Increasing In-Park Spend: The Pricing Effect

Cotton candy booth at an amusement park

What if we told you that by simply shifting when your customers first purchase a ticket to your attraction business, you could significantly impact how much they ultimately spend when they visit?

Human psychology is the underlying factor in many of our purchasing decisions. In fact, one of the goals of a sound revenue management strategy is to shift customer behavior in order to maximize yield and revenue. Here at Catalate, we’ve found that dynamic pricing, which encourages customers to purchase tickets in advance, actually increases the amount consumers spend once they arrive at your venue.

How does this work, exactly?

Parks, attractions, and resorts that employ dynamic pricing — a revenue management strategy that continuously adjusts prices for admission based on demand, season, day, time of entry, and purchase date — drive more advanced online sales than those that do not employ any pricing strategies. When consumers buy tickets online in advance, in-park spend also increases.

For example, consider the customer who buys a 4-pack of tickets to a theme park for his family one month before visitation. He is more likely to spend higher amounts on food, drink, and souvenirs upon arrival than his neighbor who bought the same 4-pack of tickets the day of at the walk-up window.

Buying tickets in advance causes a simple shift in perception. If you’ve just swiped a credit card for a few hundred dollars in entry fees, you’re less likely to splurge on cotton candy or soda. By employing dynamic pricing, not only do visitors’ attitude around the financial costs change — their patience and perception of the overall experience also change.

When driving online sales with dynamic pricing, guests are able to enter the park more quickly. By eliminating timely transactions at the gate, visitors are more likely to spend a few extra minutes in line for snacks or souvenirs once in the park.

This shift in time spent entering the park can also affect mood. Without long wait times to enter the park, guests are likely to feel more positive about their in-park experience from the second they pass through the gate, leading to higher spending decisions.

A recent article by Deloitte in the Wall Street Journal supports this perspective around how purchase decisions impact consumer psychology. The article states, “Dynamic pricing is uniquely valuable because it is one of the quickest levers a business can pull to affect consumer behavior.”

In a post-COVID world, consumers are used to navigating the world at their own pace online and don’t want to spend time crowded in lines when they arrive at their destination. This is why it is important that they can purchase the best-priced ticket before ever arriving at the park.

On the operational side, selling online in advance means that managers can run their parks’ or attractions’ operations more effectively by proactively planning based on pre-sale numbers. Operators can make better decisions around staffing and F&B to order when they have a better idea of how many people to expect on-site. This ultimately leads to a better guest experience, which again impacts in-park spend.

So how do you improve operations and the guest experience all while increasing in-park spend?

Start by taking a look at your revenue management strategy and how you can employ dynamic pricing. With a smart pricing solution, parks, resorts, and attractions not only drive online sales and greater in-park revenue, but they can offer a best-in-class buying experience with better browsing options, the ability to shop on any device, with multiple payment methods.

Catalate is a full-service SaaS solution that offers customized pricing strategies, an e-commerce solution, and opportunities for enhanced distribution. It has processed more than $1 billion in transactions and manages 50 million price points for customers. Get in touch today.



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