Disney’s been a part of my life since the Magic Kingdom’s grand opening in Orlando. Much remains the same since 1971. And, like any thriving business, they continuously evolve.
The Orlando theme park always used some type of package option. During the early years, we’d purchase park admission. Tickets were $3.50 for adults and $1 for children.
Since that only covered the entrance fee, we also bought a book of tickets for the various rides. The best rides were classified as E rides, priced at ninety cents per ride. The least popular rides, the A rides, were ten cents per ride.
The booklet didn’t include many of those premium E tickets. The A, B, C and D rides couldn’t compare to Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Of course, some A tickets returned home with me: untouched in the booklet.
To my relief, they restructured the ticket pricing system in 1981. Disney eliminated the ride classifications. The passport system replaced the booklet of tickets.
As a kid, I couldn’t be happier with the change. No more begging for additional E tickets. The price for the all-inclusive tickets jumped to $15 for an all-day pass.
When Disney World first opened, a family typically spent under $300. The Magic Kingdom Park and the Intercontinental Hotel were the only attractions. The additional parks and resort properties gradually phased in over the decades.
Disney’s price strategy now positions them as a premium priced product. The company realizes many families simply cannot afford the price of admission. And, they accept this fact. On the other hand, plenty of people happily pay for the Magic Kingdom experience. They know their ideal client.
Their customers, known as guests, expect a memorable experience. Although their prices steadily rise, customers continue to walk through their gates.
Disney’s often the price leader. They raise their admission prices. Then all the other local theme parks follow their lead.
Currently adult tickets on peak days max out at $149. Those rates aren’t scaring their customers away. Since 2015, Disney’s revenue increased by $4.1 billion. I’m sure the stock holders are very happy.
Disney, as we know it today, offers something for everyone. Most guests purchase The Park Hopper pass or resort packages. A family easily spends $8k for a one week Disney vacation.
The Secret Weapon
As the company matured, bundled options replaced ala carte selections. Packages became their secret weapon. This singular move significantly increased their revenue and the value of a guest.
Here are three primary ways they’ve increased their profit margin.
New customers. All-inclusive hotel and theme park options appeal to first time visitors. Vacation packages reduce overwhelm. They simplify the decision-making process.
Increase spending. Guests staying at one of the Disney properties spend more money than tourists who book hotels off their site. Why go off-site when Disney has all of your needs taken care of?
Frequency. Memberships, annual passes and state resident rates encourage guests to visit more often. My parents took advantage of the seasonal Florida resident rates. While growing up, we visited Disney every single year.
Up, Down and Cross
Let’s evaluate how their packages follow pricing theory guidelines. First, they offer a variety of options. Each package combines hotel with park entrance fees. But, the similarities end there.
The price sensitive guests opt for the budget packages. The majority of guests opt for the mid-tier resort packages. Of course, the luxury packages appeal to the “money is no object” guests.
Money isn’t being left on the table at Disney. Their sales strategy includes add-ons and time-sensitive offers.
Upsells. Make things easy by adding a meal plan onto your package.
Downsells. If the packages don’t appeal to you, then check out the ala-carte options.
Cross-sells. The Disney experience extends beyond the traditional Magic Kingdom. Which other parks on the property do you plan to visit during your stay?
Geography. State residents receive discounts during certain times of year. Or, they can purchase an annual pass. This encourages people to visit during low peak seasons.
Limited time offers. If you time it right, you can take advantage of special offers and discounts.
Follow the Leader
Disney has an entire team that’s dedicated to pricing and revenue. How will you follow the leader? You can adapt their pricing strategy to your business, even if you don’t oversee a multi-billion dollar enterprise business.
Which price strategy appeals to you?
Surge pricing. Your rates change according to demand. Raise your rates during your busy times and lower rates during off-peak hours.
Packages. Bundle your services together. Then create 3 packages for your clients to choose from.
Increase the value of a customer. Find new ways for your current clients to spend money with you. Find a gap between what they need and what’s available. Then, fill the gap.
How well do you know your ideal client? Create an experience for them. And, deliver exceptional customer service. When you’ve got those things dialed in, then price is no longer the primary factor.
Disney’s proven that an ideal client isn’t price sensitive. They’ll happily pay for experience and service. What works for them, works for you too.
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