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Small News From The Theme Park Industry

Matt N

CF Legend
Happy birthday Matt and welcome to the 19 club! What an incredible day to be born. Super easy for your partner to give you a fitting birthday gift.

I'm born on St. Martins Day aka goose eating day. I always get a goose dinner as a gift. Not equally fun

That Thrope add though. Even the music sounds like it's from a 90s porno. Lol
Thanks @ChristianPalsson!
 

Matt N

CF Legend
It would appear that Universal Orlando has now introduced a curfew policy for young people following a recent incident involving antisocial behaviour where the resort had to be locked down and evacuated: https://insidethemagic.net/2022/08/universal-new-policy-ld1/

The new policy is that guests under the age of 21 will not be admitted past security after 9pm unless accompanied by an adult over 21, and unaccompanied guests under the age of 18 will be escorted off the premises after 9pm.
 

Lori Marie Loud

Hyper Poster
Selim, uhhhh......
IMG_7551.png



That is NOT GOOD.
 

Fiender

Roller Poster
Ah yes, everyone's high-class shopping choice: Target.
The dude is delusional, an asshole, and bad for business. Any takes on how long before he gets ousted?
 

redheadedRobin

Roller Poster
Ah yes, everyone's high-class shopping choice: Target.
As a european, I was so confused when reading this, I thought Target would be something like Harrods or something... now I've googled searched it and I just find hilarious that high-class for this guy equals a hypermarket.

This being said... what an awful thing to say, hope he gets the boot soon
 

Nitefly

Hyper Poster
For context, here’s (seemingly) a transcript: https://seekingalpha.com/article/45...ix-ceo-selim-bassoul-on-q2-2022-earnings-call

Somebody brought up Walmart in a question which he responded to. His point was that the people that suffer the most financially overlap with a large portion of their market, so those customers are the first to cancel subscriptions etc as opposed to, say, wealthier guests.
Okay. And if I could add another question, I'm curious about the demographics of the base that you're starting with. So, the season pass members, the database you have of people who have come in for a single day pass, to what degree are those people who are comfortable in the current, kind of economic circumstances and to what degree are those people who are stressed, we're seeing a divide in the economy for Walmart consumers who can't afford to buy clothes because they're spending all their money on fuel and food and the Disney customers who are willing to pay up for a few new experience at their parks? Can you give us any data on where your customers sit demographically?

Selim Bassoul:

So, I can answer that question very clearly. At the end, our objective is not to become a park that's not affordable to everyone. So, let's make that clear. Our objective has always been want to be a part for the middle-class and even lower middle-class. Unfortunately, over this past year, I think many of our customers even if you kept the pricing the same as last year, their disposable income has been hit pretty hard.

So, there was no point to try to say, how do I capture those people again? Because they suffered. They suffered with gasoline prices. They suffered with their utilities at home. They suffered with their pricing at the supermarket. Those people were not able to come and hopefully, if the inflation comes back to normal, I'm hoping that some of those people come back to our parks and enjoy the new premiumization and beautification. But let's put that aside.

On the second part, we believe that we – our demographic is what I call the average income of the U.S. that's who we are. And I think we are trying to migrate – I call it very different. I’m migrating a little bit from what I call the Kmart, Walmart to maybe the target customers, if I want to say that.

Regarding food:

Number three, we had a technology issue. We could not monitor if somebody would come back, in the park, 5 minutes later through their meal back in a trash can and came back 5 minutes later, 10 minutes later, in line to get it again. Today, we need to get that technology to make sure that people are not abusing the system, and we're putting together this technology, which is in place with our – with the other players in the industry, whether it's a time lapse, where you can come in, enter a time lapse or monitoring that you can get extra amount of meals a day, but you cannot come in and keep on throwing food away and going to every restaurant and abusing the food and [indiscernible].

You take a bite of a burger and say, okay, I'm going to go get a hot dog and take a bit of hot dog, then I throw the hot dog away. So, we had no technology to be able to limit the waste. And now, we're putting all this in place.

Perhaps ‘indiscernible’ is a redacted comment re: food stamps. Perhaps it isn’t.

From my very limited experience, the clientele of Six Flags Great America didn’t seem to give a crap about the park. But the park didn’t seem to give a crap about them either, so it’s not surprising.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
These are perhaps not the best comments for them to make, but hasn’t Selim Bassoul actually done quite a bit of good for the Six Flags parks, on the whole?
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Like what?
He’s introduced single rider queues across the chain, he seems to have a great emphasis on throughput and guest experience when you hear him talk, he’s trying to focus on a strategy of bettering guest experience and beautifying the parks… that all sounds pretty good to me!
 

Fiender

Roller Poster
He’s introduced single rider queues across the chain, he seems to have a great emphasis on throughput and guest experience when you hear him talk, he’s trying to focus on a strategy of bettering guest experience and beautifying the parks… that all sounds pretty good to me!
It all sounds good, until you hear trip reports from many six flags this year that mention miserable employees, under-staffed parks, and paint peeling on just about every building. All these feel-good improvements that are getting mentioned? They're pretty much all talk.

It doesn't help that the main "improvement" Selim has made is making parks less crowded... by jacking up prices. Lots of less-well-off guests can't justify going to these parks anymore. The price increase was not representative of any increase in quality or guest experience (unless you count the parks being ghost towns most days and improvement). As the revenue report has shown, this strategy has left Six Flags with less money to improve their parks.

Combine that with rumors of people getting fired for speaking out or voicing any opinion Selim disagrees with, and the man claiming Six Flags is a competitor of Disney, and it paints a picture that he's a acting like a tyrant while being incredibly out of touch with the company he is running.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
It all sounds good, until you hear trip reports from many six flags this year that mention miserable employees, under-staffed parks, and paint peeling on just about every building. All these feel-good improvements that are getting mentioned? They're pretty much all talk.

It doesn't help that the main "improvement" Selim has made is making parks less crowded... by jacking up prices. Lots of less-well-off guests can't justify going to these parks anymore. The price increase was not representative of any increase in quality or guest experience (unless you count the parks being ghost towns most days and improvement). As the revenue report has shown, this strategy has left Six Flags with less money to improve their parks.

Combine that with rumors of people getting fired for speaking out or voicing any opinion Selim disagrees with, and the man claiming Six Flags is a competitor of Disney, and it paints a picture that he's a acting like a tyrant while being incredibly out of touch with the company he is running.
Granted, I’ve never visited a Six Flags before, so those investor reports are the only thing I really have to go off of.

I’ll admit those comments might alienate a fair few people, though… also, as a non-American, I thought Walmart and Target were basically the same thing (supermarkets)?
 

Nick13

Mega Poster
He’s introduced single rider queues across the chain, he seems to have a great emphasis on throughput and guest experience when you hear him talk, he’s trying to focus on a strategy of bettering guest experience and beautifying the parks… that all sounds pretty good to me!
The only SRQ I saw at Great America and St Louis in June was on Goliath, and when I tried to use it I was told they weren't using it that day...

Seems like this guy is trying to come up with new ideas on how to improve the experience from his office in Six Flags HQ without any practical thought or budget given for the parks to do it.... Maybe he should get out to the parks and see how understaffed and badly maintained they are, and put some investment into fixing them up!
 

Christian

Hyper Poster
also, as a non-American, I thought Walmart and Target were basically the same thing (supermarkets)?

They are pretty much them same thing. Albeit, Walmart can be a bit bigger and have more food. Otherwise one is blue and the other is red, not really any other difference. Somehow American's perceive them as different class. Similarly to how brits might perceive the M&S Food crowd differently to the Lidl crowd, although both pretty much are the same thing.

Regarding this CEO. He is a lunatic. I have said it before and will say it again. You don't just become premium by raising prices and calling yourself premium. First you start to offer the premium experience and then you charge more for it. He also has heavily hinted that he does not believe in investing in rides, calling them worse investments than shops and restaurants. The problem is that this guy thinks he is running a city hotel and not a theme park. In amusement parks rides are what attract guests, shops and restaurants are merely a way to extract more money from the guests that are already there. The whole intimidation and negative environment thing is just too much. This guy need to go, fast!
 
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