Earlier this week I wrote that cheap Six Flags
Even if it meant fewer guests initially, smiles can be contagious, and word-of-mouth would eventually find turnstiles whirling about like a revved-up propeller. Yet there are ways to make smiles grow wider and propellers twirl even faster.
Last year I suggested that Six Flags follow the lead of Holiday World in Indiana in offering free soft drinks. Easily the fastest-growing amusement park in the country, with attendance nearly tripling over the past dozen years, guest-friendly policies such as free sunscreen, free PepsiCo
Is Six Flags so proud that it can't be envious of a family-owned park? Even Disney
Free pop isn't an elixir, but with 30 different parks in its portfolio, it wouldn't hurt to see Six Flags get creative and try different daring initiatives at its thrill havens. Stagnancy will only bleed its creditors dry slowly.
Six Flags needs to figure out where it wants to be when it has to don the stilts and take the big steps to get there. The company wants to attract more families? Of course. That's the disposable income layup. So let it think like a family. That means adding more table service restaurants to give young families a chance to recharge and extend their day at the park.
Think about it. Disney's Animal Kingdom is the only Disney park in Florida to close before the lucrative dinner business kicks in. Why? Well, it's because, quite inexplicably, there is no table service restaurant within the actual park beyond Landry's
Six Flags also needs to embrace the fruits of technology. Last year I wrote an article for InterPark Magazine on how amusement park operators are underestimating the potential of digital delivery of onboard ride photos. Companies have also sorely underutilized their websites as a way to keep their fan base close and to understand them a little better.
In short, Six Flags needs to win back its audience's attention. Browsing Lance Hart's Screamscape.com park enthusiast and rumor site, you see a void of excitement when it comes to the buzz that Six Flags should be generating. Folks, Six Flags is building the world's biggest and fastest roller coaster this year, and no one seems to care.
Yet quality rides have never been a problem for Six Flags, especially at its flagship destinations. It's always been the pretty girl with a personality void. It's that eye-catching photo in your wallet, yet you wouldn't be caught dead taking her to meet your friends and family. It's a shame to see the company's board sit idly by, aspiring to be an old maid while its shoes were made for dancing.
Can Six Flags be saved? Here are some recent Fool.com stories on the park's struggles:
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz did manage to go on some fascinating coasters this past summer -- including Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio and X at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California. He owns units in Cedar Fair and shares in Disney. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.