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Thorpe Park 2020

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Following on from low visitor numbers in 2019 (easily forecast from the below-average wait times vs. last year/ 2017 at the park when you'd usually expect the park to be busier) the park's opening times have been massively reduced I presume in anticipation for even lower visitor numbers next year:

https://www.thorpepark.com/resort-info/opening-times-and-travel

 

 A lot more 5pm shuts, there are now 8pm shuts during FNs and also the latest the park will stay open for outside of the FNs period is 6pm (IMO 8pm shuts during busy periods such as schools week - where there are now 5pm shuts - and the busier periods of summer were extremely good for if you visited on a busy day).

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Every year at this time we have this same conversation "oh my god, they're cutting back on hours, the scrounging, money grabbing people..." and so on.. or words to that effect. And every year, around Feb, the hours are updated. It is likely that the Summer ones are just budget place-holders and will be finalised in March when further details are known about the 2020 budget / expectations.

 

So, my take-away advice on this is to not take these at face value as the final operating hours as they have changed every year up until now and I don't see how 2020 will be any different.

 

Remember - 10pm closes throughout the summer in 2019 weren't truly known until close to the season kick-off (more were added)

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35 minutes ago, daboywunda said:

And every year, around Feb, the hours are updated. It is likely that the Summer ones are just budget place-holders and will be finalised in March when further details are known about the 2020 budget / expectations.

I mean, this raises questions:

1. Why bother putting in placeholder hours?

2. Why is the budget for the season only finalised in February/March?

 

Of course, these opening hours were released like a month ago and I'm sure have been discussed on here before. The Fright Nights 10-8 hours makes sense given how dead the park has been previously (though I do wonder if 12-10 would be more sensible / at least worth exploring?). There seems to be less closed days for 2020 which is good, as is the lack of 4pm closes. 

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They'll release provisional seasonal hours in advance so that guests can start to plan trips early. It's the same principle as holiday companies advertising next year's Summer holidays in September the previous year.

 

The OPERATIONAL budget for 2020 will be provisionally in place, but won't be confirmed until into the new year - particularly as the season doesn't start until March, there is no need for it to be confirmed before then. This gives them an extra few months to finalise their hours, their staffing levels, analyse last years' trends etc. The financial year may even run April to March, so the budgets won't be confirmed until the new Tax Year anyway.

 

I also think (but haven't done the analysis myself) that the hours "saved" at Fright Nights are actually being used to open on days that were closed in previous years.. Essentially and very loosely speaking, the park has a number of "operating hours" to use in a year (which would be fully costed for staff, operations, stock etc) and they will allocate these according to trend and cost analysis. So, for example, they will have 5,000 hours (it isn't 5,000, this is just an example) to use between 1 Jan to Dec 31. They get to choose exactly when they are open between those dates. So, if they wanted to spend 30 hours opening in Half Term, they can. But they have to be confident that they will be profitable and warrant spending them 30 hours that could have been used opening for 3 days mid-week mid-season instead. For that reason, they will release provisional dates early, to gauge whether they have the offering correct and then re-allocate / shift around based on reaction. Remember Alton and their 10 / 11 / miday staggered ride openings? Same principle.

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19 hours ago, daboywunda said:

They'll release provisional seasonal hours in advance so that guests can start to plan trips early. It's the same principle as holiday companies advertising next year's Summer holidays in September the previous year.

But what's the point when most people won't plan trips this early? How many people do we expect have planned their trip to Thorpe Park now? Especially at a point when their 2020 offering hasn't been announced. I bet I can count the number on one hand. Thorpe simply isn't big enough to attract enough attention for people to book their trips now.

 

And still, why advertise provisional hours? Why not just 'Open' or 'Closed'?

 

Quote

I also think (but haven't done the analysis myself) that the hours "saved" at Fright Nights are actually being used to open on days that were closed in previous years..

The park is doing five 10-8pm days for Fright Nights. Even taking into account the extra budget required to run Fright Nights, that can't equate to more than 2 extra open days. And if that's what they have done, there's also the added benefit of the fact that the park simply isn't busy enough to warrant being open for 12 hours on those days. And it still doesn't answer why they choose to close earlier rather than open later.

Quote

So, if they wanted to spend 30 hours opening in Half Term, they can. But they have to be confident that they will be profitable and warrant spending them 30 hours that could have been used opening for 3 days mid-week mid-season instead. For that reason, they will release provisional dates early, to gauge whether they have the offering correct and then re-allocate / shift around based on reaction.

Based on the past 2-3 seasons, this is something they have consistently gotten wrong. The park have chosen days to open for longer on days where they couldn't justify it. They've not advertised their longer opening properly, nor have they given people a proper reason to stay.

 

My favourite example comes from 2018, where the park decided to open 10-10 instead of 10-6 on a Saturday in May 4 days in advance. This is despite the weather forecasting heavy rain all day AND there being a low pre-book. And low and behold, the day was a disaster.

 

I get there's no exact science to this, but Thorpe consistently get this wrong lately, when 95% of parks get this right. That's a big problem.

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I will say - we went to FN's on a 10-10 dead day last year and we struggled to make it to the end and/or keep busy - so much so that this year we've said when we go again, we'd get there for midday ish... so a 10-8pm in that sense sounds good to me. The early Thursdays for Fright Nights are/were so painfully dead really it was untrue - think we managed 8 run throughs on Crreak Freak (not that that is a complaint as it was fantastic) but still! We also got all the other mazes done at least once!

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2 hours ago, TPGG said:

When are the dead days?

As Matt, just said the first 3 Thursday / Friday nights of fright nights.

The park really does lack atmosphere on these days.

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Given how the park is cutting back on opening hours for quieter days next year I'd also presume they're going to go back to only being on 1 train/ min train capacity for SAW/TWD:TR on most coasters during the quieter days.

I've also never understood the 10am openings given how most people tend to arrive at the park at 12. I'd rather see the park open at 12 and close later than open really early especially as most people don't live close enough to be able to wake up at a reasonable hour.

They could also use that extra 2 hours to actually clean the park.

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1 hour ago, Ivsetti said:

Given how the park is cutting back on opening hours for quieter days next year I'd also presume they're going to go back to only being on 1 train/ min train capacity for SAW/TWD:TR on most coasters during the quieter days.

I've also never understood the 10am openings given how most people tend to arrive at the park at 12. I'd rather see the park open at 12 and close later than open really early especially as most people don't live close enough to be able to wake up at a reasonable hour.

They could also use that extra 2 hours to actually clean the park.

What do all those at the shark do til 12 then?

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1 hour ago, Glitch said:

What do all those at the shark do til 12 then?

12 could work for later nights such as fright nights but not sure if a normal day day a 12pm opening would really suit the park.

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On 12/22/2019 at 2:55 PM, Ivsetti said:

I've also never understood the 10am openings given how most people tend to arrive at the park at 12. I'd rather see the park open at 12 and close later than open really early especially as most people don't live close enough to be able to wake up at a reasonable hour.

Most people don't travel from that far frankly; I reckon at least 90% of people visiting live under a 2hr drive from the park. Leaving at 8am is hardly an unreasonable hour.

 

The trouble with closing later is a culture thing. British culture very much revolves around 'get in early, get out early' so people can do other things with their evenings. Convincing people to stay at a park later in the UK is difficult and, to date, the only thing that really works is Halloween / firework events. Outside of that, it's tricky to convince people to stay.

On 12/22/2019 at 2:55 PM, Ivsetti said:

They could also use that extra 2 hours to actually clean the park.

Is there a difference between cleaning the park before it's open as opposed to after its closed? Either way you're having to pay for staff to be there for the same amount of time.

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