Heide Park

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Islander, 20th Jul 2012.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I knew Merlin would reopen it! All you need sometimes is a bit of optimism! Also, I reckon with the great execution of Wicker Man (from what we can see so far) and now this, I reckon Merlin could be turning a corner into a great era.

    On a side note, does this mean Heide is getting their next high investment year early?
     
  2. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Fully supportive of that.

    With the wider decision, as a shareholder, i am not sure this is the best use of £10m but as a fan of wooden coasters... go for it.
     
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  3. Rojo

    Rojo TowersStreet Member

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    World's first?
     
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  4. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    How Much Is The Fish Fastrack?
     
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  5. Lordy

    Lordy TowersStreet Member

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    It's going to reopen as the "World's first coaster that Merlin actually care about".
     
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  6. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    This €46 (£41) season pass is hilarious.

    Quite literally, Merlin now seem intent on wrecking the value of each guest over in Europe, too - with their charity shop level pricing.

    Meanwhile, at Phantasialand and Europa-Park, guests pay €200 for the privilege.

    What are Merlin smoking? They mustn't actually believe their parks are worth paying for!
     
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  7. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @AstroDan I think it's all down to nickel and dime. It's very similar to the Six Flags and Village Roadshow model whereby you have healthy per cap spending so it makes sense to keep attendance high.

    That's essentially the same as UK MAP really. I always spend very liberally at Merlin parks on food and souvenirs. When I haven't paid entrance and I know I don't need to pay for parking - that's a satisfactory experience for me and I do it many times over the course of the year at multiple attractions.

    By contrast, if I go to Drayton Manor, it's £80 for four of us to go in, I have to pay for parking on the way out and we take a packed lunch. I spend nothing further.
     
  8. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    In which case, I would ask why don't the other German parks do this? I mean... Phantasialand, Europa-Park, Hansa-Park and so on.

    It is truly, TRULY baffling. I know for a fact that it is an issue at Alton Towers that the average guest is worth so little as they walk through those turnstiles. Yet they keep on with this policy?

    Heide-Park have just closed a load of flat rides. They obviously have no money. And now they cut their prices to the point where you can get a year in the place for less than a day at Phantasialand or Europa-Park?

    I am sure Merlin would rather they got people into the park with a €45 tag on them. Like the other big German parks do. But clearly... the Germans don't want to pay it here. Why? Because the product is inferior. Heide-Park's guest figures are appalling.
     
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  9. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    I agree with some of what you said, but not all - comparing park to park is not apples to apples. They each exist in different markets. Heide certainly hasn't chased the high end resort experience like Phantasialand or Europa, that's for sure. Europa is Waitrose. Heide is Lidl.

    I particularly agree that Heide's gate figures are poor, but I don't agree that the way to fix that is to jack the price up so that it becomes a once a year visit for their core market.

    To where do you attribute the £38m profit in RTP?
     
  10. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    But that is not what Dan is saying. Clearly the product is so inferior to other parks in Germany that visitors are not prepared to pay a higher price. And it is totally down to the product; over 5.6 million people pay non-discounted rates to visit Europa-Park each year so this is not a cultural thing.

    Merlin must surely be asking why Heide has poor gate figures when theme parks in Germany are actually rather popular. Merlin theme parks are not overly appealing places to be these days and these rock bottom season pass prices back this up, they are seen as a quick and easy way to try and generate repeat visits.

    :)
     
  11. MakoMania

    MakoMania TowersStreet Member

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    Gate price annual admission products are not uncommon in the industry. Six Flags, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and many Cedar Fair parks have been offering them for years.
     
  12. venny

    venny TowersStreet Member

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    It’s a slippery slope. Once you’ve devalued your product for such a time it’s hard to substantiate either an increase in admission price and/or continued significant investment. Unless you’re willing to put in significant and continued investment prior to seeing return, it’s a vicious circle of lower prices and lower quality.
     
  13. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    It's a race to the bottom. I say that as a new Merlin shareholder (strictly for investor reasons and NOT fanboyism). If it was working, I could understand the thinking behind wanting to position Heide as the "Value" park among the German heavyweights. But I really don't think Merlin have put that much thought into it, otherwise they wouldn't have done the exact same thing with Alton Towers.

    I think making £38m out of a RTP estate like theirs is pretty lame actually. The over selling of Annual Passes and rock bottom day ticket prices means Merlin have forced themselves to find Margin else where. So in come the cuts and the unsustainable, and frankly unhealthy, over reliance on accommodation, as if it's some magic porridge pot that has no end.

    I simply don't buy the notion that somehow, if you charge less for admission, guests will mindlessly flock into restaurants and gift shops desperate to hand over fist fulls of cash. I certainly don't, I visit more and spend less with my MAP.

    People spend money in Theme Parks because they've made emotional decisions, not rational ones like "we saved a few quid on entry little Johnny - No tuna sarnies for us, Burger Kitchen's the way we roll now!". I'm willing to bet that if Merlin did a survey of would be customers, most of them wouldn't have a clue what admission to a theme park costs.

    To use the supermarket analogies again, most stuff sold in Waitrose comes off the same production line as the stuff sold in Tesco. But Waitrose get away with slapping a posh label on it and a hefty price tag. It's because they offer an experience, they entice your eyes, they have more staff on hand to help, they have a brand and a business model people love. That's why people spend more in there, because it's a decision made out of emotion (even if that's sometimes snobbery) and not always rationale.

    Merlin seem intent on marching towards a Ryanair style model in their RTP'S and for the life of me I can't figure out why as they seem to be painting themselves into a corner.
     
  14. Spark

    Spark TowersStreet Member

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    Anyone think they might of discussed why the coaster got into this state and be thinking if we continue to carry on cutting corners with maintenance and the like at all our parks we will end up in the same boat at our other parks too
     
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  15. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Europa is a very different park, it's far better and its product is much more high end in almost all regards whether it be rides, food, entertainment or resorts. Heide is not trying to be that, it's the Six Flags park of Germany and the price reflects that.

    You're arguing that it should be pegged alongside Europa in terms of pricing? I fundamentally disagree. Different products attract different prices. It's hard to describe if you haven't been - get yourself there for Colossus 2.0 and then tell me you'd be happy to pay the same price for a season pass.

    Again, apples & oranges. The park's location is certainly not ideal and I suspect Merlin wouldn't be looking to build it there today, or even a "They'll come from anywhere" LEGOLAND. Heide by far has the smallest market in RTP.
     
  16. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    No, but I am saying that if the product was better then people may be more prepared to pay a higher price. Not the same price as Europa but more than €46 for the entire season! The product is an issue and the current pricing is reflecting this; Merlin appear to prefer to lower the price than fix the product.

    You have a point though, I am commenting on the product based on trusted second hand reviews and experience of the "Merlin way" in other parks. It has always been a park I have wanted get to however the closure of Colossos has put that back, I certainly plan to go once it has opened again!

    :)
     
  17. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @Rob I think we agree on quite a few points. My view is that you could invest in the park to bring it up to a level of quality associated with the larger German parks, but I don't think the park has sufficient draw in its location to justify that investment to make it worthwhile (or even viable).

    Business is about understanding when to invest and when not to invest. I don't agree that the "Build it and they will come and spend lots of money" works for every property in every location - that is demonstrably not the case. Geauga Lake, Hard Rock Park, Autoworld - to name a few.
     
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  18. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    In Heide's case, I'd be worried about Hansa potentially usurping them as the go to park in the general Hamburg region (though of course, they're at opposite ends around an hour away either side so that could be utterly moot)...

    It's a weird park, it used to have two of everything, and whilst Huss Land got a nice refurb a few years back, the park's general theme and atmosphere left little to be desired... Probably doesn't help that the two visits I've had were on hella busy days and it doesn't particularly cope well (unshaded queues are NOT my favourite)...

    It is however unfortunate that it shares the country with Europe and Phantasialand... That kinda puts it in a bad position to start with... It does remind me of Gardaland though, in terms of a weird layout and a strange array of rides that have recently been improved by 2 B&Ms...
     
  19. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    I agree @Benzin I am not the biggest fan of the park, but I'd take the Merlin Heide Park over the Tussauds one any day of the week.

    Plus, if you remove the 'island mentality' that we have so frequently as Brits, the fact that all three of those parks is located in the Fatherland is irrelevant. Europa's biggest 'home' market city is of course in France.
     
  20. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Out of interest, why would you say they are appalling @AstroDan? According to the 2016 TEA report, the park's attendance was 1,540,000, and while many say that the TEA report is not the most reliable source, this still makes them Germany's 3rd most popular theme park behind only Phantasialand and Europa. And they still saw an increase. Even though the park apparently once got 2,100,000 in 2001 when Colossos first opened, I would not personally call 1.5million "appalling" compared to other theme parks worldwide. Also, according to the TEA attendance report, Heide's attendance has increased consistently since 2013, which is very commendable (I don't know about 2017, as the 2017 TEA report hasn't come out yet). Unless you mean that Heide's attendance is low compared to Merlin's other RTPs, in which case I would be inclined to agree, as Heide is the least visited out of Merlin's RTPs excluding Legolands.

    On the subject of the season pass, however, I do find it quite funny that Merlin are pricing this at the same price as park admission. While that is very kind of them, they must be making huge losses, because everyone will be inclined to buy season passes over actual park admission!
     

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