Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia will host a new Oktoberfest food festival with sauerkraut, hand-battered fried fish, an assortment of beers and German cuisines as part of a series of new seasonal events designed to attract visitors and give season passholders an incentivizing reason to return.
Unlike other theme parks that saw an uptick in visitors, attendance at Six Flags’ 27 parks in North America tumbled 22% in the second quarter ending after the July 4 holiday.
Chief executive Selim Bassoul took over in November and has since attempted to stem the company’s losses by increasing annual pass prices from $50 to $115 and cutting full-time staff by 25%. The price changes drove up guest spending by 23%. However, low guest numbers continued to negatively hit revenue and profits.
In a conference call Aug. 11, Bassoul said, “Six Flags resorted to excessive discounting to drive volume.”
“In 1994, a season pass to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey averaged $75. At the time Great Adventure only had four roller coasters,” Bassoul said in the call. “Fast forward 25 years to 2019, and we were still charging on average only $75 for our season pass, despite the fact that we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in our park, and we now have 14 roller coasters, including several of the top rated coasters in the world. Just to keep up with inflation, we would have had to increase the price by 70%, but instead, our season pass price remained flat.”
Bassoul said his two main priorities were to make it easier for the company to do business by reducing layers of management and shifting decision-making to the parks, along with focusing on guests who are willing to pay more.
Oktoberfest is one of the many events along with Fright Fest that the company is hosting in hopes of driving up visitor numbers.