at its parks had been lower than expected in the spring and summer before rebounding during the late summer and fall.
From a fan's perspective, highlights for the chain in 2018 included the opening of the two-time Theme Park Insider Award-winning Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point, as well as the opening of the HangTime dive coaster at Knott's Berry Farm, which this year cracked the U.S. top 10 in the TEA/AECOM Theme Index industry attendance report — making it the most-attended park in the country outside the Disney and Universal chains.
Looking ahead, Cedar Fair said that it is targeting a four percent compound annual growth rate in its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization [which accountants call EBITDA] over the next five years.
"As we look to the future, we remain committed to providing a compelling entertainment experience throughout the year for guests of all ages and we are confident we will entertain a record number of visitors again in 2019," Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman said in the company's statement.
"The FUNdamentals [that's a namecheck of the Cedar Fair's stock symbol, which is FUN - Ed.] of our strategy are to broaden the guest experience through immersive new entertainment offerings that create urgency to visit our parks throughout the year; expand our season pass platform into a long-term relationship-based program to increase lifetime value for, and from, our guests; increase market penetration, particularly among the most attractive and growing audience segments within our markets; and pursue value-enhancing development opportunities adjacent to our parks. These initiatives will help us to achieve our new long-term Adjusted EBITDA goal of $575 million by 2023, and serve as the foundation for future growth well beyond the next five years.”
Here's a look back at our on-ride POV videos from Cedar Fair's new rides in 2018:Tweet
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