GoGoBoy

Ardent (Dreamworld) continues to decline

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Ardent Leisure have just posted their third quarter results - http://www.ardentleisure.com.au/Investor-C...X-Releases.aspx It looks like their theme parks division has continued to decline. DW's January revenues were down around 10% on the prior year but even more surprising was the April result. Even with the benefit of new attractions such as the Wedgie, Illuminate and the inclusion of Q deck, revenue was still down on April last year. I find this really puzzling. I thought that with both the Wedgie and the significant discounts DW was promoting we would have seen an increase. What's happened to people? Has everyone stopped going to theme parks? Australia isn't in a recession and yet Ardent's theme parks appear to be suffering. I'm always disappointed when a new attraction doesn't boost revenue/attendance as it may discourage the parks from continuing to add new rides. Any other thoughts?

Edited by GoGoBoy

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I think our parks are just trading on their laurels and think that just throwing up a new ride, or giving a discount will get you there. I get into the parks for free but I hardly ever go, because nothing is motivating me to do so. Public are expecting new rides so it doesn't make them RUN to the park. Now building a major record breaker or similar will, but they just don't seem to want to do that. Giant Drop was wow factor, Superman was wow factor, heck Polar Bear Shores was wow factor. Something like a water slide, a jet ski coaster (whilst it's awesome) or a swimming pool with some Rays doesn't have any WOW appeal. The public aren't stupid, if the parks are discounting, its obvious there is nothing there worth paying the full price for. Just for interest, whilst these past few months are now, the Village parks are on target for a good year overall.

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Consumers are waking up to the rip-off that Dreamworld is. They are finding better things to do with their time and money. I agree that DW are resting on their laurels and are just not investing in decent attractions anymore. Considering you can get a days ticket for $45.99 (which is about AU$50) at o/s parks like Cedar Point!

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An interesting article regarding this issue from the Gold Coast Bulletin - http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2010/0...t-business.html The CEO of Ardent is quoted as saying that despite the current economic conditions they continue to invest significant amounts of money into Dreamworld because they believe in the brand. He said they want to make it a good place to visit. I would really question the claim that they have invested a lot in the park recently. A laser arena, a single new waterslide and other additions could not really be considered major. While we will have to wait and see what the rest of this year brings it appears that they are actually very reluctant to make any significant investments in the park - something that is obviously needed. We know that Dreamworld really started to thrive with the opening of Wipeout, ToT/Giant Drop and the Claw. Perhaps this should be telling Ardent something!

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For all the negatives down the road (and boy are there allot of negatives down the road), the one positive point VRTPs have been able to cling onto is that they're still going ahead with capital spending, with all three major parks getting something of note this year. Dreamworld's problem isn't the heavy discounting from Village, Dreamworld's problem is that they haven't added a good attraction since Claw, and haven't added a 'wow' attraction since Giant Drop. Whether or not Village discounted this year, DW would still be having sliding attendance and revenue. The discounting may have made that decline steeper that it would have otherwise been but the lack of a good new attraction would have still have seen a decrease in attendance. Even the capital they are spending doesn't seem all that well thought out. I question Ardent's decision to add a slide which will be well and truly eclipsed in 6 months, giving them only the winter months to be able to market a water slide. Also questionable is whether rushing out and quickly cobbling together a laser show when MW is doing a big night show for Xmas this year was really worth it. It seems to me that rather then trying to expand their own offering they're trying to dilute the marketability of whatever Village is doing. Interesting idea, but all you're doing is pissing money up the wall for no gain unless there's something 'wow' to back it up. I hope there is something wow coming, otherwise 2011 will be another very hard year for them.

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The answer is obvious. When was the last time you saw an ad on TV for a new ride/attraction that actually looked like it was worth visiting for? Primetime ads for a laser show that features absolutely no enticing footage doesn't cut it. The marketing for Motocoaster was perhaps more lackluster than the ride itself. I'd say the last time Dreamworld actually promoted an attraction some some level of enthusiasm was The Claw. At what point, did they decide that building traditional attractions and marketing them the way they used to was ineffective? Because attendance/revenue growth certainly suggests that they were a hell of a lot more effective than anything they've done in recent years. WVTP have succeeded by marketing the crap out of their cheap passes. Dreamworld belatedly copies to the point where it looked like a reactionary copycat move, and there was absolutely nothing for them to capitalise on it because they were so late... it looked like they were just selling tickets cheaper for the hell of it. How come when they want to tack a dollar or two onto the ticket price each year, DW and WVTP are totally in unison, but when it comes to an obviously successful discount, they're months behind? I know they claim they were reluctant to get into price wars, but at the same time it was obvious from day one that they'd be losing out by not swiftly joining in. As I've said many times before, these heavily discounted tickets and annual passes address the fact that our theme parks have been consistently more expensive and more profitable than almost any equivalent parks around the world. It's obvious that these limited run shows and non-traditional (or upcharge) attractions don't sell tickets. The past several years proves this... when attendance is on the up, it barely keeps up with regional population growth, and for the past couple of years it's been distinct drops. The problem is Dreamworld have had nothing to say for several years, and therefore have had no reason to saturate the advertising world in the same way that used to come hand in hand with the 4 or 5% attendance increases. I'm also questioning these numbers released. 2009 9-month revenue (i.e. July 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009) was $70 not $83 million, according to last year's releases. A 5% decrease this year should put the 9-month revenue at $66 million, the lowest since WhiteWater World opened, so I'm not sure what's happened with the accounting in the past year.

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I'm surprised there's a decline- maybe it's just with my group of friends but all my friends are always talking about the wanting to go on the Wedgie and are always talking about how awesome DW rides are (I love the park too :P)... I'm in Grade 6 at the moment (yes I'm 11) and Dreamworld and WWW is always the more preferred choice than MW or WnW, though most haven't visited WWW :P I've also noticed a lot more birthdays coming up for me at DW/WWW... If the kids want to go, wouldn't that mean adults would want to go, too?

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Even the capital they are spending doesn't seem all that well thought out. I question Ardent's decision to add a slide which will be well and truly eclipsed in 6 months, giving them only the winter months to be able to market a water slide. Also questionable is whether rushing out and quickly cobbling together a laser show when MW is doing a big night show for Xmas this year was really worth it. It seems to me that rather then trying to expand their own offering they're trying to dilute the marketability of whatever Village is doing.
joz I think you are absolutely spot on with the above comment! The small capital they are injecting at the moment seems very misguided
The answer is obvious. When was the last time you saw an ad on TV for a new ride/attraction that actually looked like it was worth visiting for? Primetime ads for a laser show that features absolutely no enticing footage doesn't cut it. The marketing for Motocoaster was perhaps more lackluster than the ride itself. I'd say the last time Dreamworld actually promoted an attraction some some level of enthusiasm was The Claw. At what point, did they decide that building traditional attractions and marketing them the way they used to was ineffective? Because attendance/revenue growth certainly suggests that they were a hell of a lot more effective than anything they've done in recent years.
I couldn't agree more Richard. I live in NSW and I remember back when the commercials for the Claw were on, a number of my friends commented on how amazing the new ride at Dreamworld looked and wanted to visit. I have not heard anyone mention anything about Dreamworld down here since. That is certainly saying something. It's time for DW to get back into the business of delivering REAL theme park rides and marketing them properly

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I'm also questioning these numbers released. 2009 9-month revenue (i.e. July 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009) was $70 not $83 million, according to last year's releases. A 5% decrease this year should put the 9-month revenue at $66 million, the lowest since WhiteWater World opened, so I'm not sure what's happened with the accounting in the past year.
Think it was a combined result for DW/WWW

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Yeah... probably should have given each year's results more than a cursory glance. In short, looks like combined revenue from this 9-month period is down from $87 to $84 to $79 million in two years. In that time their competition have invested in major attractions across the board. Surprisingly, they have seen growth!

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I'm surprised there's a decline- maybe it's just with my group of friends but all my friends are always talking about the wanting to go on the Wedgie and are always talking about how awesome DW rides are (I love the park too :P)... )... I'm in Grade 6 at the moment (yes I'm 11)
The best way I can explain it, is we've been riding ToT, Wipeout and GD since long before you were born, Cyclone since you were 2 and Claw since you were 5. While they're still great rides (well, most of them are ;) ) eventually you get tired of them, and need something else to bring you back to the park, or instead of visiting every year you'll visit every 2 or 3 years. I assure you that if they haven't added anything by the time your 22 you'll probably be bored with the place too. The other thing I'll say is adults have to earn their money, and every year it gets harder and harder to spend money on something you've done to death already. Not trying to sound like a downer, but it is the way it is. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be enthusiastic about the park, heck if DW had the rides it has now when I was 11 I'd have loved the place too. It just needs something new to get me back as an adult.
The answer is obvious. When was the last time you saw an ad on TV for a new ride/attraction that actually looked like it was worth visiting for? Primetime ads for a laser show that features absolutely no enticing footage doesn't cut it.
To be fair to the marketing department, when was the last time there was something worth visiting for? I had originally planned a big reply about how for the most part, Dreamworld advertising is pretty good, but think what I found on Youtube while researching is far more interesting then anything I have to say. Enjoy! *** POST EDITED 10th of July 2010, CHECK THIS OUT PEOPLE LOOKING THROUGH OLD POSTS!!!! *** Edited by joz

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To be fair to the marketing department, when was the last time there was something worth visiting for?
Totally true, which I think was part of my initial point. Ignoring the fact that Motocoaster's really not a good ride, I think they really dropped the ball on it and it never got a decent run with advertising. I mean aside from just how stale the concept and brand affiliation there was, there was so much more they could have done with it other than a 30 second ad with a bunch of teens riding it. They paid an apparently famous guy for naming rights, why wasn't he appearing in ads that combined him with ride footage and stock MotoGP footage to actually make the ride look decent? Where were the in-person appearances in the weeks/months after it opened that would have had the bogans coming out in droves? WVTP blitzes the market with their discount annual passes, and Ardent/Dreamworld grumble about how bad these price wars are for business, yet when they do finally join in they completely omit any sort of marketing effort like the one that made it successful at WVTP. I would agree that Dreamworld's marketing was good, up until say 2004. Since then though there's not a single way that they've outfoxed -- or even come close -- to WVTP, who after years of struggling to find a message finally came good with MyFun and have actually developed a cohesive brand while Dreamworld have sold theirs down the river for short-term affiliations with MTV etc.

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To be fair to the marketing department, when was the last time there was something worth visiting for?
Sums it up perfectly. I mean the wedgie looks fun and all, and I'll get there eventually to try it, but even I haven't even rushed out to go ride it (And it seems only AP holders on here have done it so far), would many other people be rushing out to ride it? Furthermore, does anyone even know about it? There was barely any advertising. Same goes for the laser show...Shows are a nicety for parks, but unless they are something really major (like HSD) then they are a bit of a soft addition...Who plans holidays to the GC around seeing a Laser show? For the past few years, we've been seeing the capital come in as dribs and drabs, lots of small things which don't really excite anyone, so the investment and marketing is diluted. If they finally just poured all the money into the one thing then that attraction attraction would be able to have some depth to it, it would be easier to market and the park would actually put itself back on peoples radars (and they'd get better return on their advertising dollar too, since it probably costs the same amount to produce a TV ad for a big addition than it does for a small addition) I know it seems when people talk about DW issues like cleanliness, slow moving lines etc come up frequently, but to me its the rarity of compelling new attractions that turns me off the place. Who doesn't like new rides?
. I'm in Grade 6 at the moment (yes I'm 11)
Hey, can I just say you're perhaps the first 11 year old on a forum who I have seen that writes posts properly..well done. Other younger members, take note!

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I think the problem with the ads for the wedgie is that they kinda got eclipsed with the laser show - two launches simultaneously diluted each other - they should have launched one, or the other, not both at the same time.

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What gets my goat is for the price Dreamworld sold the land for around the same price they purchased the Q-deck for. I can understand Ardent buying Q-deck but don’t understand Dreamworld making the purchase. I believe Dreamworld should stick to Dreamworld because we know what the outcome is when Dreamworld tries to go outside the circle. (eg shopping centre).

Edited by skeetafly

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The best way I can explain it, is we've been riding ToT, Wipeout and GD since long before you were born, Cyclone since you were 2 and Claw since you were 5. While they're still great rides (well, most of them are ;) ) eventually you get tired of them, and need something else to bring you back to the park, or instead of visiting every year you'll visit every 2 or 3 years. I assure you that if they haven't added anything by the time your 22 you'll probably be bored with the place too. The other thing I'll say is adults have to earn their money, and every year it gets harder and harder to spend money on something you've done to death already. Not trying to sound like a downer, but it is the way it is. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be enthusiastic about the park, heck if DW had the rides it has now when I was 11 I'd have loved the place too. It just needs something new to get me back as an adult.
Ah, I see :) That makes sense. The way I saw it, adults with kids would probably go a lot since right now Dreamworld is the fashion with kids (well in my suburb at least :P)
Hey, can I just say you're perhaps the first 11 year old on a forum who I have seen that writes posts properly..well done. Other younger members, take note!
Thank you! ^_^ That's more out of habit then anything else :3

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I just came across an article in the Sydney Morning Herald which suggests that part of the reason Dreamworld revenues are continuing to decline may be because the Village parks are beginning to take market share from DW. Ardent are absolutely crazy for letting this happen. I have always looked at Dreamworld as Australia's 'favourite' theme park. It was such a common thing to hear people say they would prefer to go to Dreamworld because it has MORE RIDES AND BIGGER RIDES. It's such a simple thing but something Ardent would be very foolish to ignore. Instead of going down the path of trying to diversify DW's offerings with Flowriders, V8 simulators and laser alleys they need to stick with what has always made them the most popular park... more rides. Losing this competitive edge would be a big mistake. Here is the link to the article if anyone is interested - http://www.smh.com.au/business/leisure-tru...00514-v4gg.html

Edited by GoGoBoy

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I could imagine them adding a ZacSpin - I'm not sure where they'd put it or what theme it would be, but out of all the GC parks, I'd pick Dreamworld to get one of these.

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