NemeJaney wrote:I'm not sure we'd see much media on opening day. I think they will be mostly constrained to a press launch event / previews. I did make a comment in the Nemesis thread that what crowds do arrive, won't be really reaching FV until later in the day, and means they don't have Nemesis going around empty, which would show a quiet park.
...Perhaps their bizarre plans have something to do with how the Wicker Man area will flow, so are sticking to them for that reason? It's entirely possible that they've announced these times to keep people on that side of the park in the morning for a better appearance of guest numbers in the early days (especially if there are going to be media cameras everywhere who would love to capture an image of a struggling park), then have been intending all along to revert to earlier openings again as the initial novelty of WM wears off. Maybe that's a slightly salty, far-fetched theory, but it could be a positive factor for Towers among all the negatives.
Joel Allen wrote:I think we might see some changes over the course of the season tied to guest numbers, whether they would actually U-turn before opening day remains to be seen. It's a massive distraction and has seriously clouded the PR drive for SW8. What might be the deciding factor is whether the mainstream press pick up on it and run a "Struggling Alton Towers, where admission is £50+ and the rides aren't even open all day" type clickbait.
I just hope we get a backtrack from Alton due to the publics response.
Whilst this has undoubtedly upset a lot of enthusiasts (who would consider themselves loyal to Merlin and the Resort through the recent troubles), if it bleeds into the general public realm, this year will be head south and they'll be little new in the next few years to pull it back. SW8 year needed to shine, and bad word of mouth following some deep cuts and annual pass curtailments could mean 2018 is off to a sluggish start. What hasn't helped is doing the Annual Pass sale & Park "Season Ticket", before revealing another set of restrictions - making people question their investment. Refusing refunds, whilst likely legal, isn't particularly endearing to a park that could do with a lot of understanding at the moment. The timing of all of this is really poor, but gives the passholders the sense they were tricked - and now trapped. Somethings going to give somewhere.
Justin wrote:Whilst the quality/availability of food at the Resort needs to improve, I'm not sure the gate figures would give a strong business case for chains to invest, particularly when they've been brought in house before and also given the rates Alton would need to charge.
An interesting thought made on Facebook, but would it be better for Alton/Merlin to outsource their F&B again?
Given how many food outlets haven't been open in recent years, and clearly concerns that caused the smokehouse to be delayed/cancelled, doesn't give a strong case for external investment.
I miss the days of "beat the traffic, stay for dinner" signs at some of the restaurants - where you could get breakfast, lunch and dinner on park. Perhaps returning to that might be more profitable, but the food offering would need to be better than last year!
how about reintroducing sponsorship, as long as it it done correctly without a detrimental affect on the attractions/area!
Unfortunately what we've seen so far with a Carex bottle and some blue bunnies is not really going to bring the really serious revenue, I don't think that Alton Towers is the powerful brand it was the last time they did sponsorship, which is what they need to bring in the big bucks. And I think the chances of screwing it up would be so high and with the reaction to these cuts at the moment, could be perceived as desperate. I think they need to build the brand value back up, before even thinking of overt sponsorship. The other challenge is with things like the IP protection of CBeebies Land, it can significantly limit sponsorship. In terms of reaching the normally desirable 18-30 demographic, there are more modern ways to get through to them with most conventionally strategies seeming dated.
Business is hard, and it's easy for us all to pick fault. So all of this is easier said than done. There's always going to be questions of the decision to go public, as to whether that has prompted a drive for quick wins, rather than long term plans, although recent events will have been having a profound impact. My hope with 2018 was that Merlin would run AT at further loss if needed, to put on a compelling guest experience that brings positive word of mouth, and happy stories would hopeful reach countless friends through social media - much more trustworthy and organic than ad campaigns. This might have meant looking at ticket prices (or offers - like the season pass), but certainly improvements to food and entertainment offering. ATTP/Pirates back on the Towers Street / Mutiny Bay Courtyard, good opening times etc.
I have a worry if they keep cutting, they will end up in cycle that would see the park deteriorate. Alton have a really good line up of rides, it's the guest experience they need to focus on, and for me it's good ride availability, giving park ents more resource to create the memories we all treasure, as well as making to food offering something guests would look forward to.