How To Grade Our Summer

January 7, 2009 by Tim Samson

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We got a call the other day from the media, asking us to comment on our season with a school grade. We replied, “Our CFO would give it a C, our marketing departments would give it a B, and our guests would give it an A.”

The weather was not always working this season for this seaside amusement park. A rainy June, a cool July, and even more rain in August, all conspired to ruin things for our CFO, as ticket booth sales dipped below last year.

As for marketing’s grade for the summer, we like to say, “When things are going well, we credit the weather, but when things are going poorly, we blame marketing.” So we cranked out specials and special offers like mad. We also installed a new customer survey kiosk system. When we learned from the surveys that so many of our guests, even local ones, were not aware that we had TWO beachfront waterparks, we launched a LOCALS ONLY campaign to over 80,000 households in the region, with a FREE pass to our waterparks, free parking, and coupons for food. This was on top of our daytime specials which were very popular.

From the guest point of view (which matters the most!), the season got an unqualified “A.” The park was just as fun, just as clean, and still as safe, but at a greater value to our guests. More people took advantage of our Winter and Spring sales than ever before, and all those weekday specials, and special offers resulted in some VERY delighted guests, according to our surveys.

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