Gold Passes Are The Fall Guy?

Thursday, September 30, 2021 6:38 AM
djDaemon's avatar

Well sure, it's not as if the strategy of "pack as many warm bodies into the park, all else be damned" is novel. It's the strategy the park used in the past, when it wasn't nearly the impressive product, comparatively speaking, it is today.

The risk with the strategy of slowly increasing the Gold Pass price in an attempt to convert single day/weekend travelers is that they may be chasing after more price-sensitive customers while chasing away less price-sensitive customers. It's certainly not the strategy I would choose if I had a premium, desirable product.


Brandon

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Thursday, September 30, 2021 10:53 AM
Jeff's avatar

I think you're on to what I think the problem is, that the strategy isn't really considering price sensitivity at all. On one hand, how much are going to get out of people who will only show up if they could get in cheap? On the other, what are you leaving on the table for those who don't care about the cost? Admittedly, I'm in the latter category, but it doesn't mean that I'm not conscious of value at any cost. If a cheap experience feels cheap, it's not valuable. If an expensive experience doesn't feel expensive, it's not valuable.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Thursday, September 30, 2021 5:04 PM
Sollybeast's avatar

As a gold pass holder, let me just say that I would go anyway- however, having one gives me the opportunity to go *more* if I choose, since I just need to pay for a hotel and not admission (unless I go on a day trip, possible now that I have a car that isn't in danger of biting the dust at any possible second.) I'm happy with it, and I'm very glad to have it. I won't be going enough to clog up the park for everyone else, I'm not 'trashy', and me going more often than I would be able to afford previously means me buying more drink passes and fried cheese, which is more money in the park's pocket. (Plus, busier days = more fastlane buyers = even more money CP's way.)

I realize I may not be representative of all gold passholders. I just know that it kind of hurts to hear all this trash talk about 'those gold pass holders', like I'm part of some sort of problem because I'm finally able to have a pass I can afford. :(


Proud 5th Liner and CP fan since 1986.

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Thursday, September 30, 2021 7:01 PM
jimmyburke's avatar

Sollybeast, very well stated. It just goes to show that sometimes in life we should pause and look at things through the lens of others rather than just our own perspective. I am glad you have benefited from your choice of Gold Pass as have many others.

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Friday, October 1, 2021 11:31 AM

My only complaint is that Cedar fair seems to heading toward the Six Flags model of "giving away the gate" by having lower priced admission, especially season passes, and then cramming as many people into the park as they can to reap the benefits of higher sales food, concessions, game, photos, and merchandise sales. It also drives up the demand and price for FastLane. Those are high profit items and that's what they're after.

Side note: If I didn't visit multiple Cedar fair parks each year I'd opt for the Gold Pass too. For me, Platinum makes more sense. Otherwise, we're all there with the goal of having a good time. However, at some point the fun factor may be gone if there are too many people in the park, too long of lines, and too many people with FastLane.

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Friday, October 1, 2021 1:16 PM
djDaemon's avatar

Sollybeast said:

As a gold pass holder, let me just say that I would go anyway- however, having one gives me the opportunity to go *more* if I choose...

I won't be going enough to clog up the park for everyone else...

The criticism is certainly not meant to be personal, and I don't think anyone has implied the park will be overrun with "trashy" people. But as you note above, you will be going more than you otherwise would have, and you're not alone, which necessarily means the park will be more crowded as a result. That means fewer rides/guest, longer food lines, and so on.

And it means those paying premium to stay on property will get a diluted product, which will chase some of those guests away.

It boils down to the park apparently going after volume at the expense of margin. Sort of like choosing to cell TracFones instead of iPhones. It's certainly not the strategy I would choose.


Brandon

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Friday, October 1, 2021 3:15 PM

I feel like the biggest confounder in the arguments I've seen regarding inferior service/longer waits etc. versus years past is the persistent staffing issues since the pandemic has been a thing. I still haven't been able to go to the park this year so I admit I don't have the firsthand experience, but I've been under the impression they've gone the entire season still not quite where they'd like to be staffing-wise.

I know it's ultimately a would've could've kind of thought exercise, but keeping in mind that the Gold Pass was a thing long before the pandemic exploded like a thing, I have to wonder if the perceived inferior product secondary to supposed Gold Pass-induced overcrowding is just a combination of the continued disruption to usual staffing practices as well as just people being more inclined to go out anyway after everything that's been going on. I imagine the shortened operating season hasn't helped either.

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Friday, October 1, 2021 3:51 PM

Unfortunately that's not the case because many of the complaints about this on here originate from Halloweekends 2019 when the GP was first launched. This was pre-pandemic and before pandemic related staffing was a problem. The park became so crowed that for the first time in history people were actually being turned away.

Is the GP the sole reason? Not at all. That whole Halloweekend season had unusually favorable weather every weekend. However, selling a pass for $99 that gave the rest of that season (including parking) and the entire next definitely contributed.

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Friday, October 1, 2021 5:45 PM

Staffing has sucked for a long time at the beginning and end of the season. Pandemic aside, I think by mid summer the staffing levels were enough to make it not as noticeable to the general public.

I will say, I’m eager to learn how many people took advantage of the $99 Gold Pass deal this year for the month it was available vs. when it was $99 for an entire year and a half. They really did give away the gate in 2019 for Halloweekends when they first introduced it.

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Friday, October 1, 2021 10:07 PM
Jeff's avatar

Sollybeast said:

I realize I may not be representative of all gold passholders. I just know that it kind of hurts to hear all this trash talk about 'those gold pass holders', like I'm part of some sort of problem because I'm finally able to have a pass I can afford. :(

What trash talk is that? I don't see anyone assigning blame to passholders. Passholders didn't set the prices or by extension create a situation that may detract from the quality of the product.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Friday, October 1, 2021 11:13 PM

Not to mention, you don’t owe it to anybody to explain yourself. Once you’re through the gate, you don’t need to let anybody know you’re a Gold Pass holder because it’s not their business. I personally opted for the Gold Pass for 2020/2021 because I knew I wouldn’t be traveling much to other CF parks and platinum wasn’t worth it to me. Who cares what others have said. Is Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores worth more than just $99 for a season, absolutely. But like Jeff said, passholders didn’t set the price.

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Sunday, October 3, 2021 3:42 PM
Sollybeast's avatar

Jeff said:

What trash talk is that? I don't see anyone assigning blame to passholders. Passholders didn't set the prices or by extension create a situation that may detract from the quality of the product.


Maybe not now, no. I do remember that when gold passes were first introduced there was some pretty ugly to the point of borderline classist comments from some about the 'quality' of people that were likely to buy it, vitriol that remained especially with the 2019 Halloweekends debacle.Probably just me being holdover-annoyed at that, worried that some objectors still carry this stance. Then again, I might just be paranoid. :P

Last edited by Sollybeast, Sunday, October 3, 2021 3:43 PM

Proud 5th Liner and CP fan since 1986.

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Monday, October 4, 2021 10:16 AM
Jeff's avatar

I don't think having a lower barrier to entry resulting in more troublemakers is classist, it's just reality. Someone with ill intent has little at stake in an open, public place that costs nothing to enter. On the opposite end, you don't want to get thrown out of a venue you paid a lot of money to get into. There's a spectrum of possible intent in-between, and I don't think the ability to pay has anything to do with it.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

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Monday, October 4, 2021 1:11 PM

I mentioned Six Flags Darien Lake offering season pass renewals for $39.99… How about Six Flags Great Adventure offering renewals for $49.99?!? The race to the bottom is heating up!


ROUNDABOUND.

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Monday, October 4, 2021 1:27 PM
Dvo's avatar

Six Flags Great America is also offering renewals for $49.99 for returning pass holders. However, they're changing their structure. Six Flags Gold Passes get you into the parks across the chain today, but starting next year they will only work at the park where you get the pass. For access to other parks in the chain, a membership is required.

But yes, with that said, $50 is honestly insanely cheap for an entire season at the park. Especially a park that serves both the Chicago and Milwaukee markets, and has never had any issue drawing crowds.


374 MF laps
Smoking Area Drone Pilot

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Monday, October 4, 2021 1:46 PM

Right, same with Darien Lake or SFGrAdv, those passes are just for the one park. Kinda like the Cedar Point Gold Pass is just for Cedar Point. Well I guess it’s also valid for CP Shores too.


ROUNDABOUND.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021 10:57 AM

TwistedWicker77 said:

Staffing has sucked for a long time at the beginning and end of the season. Pandemic aside, I think by mid summer the staffing levels were enough to make it not as noticeable to the general public.

I will say, I’m eager to learn how many people took advantage of the $99 Gold Pass deal this year for the month it was available vs. when it was $99 for an entire year and a half. They really did give away the gate in 2019 for Halloweekends when they first introduced it.

Didn't they run the same deal at the same time in 2019? This year it was $99 until Labor Day and good for the rest of the year.

In all fairness, people were able to buy the platinum pass in 2019 for around $180 and it ended up being good for nearly 2.5 years (approx $75/yr). I don't think they should have gotten 2021, either, unless they never used the 2019 pass, at all in 2020. To me, they are just as much to blame for crowd sizes.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021 2:13 PM

1)Platinum passes were not $180 in Fall 2019(good for 2020 season)....renewals were $191 & new passes, the reference point for your statement were $197.

2)No passes were not actually good for 2.5yrs as parks were closed. limited hours in 2020 & many people didn't want to go b/c there was no vaccine yet.

3)Every chain & park that offered passes extended those bought for 2020 season thru 2021.

4)You keep referencing 2019 passes, when you should be referencing 2020 season pass. If you actually had a 2019 pass you got no extension unless you renewed & bought a 2020 pass.

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Thursday, October 14, 2021 2:22 PM

OOOOOO $17 makes all of the difference. Thank you for clearing that up....

Anyways, my point is that those who bought the 2020 Gold pass and Platinum pass in August of 2019 got way more than they paid for while those buying last year or this year got less, so, technically, anyone who bought passes before labor day of 2019 made things worse than those who bought later. Especially for those who bought 2021 passes.

Last edited by Zoug68, Thursday, October 14, 2021 2:23 PM
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Thursday, October 14, 2021 2:32 PM
djDaemon's avatar

There was no 2019 Gold Pass. Perhaps you're referring to those who purchased 2020 Gold Passes being able to use them the remainder of 2019, but it's kind of confusing to follow what you're saying.

In any case, I think you're focusing too much on the crowd level aspect of the concern over the park's devaluation of the gate. It's not just that it'll be more crowded. It is, among other things, that they're decimating the value proposition of the entire property, including and perhaps especially the resorts, even if the parks are no more crowded now than they were in 2019.


Brandon

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