How Six Flags could learn from this class

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 after years of being in devastating amounts of debt, poor management and multiple changes in who owned the company. This initiates the first issue as there is no way there can be a good way to manage a large company like this with so many changes in leadership. By the time the people that work for Six Flags got used to the new style of leadership, the ownership changed again therefore messing up the whole system again. A long-term plan should have been established with somebody that would be there the whole time this be through the different stages of ownership.

The company started doing a little bit better again in mid-2010, and today in 2013 analysts say that the company can have a good season ahead of it as it has new attractions that can improve the attendance and therefore the revenue. Through finally having good management again the company has improved season pass sales, less discounting and more financial income through parts of the business such as dining. What the earlier owners and managers should have realized is that forecasting plays a huge role in how their business is doing. They should have realized that discounting is good but definitely can not be the end all be all as it may attract people, but there has to be a line draw to make sure it is still profitable for the company and therefore the employees.

The fact that there are a lot of new rides and attractions posts a lot of opportunity in terms of that a lot more people will start showing up. One of the reasons that Six Flags Corporation had been struggling is that old customers were getting saturated with the rides and attractions that were available to them because they had been to the parks so often. With the new rides a lot of the long-time goers will start going again and the season ticket sales will go up again.

Management also mentioned that this will not be the old Six Flags ever again as it will establish a new business plan and “has willingness to rethink its business model and track record of success.” It seems as if this new set of management knows how to promise the company future success, but the question is if it will actually be able to successfully implement all of these new strategies to guarantee they won’t slide into losses again. The keys to success for a company like Six Flags are good forecasting for what needs to be done in order to get a lot of tickets sold, good management of the employees and facilities, along with making sure the rides and attractions provide variety and do not get boring.

10 thoughts on “How Six Flags could learn from this class

  1. I definitely hear you on older customers becoming less reliable for Six Flags. Personally, I know my groin section can only take the Iron Wolf ride so many more times. Furthermore, I totally agree with you on the benefits of forecasting. I used to work at Panera Bread and they used “Past to Predict the Future” forecasting to a very profitable extent. For example, Panera Bread’s bakers knew how many muffins or loaves of bread to bake on a certain day depending upon the demand on that day last year. Panera also factored in that newer products would likely in higher demand so to make more of them. I can see the same process being applied to Six Flags in so many situations. For example, Six Flags can have less First Aid staff on hand on days where attendance is expected to be lower. This saves Six Flags a lot of money in the long run, and allows future generations of men to suffer on the Iron Wolf.

  2. I think this post is spot on! So far what we have discussed in this class, about the importance of management and it’s affect in operations, is exemplified in this post. Furthermore, the importance of forecasting and predicting the future of the company is important for the success of Six Flags. As mentioned in the post and the comment above me, Six Flags needs to come up with new attractions in order to have season ticket holders return. What is the fun of going on every same ride you have gone on for years? With that said, I do believe Six Flags should keep some of those classic rides (American Eagle, Giant Drop, The Viper) for the novelty of the park.

    Along with that concept, Six Flags should think of the influence of the Product Life Cycle. They should forecast where their current rides reside on this cycle, as well as understand the planning that is necessary to develop new rides on the cycle (both financially and commercially). The introduction and growth stages of the product life cycle require longer forecasts than maturity and decline. The forecasting through the life cycle is useful at staffing levels, inventory levels, and factory capacity. As mentioned above, cutting staff on projected slow days could cut costs incurred by Six Flags, help them boost revenues, and then maybe offer specialty deals once in a while.

    Along with using the concept of product life cycle, having a deep understanding of projecting/monitoring/staying on track of forecasts is vital to a company. Six Flags can pair this with a SWOT analysis in order to develop themselves further in the market and obtain new customers. To have a steady management with effective goals and operating efficiency would do a lot of good for Six Flags, and I think they are finally starting to realize this in their corporate offices.

  3. I definitely think that if Six Flags wants to stay in business, they need to make some major changes in their business model. Running a Six Flags park daily probably costs a lot of money, and if people aren’t coming to your park, you are continually going to lose money. I think one strategy they need to pursue, and it seems like they are going to, is to get more people into their parks. They need to not only retain their current customers, but draw in new ones. It seems like they plan to manage to do that with new rides, which I think will work. I think forecasting can help Six Flags see if their strategy is working. Forecasting can also allow them to ensure resources are available on large, profitable times, and costs and resources can be cut during down times.

  4. Forecasting will certainly help them save money and think of better strategies, however Six Flags needs to also think of ways to retain those regulars as mentioned in the post. They can do this by being more active in social media. Last year’s commericals were histerical but they need to think of more ways to get regular customers to come back for the fun. I would suggest more events. For example, Fright Fest is always fun. Events like these always bring in more revenue and bring back the regulars.

  5. As an avid visitor of Six Flags Great America located in Gurnee, Illinois ever since I was a little kid, I agree that the experience has become stagnant over the years. I am pleased to hear that new management plans to implement a new business strategy that will not only attract new customers to their theme parks, but bring back old consumers such as myself by offering a fresh new experience to the park. Amusement parks have historically had problems retaining repeating customers because the rides stay the same year after year. However, parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios have yet to experience that problem because they do not just offer people just thrills from rides, but by providing an “experience” you can’t get anywhere else. Six Flags needs to develop an identity as an organization that stands for the same principles that these successful amusement parks have cultivated for themselves through years of strong leadership.

  6. I cannot believe that a huge Six Flags Entertainment Corporation could been filed for bankruptcy, however, I like the idea that building new attractions and providing discounts to customers to improve attendance, revenue and profits.
    They know people often go there and play same games as usual so that it may get bored, and they can think of some new attraction in Six Flags is good idea.

  7. I hope that Six Flags does better this year. I hate for them to completely go out of business. It is definitely a good idea to continue making new rides to attract regular customers.
    Personally, I believe that Six Flags messed up when their prices skyrocketed a couple years back which caused many people to stop going. Then later they tried to recuperate by bringing prices low and even offering a payment plan for season pass holders. I hope for the best this up coming season.

  8. It’s very interesting to hear this about six flags. As an individual in the Hospitality Industry, it has always been expressed that new blood in leadership is a good thing. I guess that Six flags took that a step to far! I knew that six flags was up for closing back in 2009. I actually went to the park that year because I thought it would be closed forever. What do you think, did that ‘closing’ scare bring in customers too? Is that why ticket sales went up in mid 2010? I think it’s fascinating to think that the falling of a company could be it’s savior.

  9. I am a huge fan of roller-coasters, but personally I would rather drive out to Ohio and visit Cedar Point and pay more than go to Six Flags. Cedar Point offers its customers a variety of rides. The management understood customer’s needs and the built the park based on that. People never stop visiting that park. As mentioned before people do get tired of the same things. Six Flags attracted more people by opening up the water park, but to stay in business they need to be on the same level as Cedar Point. Very good post!

  10. Like others commenting, I too did not know that Six Flags filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and I do hope that they will continue to stay open in the years to come. It’s a great park to get away for a day and have some fun. However, a lot of their struggles have come from the lack of innovative roller coasters and, as someone stated in the comments, the lack of “experience” that people should feel when they are at an amusement park. Since this post was originated, they did add a new coaster, Goliath. They did a lot of advertising for it and hopefully it brought in some new customers. But a major negative development has been all of the roller coasters breaking down in other Six Flag parks across the country, some of them causing injuries. It will be interesting to see how those break-downs will affect the local location, in Gurnee.

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