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Even though most of the revenue comes from the GPs paying full-price for every thing,I think enthusiast opinions do matter since they're the ones who buy season passes and make multiple visits to 2 or more parks every year.It's like a casino-they have to consider both the free-wheeling high roller and the cheap low rollers and try to appeal to everyone in some way.

Um, "normal" people purchase season passes too, especially if the park is at least somewhat local to a larger community, such as with the southern California parks, Kennywood, Elitch Gardens and Kentucky Kingdom, to name a few.

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^Yes--there are plenty of people with BGW season passes who are not coaster enthusiasts. Many people prefer the shows and special events to the rides.

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Someone pointed out once on this forum that enthusiasts actually typically spend less while at parks, going outside the park to eat, buying a minimum of souvenirs, skipping upcharge attractions, etc. I don't know if that's true or not, but it makes sense to me because if you do a lot of something, it's only natural you'd find all the tricks to save some dough while you're doing it.

 

Again, I'm not saying the motivation for designers to care about enthusiasts' opinions is monetary, it's because enthusiasts have a good grip on what makes rides great and generally rides that appeal to enthusiasts more will also appeal to the GP more. I totally agree with this:

 

 

Do our opinion's dictate whether our homepark will add an Intamin PnP wooden coaster over a B&M wing coaster? Absolutely not. But I do feel we are valued in the industry, and our fanboyism can be the difference in dictating smaller changes. And I do feel the difference in our opinion's versus the GP is greatly exaggerated. Generally speaking, I feel our favorites generally line up with what the "adult" GP feel as well. I do feel they have a greater tendency to gravitate to more comfortable, high capacity attractions (like most B&M's) compared to us enthusiasts, who may be more willing to bite the bullet for the biggest thrill, but I don't think the gap is that vast.

 

The only difference, and this is what I was trying to get at in my original post, is that enthusiasts are just a little more knowledgeable and hence, discerning. Like for instance, most CP visitors probably get that Mean Streak is a little lame, but many probably think this is simply the difference between steel and wooden coasters. An enthusiast would know exactly why it's lame and what you could change about the ride to make it less lame.

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When the "enthusiast" scene (not including people who just love rides and coasters) probably make up only a fraction of a percent of the total revenue that a park receives, I highly doubt there are many parks that really care about enthusiast's opinions.

 

The only park I know of that actively listens and panders to enthusiasts is Knoebels, but even then their biggest market is the general public, so they're out to please the GP before the enthusiasts.

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I would say an enthusiast's opinion has more power than someone classified as part of the "GP" since a single enthusiast spends more money at parks and is more likely to publically criticize a park. Overall, the GP as a whole is much larger than the enthusiast community, so in that sense their opinion matters much more overall. From my experiences speaking with park executives, they seem to really want to hear what my opinion is, and I try to keep my opinion in line with what is realistic and what matters to them.

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When it comes to the financial bottom line, no, enthusiasts opinions do not matter to the park. We probably make up less then 1% of any given parks annual attendance, regardless of how many times we attend with our season passes.

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There are some enthusiasts who have a relationship with some parks, and those parks may seek advice of those individuals and their appreciable experience with rides to get information about potential additions. I'm sure the opinions of Furius Baco in the enthusiast world have not, by and large, endeared it to possible customers. But that's about the extent of it.

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Let me just say that I'm pretty sure that the GP wasn't begging SFMM to get rid of Revolution's OTSRs.

 

But GP opinion and perspective probably had a lot to do with OTSRs being used on many rides.

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From working in a Park Office in the Operations and some Marketing capacity, the value of enthusiast opinions is significant enough that we discuss it briefly, but we do not make operating decisions based on them alone. Usually an enthusiast opinion is very closely aligned with the opinions of our guests. If lines are moving too slow for many enthusiasts, you can bet many guests are sharing the same feelings. Enthusiast opinions are important when it comes to maintaining a positive image online through social media influences. An easy way to see the importance of enthusiast opinions is doing a Google search; especially images when a very large amount of images generated come from enthusiasts and are coupled with enthusiast opinions of the park. Another example was during a recent off-season enthusiast event, we were gracious to have so many people saying so many good things about our park. It was great publicity we were able to share through our social media outlets at a very low cost.

 

There are times I have said in my head that "Wow, this will piss off a few enthusiasts," because usually I am making a sacrifice that an Enthusiast may not value as much as the Guest or the success of the park. We decided that one of our coasters must stack for the second train to dispatch to reduce chances of lift stops which strike a bit of fear into guests. We have dropped down to one train on a Saturday because a rainstorm stuck a knife into our attendance, and sending trains out at 50% or less makes little mechanical sense (There were more enthusiasts left in the park than I thought until I was cussed at a few times).

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There are times I have said in my head that "Wow, this will piss off a few enthusiasts," because usually I am making a sacrifice that an Enthusiast may not value as much as the Guest or the success of the park. We decided that one of our coasters must stack for the second train to dispatch to reduce chances of lift stops which strike a bit of fear into guests. We have dropped down to one train on a Saturday because a rainstorm stuck a knife into our attendance, and sending trains out at 50% or less makes little mechanical sense (There were more enthusiasts left in the park than I thought until I was cussed at a few times).

The genuine enthusiasts are the ones who recognize and respect the feelings of the other guests, as well as who recognize the team members that make the park work for everyone.

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Let me just say that I'm pretty sure that the GP wasn't begging SFMM to get rid of Revolution's OTSRs.

 

But GP opinion and perspective probably had a lot to do with OTSRs being used on many rides.

 

I doubt it. Probably more to do with liability insurance and the difficulties of engineering proper lapbars and proper trains. Schwarzkopf always got a lot of credit for doing that, but my recollection is that when they had to throw sheets over a bunch of bodies in Edmonton, that's when the accordions came. Not until Premier years later did it return to being en vogue.

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