Here is a summary of some of the key points noted at the last Six Flags Conference Call. You can read the full report here.
1) Goals reiterated of improving park operations, appearance, and overall brand image.
2) Season pass sales are off slightly as prices increased, but season pass per caps up 10 percent.
3) Discussed how poor the brand image had dropped. New rides opening in June? Not good in Mark's eyes.
4) Season pass sales down 550,000. 62 percent of the total drop (1.3 million) in overall attendance is the 12-17 age group. Parks not acting as babysitters anymore. Increased pricing has attracted more families.
5) Part of the attendance drop from last year is the 220,000 lost from SFNO not being open.
6) Per capita guest spending up 14 percent through June 18.
7) Corporate sponsorships up. Sponsorship revenue (mostly Coke) was $19 million. By end of calendar year 2006, this number projected to reach $29 million.
8) Greatest challenge in company is staffing. Need of better quality seasonal employees. Also need of mid level supervisors and trainers.
9) Too much reliance on foreign student employee program. These workers don't speak fluent english in many cases and are not trained properly.
10) Big rides are easy to market, but guests return because of the 'Disney' type experience. Better overall experience. He referred to Hershey and their new dark ride. People aren't going to Hershey for the dark ride. They're going because of the family friendly reputation the park has.
11) $10 million less spent in media/marketing. They are going after the 'moms', which cost more to reach. He said he can't market the new six flags when he can't yet deliver the new six flags.
12) Double edge sword with regards to marketing coasters- $88 million spent on four new coasters this year. If you don't market these rides to the teens, you're wasting marketing dollars. By marketing to teens, you're not marketing to Six Flags' new target audience.
13) $3 million over budget on El Toro, and 3 hour waits due to single train op through July. Other late openings- Tatsu at SFMM, Catapult at SFNE, Big Kahuna at SFDL.
14) Beginning Monday June 26 through August 1, a marketing blitz will take place. Television, radio, print. Level of discounts the same, but gate prices are higher.
15) Land of Astroworld was sold for $77 million. Sold assets of Wyandot Lake to Columbus Zoo for $2 million. Finalized lease of Sacramento waterpark and may look to sell the rides back to the park. Closing both Oklahoma City parks. Gurnee, IL and Eureka, MO selling parcels of extra land.
16) Explore options to sell SFDL, Waterworld in Concord, SFEG, Enchanted Parks, Splashtown Houston, SFMM and Hurricane Harbor. Factors: is property in line with stragetic vision, is there value in real estate, has there been interest expressed for the properties?