Amusement Parks: The Economy and Regional Theme Parks.

Sure, there will be folks who’ve lost their jobs, or are working fewer hours who won’t be able to afford a trip to Holiday World in 2009. Those are lost this season. In addition, our early numbers for Corporate Picnics indicate that that business segment will be down substantially this year (understandable: it’s not cool to throw a party when you’re cutting hours and/or laying people off). On the other hand, can we benefit from a tradeoff as folks in our market region stay closer to home rather than traveling to distant destinations (and spending big bucks on plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, etc.)? I think the answer is yes. Is there a way to target these folks? Maybe. We’re trying to figure that one out. We also think it’s important to send a message to the community that we are compassionate toward those who are less fortunate—we’re working on a promotion that would involve collecting food for the needy.

One thing I do know for certain is that we can’t make a mistake by watching our expenditures carefully, and living within our means (budget). We are sending that message every day to our staff, and intend to monitor spending very carefully.

On the other hand, we are moving forward with the construction (above right) and opening of the world’s tallest water ride, Pilgrims Plunge, on May 2 (see World’s Tallest Water Ride coming to Holiday World). This will certainly be a highly marketable attraction. In good economic circumstances, I would have hoped for a 5-10% increase in attendance. This year? Who knows? Maybe the new project keeps us at 2008 attendance levels. This year, I think that would be a cause for celebration.

The crystal ball is cloudy.  It’s hard to guess what the summer will be like.  Be careful.

More from Will Koch::

Amusement parks: Off Season – Free, Unlimited Bon Bons

Focusing on Families

and also:

Holiday World Announces Two New Directors

Holiday World to “Twitter” this Season

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