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A Topic For Debate: Should Aussie World Introduce Annual Passes?

12 posts in this topic

With news of expansion at Aussie World and 3 new rides on the way, I was looking at their Facebook page and website, and the one thing that keeps coming up in the comments and testimonials are things along the lines of "When will you have yearly passes?" or "If you had season passes we would visit all the time!"

So, my question is, do you think Aussie World should go the way of the big parks and introduce a yearly / season pass? I can see positives and negatives and was wondering what everyone else thought. Would it be a revenue boost that would help them expand and add more rides sooner? Or, would it destroy the main thing people seem to like about the park, that being next to no queues on all their rides?

I look forward to hearing what everyone else thinks...

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I'm of the exact two minds that you predict. I think Annual Passes are in quite a demand for the little park. I can't say i'd buy one, but there'd be plenty of Sunny Coast residents who would...

But as you say - would that then kill the 'no queue' charm it has?

If they're going to expand in these leaps and bounds, they may get away with it - more attractions means they can handle more people... the trick is that they need to set the pass at the right price point - too high and people will call them a rip off, too low and every tom, dick and VIP passholder will be in like flynn.

The problem is the big parks have conditioned everyone to a $99 price point. I think AW needs a higher point, and in my opinion, they'd probably justify $150, but i think they really need it to be closer to $200-250 for it to have the right effect (or maybe like $700 for a family of 4)... the problem is - would people pay it?

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I, like you, don't live on the Sunshine Coast, but the park does make a good stopover point for trips to Brisbane / Gold Coast for us. I would consider one if the price was alright as we could make short stops of an hour or two, grab a bite to eat, and continue on our way. That being said if they are too affordable, the place will be overrun with single moms from the Sunshine Coast using it as an oversized kid's cafe, just like they currently do with MW and DW.

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the place will be overrun with single moms

Didn't realise the Sunshine Coast had such a large American expat population.

I don't think it is really viable for them to go above $99, and $700 for a family is mental...They aren't Disney!

Just think of all the people that complained that the $99 Silver pass for WnW Sydney was "expensive" since you get a full year of three GC parks for that price.

Market wouldn't accept it basically.

Finally, not sure what the issue with the place being busier is anyway. It's still going to be a quiet park in the scheme of things, but it would mean their cafe would make more money, and they'd get more out of their staff who wouldn't stand around waiting for someone to decide to ride their ride.

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You can charge more if you are going to offer them more. Adventure World charges between $135 and $155 for an adult's season pass, but you also get a 20 per cent discount on food and merch as well as a day when you can get your friends in for half price (I was going to check with their website, but it appears to be down at the moment). There is also be a family pass discount. It doesn't have to be cheaper than the big parks if you have a captive local audience.

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I don't think it is really viable for them to go above $99, and $700 for a family is mental...They aren't Disney!

Just think of all the people that complained that the $99 Silver pass for WnW Sydney was "expensive" since you get a full year of three GC parks for that price.

Market wouldn't accept it basically.

I totally get the market wouldn't accept it - but when you consider the current pricing for a family (of 4) pass as a day ticket - its $100 online.

We're talking 7 trips in a year for value - locals would smash that over summer holidays.

And of course they're not Disney - I'm talking $700 for a family of four. Disney charges $700 PER PERSON for their premium annual passport (which is really the only TRUE annual passport in their annual pass offering)... Considering they charge $90-100 per person for a day ticket, the pricing is relative.

Just because they don't have the same offering, doesn't mean they have to charge a comparable ticket price to the offering... Disney can do that because of quantity... AW NEEDS to charge more per person to survive.

If they make an AP too cheap, they WILL be overrun by locals which will reduce their per cap spend. They will (as said above) become the local babysitter during school holidays.

I know the market doesn't agree with me (and thats mainly because of VRTP and Ardent giving away their own gates) but I stand by a price point of $150-200, and a family pass of $700ish (600 minimum).

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For most regular theme parks it seems to be you can pay off your annual pass in two visits or so...Certainly WnW Sydney follow that formula.

The GC parks did too prior to the VIP/unlimited World Passes.

Per cap would drop, but the overall profit level would rise.

The fundamental question is what would serve the park better?

-Being a 'boutique' type place where it is known that the lines are always short etc.

-Growing and expanding overall.

Judging by what the likes of Adventure World, Adventure Park, Jamberoo, Funfields etc have done, I think the latter is the best for long term success. Anyone noticed how Aussie World was pretty quiet with minimal expansions, but now they seem to be making a real effort to get the park to a decent size.

Also, another ride they could put on the hillside:

Edited by Gazza

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However - prior to giving away the gate, my recollection of pass pricing on the gold coast was somewhere along these lines:

~$69 for a one day ticket.

~$299 for an annual pass for one park.

Thats four days entry to cover the price. Disney is currently 7 days. And this was back in an era where the VRTPs didn't have massive upsell opportunities (except the animal adventures)

Sure these days the VRTP discovery passport at $149.99 is far cheaper, and the VIP passes even moreso (at only $10 more than a day ticket) but I think thats their aim - thats their strategy - to give away the gate and work harder inside the park to up the percap spend... and by all means you can do that where you have the facilities to increase it - like animal adventures, or stunt driver rides, or flying fox and surfrider bookings. If you're not making a profit then - it's your own fault for not milking the guest hard enough.

AW doesn't have that at present. They're a traditional park. They currently get by very well without offering an annual pass, charging a single day admission price, and it does them well.

Their 'special online price' of $28 for a day ticket means multiple visits in the summer for locals isn't THAT bad - and still cheaper than a VIP (and travelling 2 hours), but the suggestion was should it be introduced. I'm fine for them to bring it in but i don't agree that they should give away the gate as easily as the big parks with the massive upsell opportunities.

Look at the whiners who complained about WnWS' pass pricing, but look at how full they were EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. They 'followed that formula' - but they bloody well shouldn't have. It is obvious the demand was there, they probably could have charged more - but instead they panicked and offered B3GOF, and free parking and all sorts of rubbish. What a debacle that was. We all sat back and criticised WnWS for making their pricepoints too low and selling too many passes.

AW needs to be careful if they dip their toe into the annual pass pool, as they run the risk of doing damage to the brand as they try to evolve. By all means when they start putting in $10M attractions like Abyss where people will flock from across the country, then they're playing with the big boys and will need to play by those rules, but right now, they've got a captive market, and have survived well without it. For those that want it - they'll pay the extra... AND they'll use it.

Or better yet - don't offer annual passes, and stick with the current formula which is obviously doing them just fine.

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Well said. You are pretty much of the same view as me.

I think they are very reasonably priced at the moment, and it isn't excessive to consider going there a couple of times a year if you are nearby. I also think an annual pass would be too cheap if it cost the same as two, or even three visits. I think at the cost of 5 or 6 visits it is still a great deal for locals.

Or better yet - don't offer annual passes, and stick with the current formula which is obviously doing them just fine.

This is a good point. Who is to say they need to just because the guys down the road are. They can play by there own rules. Just a thought, but why not offer something like a bulk buy pass, whereby you get 4 visits for 100, or even 95 dollars, with a year (or hell, even no expiry) to use them. It offers a reasonable discount on the regular admission and encourages people to spend upfront, while not causing a flood of local unemployed bogans who spend days on end at the park just to get value from their passes.

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I wasn't far off - the price comparison on a 'number of visits' basis is still the same - you just get extra attractions for the same price. I contemplated buying one when I first moved to QLD - which would have been around the same time... but then the Q150 came out.

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