The magic has disappeared!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Oatcakedodger, 19th Mar 2016.

  1. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Getting back to the magic...
    I went to the Towers today (last Tuesday opening for a while),
    on the spur of the moment as my work was cancelled for the day due to the weather.
    Clear motorway on the M6,
    no queues apart from Galactica...
    (we can't have perfection can we),
    and at 2pm,
    instead of mowing lawns in the rain,
    I found myself sat in the sun outside the Courtyard Tavern,
    having done all the big rides,
    with a kebab in one hand and a pint of beer in the other.
    For me, the magic was definitely back,
    no question.
    But maybe I'm just easily pleased.
     
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  2. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    You'd be surprised how many people I encounter who don't realise that parks shut over winter. They expect the park to be open all year round, just like any other business.
     
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  3. themeparkfan

    themeparkfan TowersStreet Member

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    I fully understand the business sense to close midweek on certain periods; early May, late June and September and October but closing when schools are off
     
  4. themeparkfan

    themeparkfan TowersStreet Member

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    As a lot of schools in Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire are this and next week. I suppose Merlin/ Alton just want people to go elsewhere and spent their money. How do they explain to shareholders that they let people spend money at Drayton Manor or elsewhere instead while kids were of school??? I know if I was a shareholder I would have a lot of questions to ask.
     
  5. Sku

    Sku TowersStreet Member

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    The shareholders are the ones that are going to be pleased with this kind of decision. The park is going to be completely deserted on these days and would lose the shareholders a lot of money. Just because some schools are still off, it doesn't make a business case for opening the park, when the large majority are back at school. It was already dead today, and that's without the thousands of schools that will be back in term next week. Of the 16 days the kids from these particular counties you mentioned have off school they still have 14 days to choose from to visit. :)

    Here's a tip... the park is going to be nearly completely deserted for the next 2 days, and also on the Monday and Thursday next week. Well worth a visit for low queues, especially lucky circumstances if you have kids off school ;) Enjoy.
     
  6. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    Jesus, all I'm reading here is post after post of cry baby excuses with people defending the park. The place should be open every day from Spring to Autumn without having to check. Fact!

    Anyone who is interested in visiting Alton Towers would expect it to be open every day. Most people know it is open seasonally. Most people expect the park to open roughly 9am to 5pm. A small portion of people don't know the park is closed during winter.

    That's the way the general public perceive Alton Towers and most other leisure businesses. If you don't believe that then you're detached from reality. And yes, Towers are 100% responsible for communicating to the GP that they are now no longer open on some days.

    As other people have said, this will definitely lead to uproar and more negative publicity for the park if they don't manage to be absolutely clear on the subject.
     
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  7. k10

    k10 TowersStreet Member

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    Speaking as a shareholder I absolutely don't want them closing on additional days.

    If you have a shop and you aren't getting enough custom you don't reduce your hours!

    There are enough people in the UK to make such an attraction commercially viable throughout the main season and especially over school holidays. If they aren't getting visitors then something is wrong with either the product or the pricing. They need to work hard to make their offer more compelling to attract the vistors they should be getting. Whether that is the ride line-up, the costs, the f&b offerings, the parking costs, etc. I know what I would do - get my head down and invest hard both financially but also in the staff - where the real magic and good experiences will come from.

    They also need to be more transparent about opening times and the rides that are closed to manage the expectations of the public - the vast majority of which are not representative of the visitors to this sort of forum.
     
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  8. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Actually if I was running a shop and I was open until 11pm but between 10pm and 11pm I got two customers most nights, then I would start closing at 10pm as the cost of staff, heat, light for that extra hour isn't worth it for two customers.

    The pricing seemed to be OK at AT before the Smiler incident. A lot of people moaned that it was expensive, but OK with a 2for1. That is still the case, the price is high, but OK with a 2for1. The Smiler incident is what has caused low crowds and some of those people who have been put off going to a theme park following the accident may actually think that cheaper prices means it is less safe. Some people may never want to visit a theme park following the incident, or will stick to "kiddie" rides (CBeebies or Thomasland).
     
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  9. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    I've done the Towers for many years on the quietest days,
    specifically the last weekdays and the early days of the season when I know the queues will be almost zero.
    In the last 20 years I have only ever visited once on a busy day, vowing never again, and I have stuck to that vow!
    I have a Merlin season ticket this year after seeing the ridetimes through the season last year after the Smiler crash,
    for the previous decade it was a BPB pass.
    The parks lose massive amounts of money opening on the quietest days of the "season".
    It makes no economic sense to open on these days, sometimes staff literally have outnumbered punters!
    I love them because I'm a punter, not a shareholder, but the money lost in opening on the quietest days means less funds for a nice shiny new coaster.
    I imagine losses could be many tens of thousands per day.
    The Sun readers will fill the park more this year, as they will only have 3 weekdays instead of five,
    but I bet they will give out the same number, if not more, overall.
     
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  10. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    I don't think anyone particularly supports the decision, it's just the over dramatic hysterics over the closed days show how little people think past the geek goggles.

    But to put it simply if a crash has pretty much removed a third or more of your footfall and an accountant answering to shareholders says you have to cut costs you choose one of the following:

    1) part opening on quiet days but requiring guests to pay the same to get in.

    2) close the park completely on low forecast days.

    I agree with the choice they made based on the gun that was put to their head based on the corporate structure they are subject to (which ironically caused the situation they are now in).

    Do I personally agree it's overall a great idea... Not really. I would have said you needed to loss-lead this season to get back your audience based on offering a top quality product.... But that choice was never given to them.

    But that said 20 closed days mid season is not the apocalypse some here suggest.
     
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  11. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    The one thing i am wondering is why they don't do tower and garden days on closed days. Aim them at the national trust market, and just open coffee corner. ticket price £7 to £10 with free parking.

    low staff costs, big chance to sell tea and light bites.
     
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  12. themeparkfan

    themeparkfan TowersStreet Member

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    Good point Delta. I was thinking a similar thing today. I went with the kids today and took my uncle and aunt who remarked " what lovely grounds" while on skyride, and " what an impressive building" while walking past the towers. However very little is done with them. Maybe Merlin is missing a trick with this, get the whole family to come including grandparents and other family members. So more gate money taken and coffee shop takings.
     
  13. themeparkfan

    themeparkfan TowersStreet Member

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    On another point I feel the park really is missing Hex and driving school. Very few places to take people not wanting to go on big coasters and cloud Cuckoo land is very lacking.My 8 year old son was a bit lost and got sad only having frog hopper, gallopers and twirling toadstool to go on. Perhaps this is the main reason for low crowds so far. Have Towers put too many eggs in one basket with the Galantica experiment??
    One last point. Where on the Towers website do they inform us of all these future plans?? ALL the closed signs direct us to the website to discover the future plans for the closed sites.
     
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  14. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Delta - thats a really good idea!

    The Swiss Cottage would be an ideal spot to have Afternoon Tea for those not wanting to do the rides and enjoy some of the history of the place.
     
  15. SuperMuscleMan

    SuperMuscleMan TowersStreet Member

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    I do think your right, on the closed days maybe just have it open for the NT audience, yes your not going to make millions however you can turn a tidy profit from a tearoom and open garden. If they planned well in advance then coach tours that visit other gardens could go and open up a nice low cost money maker. As you do need tearoom staff and a few extras guiding people about but what with the day to day running costs your outlay is alot less.
     
  16. danni87

    danni87 TowersStreet Member

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    Definitely a good idea! I work in a newsagents and there's an older couple who buy the sun and get the free tickets just for a day out round the gardens.
     
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  17. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Great shout. The major hurdle in the past with catering to this particular market was that it would be difficult (and time consuming) to distinguish between which guests had paid for full park entry including rides, and those that had simply paid a lower price to visit the gardens and grounds. Now, that problem would not exist on these days and they know exactly when the park will be closed to thrill-seekers so a few of these days could be planned in advance and advertised in some cheap way beforehand.

    In my opinion Towers should really have a look at the possibility of doing this. It doesn't even have to be every single day that they are closed, even a handful would do to begin with.
     
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  18. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Delta - why dont you tweet them with your idea and see what they say............ probably something to do with TLC! lol
     
  19. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    Aim at the national trust market you say? Free parking with low gate prices you say? Open the Towers and Gardens you say? Blimey!

    Well, it's nice to dream, but they hate opening the Towers ruins however. That big hunk of bricks sitting in the middle of the park is a total inconvenience, and add to the fact that most of it is sealed off for storage and Scarefest maze's. So straight away the effort required is asking a bit too much. Then you have the gardens, or what's left of them I should say. Again, left to rot and gone to crap since they have hardly any gardeners left to look after them.

    Under the current management and marketing teams at Alton Towers, it'll NEVER happen, and definitely not under Merlin's watch. For one they can't sell Fastrack to anyone in this market, and another is older people aren't going to pay £4.00 for a cup of tea and £10.00 for sandwich. Neither do they want to pay for an onride photo of the new benches.

    It's a lovely idea though, and one that any normal business would be keen to embrace.
     
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  20. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Biggest issue with the ruins was probably the loss of the black hole tent. That used to be a huge storage space for the park, they can't build anything new to house stuff and the ruins are a good option.

    It's a real annoyance of mine though as they should be open to the public!
     
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