One smart reader thinks the stroller price hikes are the first "squeeze" from DME, which makes WDW patrons captive. Now might as well raise prices!!
Prices are set at WDW by price/value perception research. In a fairly homogenous closed population like WDW guests with a large population from which to sample, you can pretty accurately measure cost/sales behavior and find the revenue-maximization price point. They can even claim now to factor in goodwill--they sample guests 5, 7, 10 years out to see what they remember and how it shapes buying behavior, and you know what, people don't complain!
One of my theories is that because prices continuously rise, perception of expense in the past is overwhelmed by perception of how things have *gotten* so expensive in the present. One big driver of prices right now is DME. Because DME eliminates guest purchase choices, what a guest perceives as being willing to pay is way more now than a few years ago; in the past it was a that they didn't want to drive to Wal Mart; now they simply can't, so it doesn't enter into their thinking.
Another big driver is the US exchange rate. Perceptions have adjusted around the strong GBP/EUR. In the inverse, remember for over a decade there was essentially a different price for Canadians whose CAD was strongly devalued vs. the USD. You could buy tickets and vacation packages for WDW in Canada for 15% less than in the States.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
An email I got, in its entirety (no name or salutation or anything):
You're a Dad that is sweating this trip already. Airfare, hotels, restaurant meals and the $200 a day for the family's tickets to the park.... now you realize this trip will cost $3,000+ and the credit cards will take months to heal. The card is red-hot already from being run through the register so much.... damn, breakfast at the character restaurant you promised the kids was "brunch"! No one was even that hungry and it ran $150 and the kids had a little cereal and juice. You overate just trying to get some value out of it and now your stomach is killing you.
Now you hit the stroller rental counter for a double wide for the twins. It's gotta be $10 a day for a stroller cost Disney $60, the way they charge around here.
What does that sign say? $31? Must be for a week, that's great! At least they cut you some slack on something. Say what? $31 A DAY?! For a STROLLER? You have got to be freakin' KIDDIN' ME HERE! Listen, my RENT A CAR only costs $15 a day more than that! This stroller got 200 horsepower, auto trans and A/C? No? THEN WHERE DOES $31 A DAY COME FROM?!! My 8 year old wants to see Mickey, has a bowl of Cheerios and it's $25! OK! BUT $31 FOR ONE DAY OF STROLLER!?
Family is almost in tears, but Dad has snapped like a dry branch in a stiff wind. He was ready to pay high on this trip. He knew everything would be expensive. But this is so outrageous, so over the top, and he's so vulnerable, what does he do? Tell the twins to wait outside?
He takes a deep breath, remembers the poor kid behind the counter just works here, and pays. He wants this to be a good time for the family, and he forces a stiff smile. But he and the wife will have a little talk tonight after the kids are down. They will never go to a Disney park again. Ever.
at 8:16 PM