Happy Monday everybody, and welcome to the first article on this side of the tracks in quite awhile. Usually we'd do something like a video of this, but this one is due for some words, maybe some well thought ones, about where we are with Six Flags, and just what the hell went wrong in 2022.
So let's just dive right in.
Written by Gregg Condon
Topic One: THAT comment ...
There's been a lot of talk about Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul's comment about the chain being the "K-mart/Walmart" chain, and that they don't want to be that any more.
I'll just start with this. I don't actually have a problem with the comment itself. He's not entirely wrong.
But it's what the chain has been for a very long time, and what the Memberships were for.
THAT SAID ...
If he wants the chain to move to the "Target" level, they have to move to the Target Level FIRST, before they start moving to the Target (or some would say Macy's) pricing level.
What do I mean by that?
Six Flags has increased prices TREMENDOUSLY for 2022, and the decrease in attendance backs this up. I've seen reports of 5-10 minute waits for most major attractions at Magic Mountain. On Saturday's. In July and August. Can you imagine what this is going to look like when all schools start? At a park that's open 365 days per year?
More than that, the improvements that I discussed with the CEO and his leadership team in late January simply have not materialized in a way that justifies the current price increases.
You have to give everybody a little taste of what's to come before you price them out.
Let me repeat that ...
YOU HAVE TO GIVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN PATRONIZING YOUR PARKS FOR DECADES, AND HAVE SEEN THE ISSUES IN THE PARKS, A GLIMPSE AT WHAT'S TO COME IN ORDER TO GET THEM ON-BOARD WITH THE NEW STRATEGY AND PRICING.
You almost have to wonder if the parks are being intentionally run into the ground, and if the other park chains are staking out what part of Six Flags they want.
Topic Two: Nobody is buying the new passes
Right now, at least here in Southern California, Six Flags is the third most expensive Annual Pass, only behind the Universal Platinum Pass and Disneyland. Let that sink in. And that should tell you exactly why the new passes are not selling.
(click images below to see larger version)
And this is exactly what I told them would happen in January. And honestly, it seemed they were listening, at least that was the impression I got. But apparently they already had their set formula and they are sticking with it, to the detriment of the parks, and all who work there.
Last Saturday I saw a picture from the Magic Mountain parking booths. I was disgusted when I saw that it was $40 to park there. For general parking. In, quite frankly, that piece of $*** parking lot. There is zero justification for that other than gouging your customer.
If I was a one-day ticket holder and saw that, I probably would have turned around.
Topic Three: You still aren't promoting your parks
One of the other big things I touched on with them in January was social media, and the promotion of their parks.
I'm just going to say one thing that's going to probably get me in trouble with some people, but here goes anyway.
SIX FLAGS FIESTA TEXAS IS NOT THE FLAGSHIP PARK OF THE SIX FLAGS CHAIN.
Phew, that feels better.
But seriously, I love that Jeffrey Siebert loves the park he heads, and that he's so out there on social media with some truly amazing park updates. He should love his job.
But the rest of the chain, nary a social media post to be seen. Only when they're promoting the new (disgusting) coke flavor (where all parks used the same picture of SFMM), or some National Roller Coaster Day posts. That's it.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, Great Adventure, Great America, even Over Texas are the flagship parks of this chain. Yet you hardly ever see anything about these parks on social media. Why?
Topic Four: Are the improvements REALLY happening?
If they are making all of these improvements to the park, why are we not seeing them? Why are you relying on bloggers to do all of this for you? And to notice what's different from their last visit? This isn't a solid business model.
Could it be that the improvements just haven't been happening? When I rode Wonder Woman on opening day, paint was already chipping off of the walls, people were already tagging it up. Remember the locker issues?
And the new store in DC Universe STILL isn't open.
So I guess if your improvements aren't happening there's nothing to show on social media?
Speaking of promoting the parks, it's sad to see one of the better PR departments in the chain get absolutely gutted. Great Adventure had an amazing PR staff. They spent their lives in dedication to that park, and the chain. Instead of losing all of that amazing passion, their roles should have been expanded. Take what they know, spread it to the other parks in the chain, show them how it's done.
One of the other questions we've been getting a lot are about 2023 announcements. Honestly, don't expect anything. Traditionally they would be next week. We haven't heard a peep. Other than the twice (or more) delayed attraction at Six Flags Over Texas, park improvements are going to be what we get.
And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just too bad nobody is going to have passes to see them.