Six Flags to raise prices after parks become "daycare for teenagers"
Executives at Six Flags say the recreational chain intends to raise prices after its amusement parks became "daycare for teenagers."
The affirmation was made on a conference call with investors following Six Flags' quarterly earnings report, which was released on Tuesday.
During the call, newly-minted Six Flags Chief Executive Officer Selim Bassoul said the company's history of targeting repeat patrons through deep discounts on admission drew "rowdy" attendants that made its amusements parks "a daycare center for teenagers."
"People did not have a good experience," Bassoul admitted, according to a transcript of the call reviewed by Solano NewsNet.
Over the last several months, Six Flags has shifted its marketing strategy in an attempt to attract wealthier, more-affluent patrons who might be willing to pay higher prices for a better experience.
"We're going to, what I call, more affluent neighborhoods where we would like to bring people from those neighborhoods to come to our park who have not been targeted before," Bassoul said.
Part of that shift in strategy will include a forthcoming price hike on admission and some park services. It was not clear how much Six Flags intended to raise its admission price. Locally, the company operates Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, which charges at least $55 for a one-day pass. It also offers a 12-month "Thrill Seeker" pass that includes access to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Concord, starting at $126.
The shift in strategy comes as Six Flags has reported a steep decline in park attendance over the years. The drop in attendance was financially offset by higher admission fees charged to some patrons, with park spending increased 27 percent to just over $36 per person, according to the company's financial earnings. Most of that increase was from patrons who purchased single-day passes to its theme parks.
Still, the company logged a 5 percent dip in revenue during its most-recent financial quarter to end the period with $435 million. Its net income fell 36 percent to $45 million.
Going forward, company executives say they hope to reverse their bad fortunes by introducing additional events like an Oktoberfest celebration at some of its parks.