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Blackpool publicity

I had a bit of an interesting encounter a few weekends back; thought you guys might appreciate the story.

Just to preface this, I'm from the US, in CA at the moment. We were visiting a couple of family friends who are from the UK, but have been living in the US for at least 5 years and in CA for more than 3.

We were about to go visit Disney, which got us talking about theme parks. They'd both also lived in Ohio for a couple of years, and we got onto the topic of Cedar Point. One of the two had actually realized that Cedar Point was a fairly world-class park; the other had no idea. Then, it got a bit more interesting - the one who knew about CP told the other one that from what he knew, Cedar Point and...Blackpool...were the two best that went back and forth.

I think this speaks a lot about Blackpool's marketing, and really makes me wonder a bit about both CP's and SFMM's marketing. They've been in LA for at least 3 years and still have no idea that SFMM is way more competition for CP than Blackpool is.

I've not been to Blackpool, and I certainly bear them no ill will (really wish they'd send some TVRs to this side of the pond, though! If only our government weren't quite so worried about us and TVR wasn't such a mess...but I digress). It's really a bit surprising to me, though, just how popular Blackpool is. Again, I've not been there, but it really surprises me just how much attendance Blackpool gets, especially when compared to Alton. For goodness sake, they got more than TWICE the attendance in 2007 (http://www.themeit.com/attendance_report2007.pdf). Weirdly, though, they seem to be absent from the 2008 report, while Alton is still there.

Anyone care to comment and/or shed some light on any of the above for us uninformed Americans?
 

furie

SBOPD
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Blackpool gets the attendance (sorry got because it's free entry.

They count every person through the door. It's also still a relatively popular seaside resort. Lots of people each year visit the town of Blackpool. With PBB being free, you can spend a couple of hours of a day trip there - maybe riding just a few rides while they're there.

So, the visitor numbers are vastly inflated. Not everyone there is actually spending money.

Last year, they introduced a gate charge. The 2008 figures already showed a drop in visitor numbers of a few million! It will be interesting to see this year's figures.

Blackpool and Alton Towers are both "the places" int he UK. They're the two big amusement park names everyone know about. Blackpool was the always the biggest park in the country in the past, and Alton was the first UK theme park (proper, dedicated pay once with good coasters kind of park).

So both are known by everyone in the UK. They may not know details, but they're well known. I find it doubtful that many people who have visited Blackpool won't have visited the Pleasure Beach too. You can see the Big One from miles around.

As Blackpool is a popular resort destination (waning, but still popular), an enormous number of people will therefore have experienced PBB.

Alton Towers is around twenty miles of country lanes off the nearest motorways. It's surrounded by Staffordshire countryside. The only reason you will be within five miles is because you live there, or are going to Alton Towers. AT has no "passing trade".

So, that's why Blackpool is so famous. The resort is famous and so is the beach. It's the UK version of Coney Island - everyone has heard of it and everyone visits it if they're in the area. It had the massive gate count because it's a free to enter park in a popular tourist resort.

Whether it's actually that good..? Well, that's a different discussion :)
 

CoasterKing

Member
Well last weekend, particularly on Saturday I'd say there was a vast amount of people in the Pleasure Beach. Probably around the 10-15,000 mark. I was doubtful as to whether the gate charge would vastly drop numbers and judging from the last few days I would say I am right. If I have to queue more than an hour for PMBO and even longer for Valhalla then I know the figures must be high. I've never seen the park so busy.
 

Snoo

The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
Well if you go on a day which is normally busy, the numbers won't be inflated at all.
 

Ormerod

Active Member
Pleasure Beach is known because of Geoffrey & what he brought to the place. Also on that note, Blackpool was thriving in the 50's to late 80's.

It was the place everybody went on holiday, and it was affordable. The working class boosted the figures.
I think Blackpool isn't what people want from a holiday now and more UK tourists are experimental this day in age, and don't want a domestic holiday. Pleasure Beach's name will rub off soon, if it doesn't up it's game.
 

furie

SBOPD
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
CoasterKing said:
Well last weekend, particularly on Saturday I'd say there was a vast amount of people in the Pleasure Beach. Probably around the 10-15,000 mark. I was doubtful as to whether the gate charge would vastly drop numbers and judging from the last few days I would say I am right. If I have to queue more than an hour for PMBO and even longer for Valhalla then I know the figures must be high. I've never seen the park so busy.
I don't honestly know what capacity is for PBB. I know that last year Alton had its busiest season since 1995. That was a few days at capacity (about 28,000) and lots of days with over 20,000 in the park.

Now, I've done Blackpool in the last five years when PMBO has had a queue of almost two hours, and Valhalla a queue of almost the same (warm summer day). On those days, you couldn't move down the avenues due to the sheer number of visitors - it's was like a cattle stampede. Even the Flying Machines had over a half hour wait.

Now, THAT is Blackpool when it's busy - sounds like your day wasn't really that packed in comparison at all...
 

CoasterKing

Member
I understand what you are saying Furie but I have followed Blackpool pretty closely over the last couple of years (when the figures started dropping dramatically) and it has deffinatley been the busiest since Infusion opened at least. At the end of the day the queue for the Big One stretched up to the queue for the Revolution and this was at 7:00pm when the park only had an hour left to close. I have been seven times this year, once a month and before July the park was pretty much empty with rides being walk on, even the Big One and Infusion which usually have the longest queues and I was starting to get worried that the protesters would be right regarding a further drop in figures but seeing the park in its Peak season has put a smile on my face. Here is what the general queue times for the day was

Big One- 1hr 30mins with 2 trains (about 2 hrs at the end of the day)
Bling- Up to 1hr (the queue was past Burger King all day)
Steeplechase- 30 minutes
Revolution- 30 minutes
Avalanche- up to 1hr with 2 trains
Big Dipper- 20-30minutes with 2 trains
Wild Mouse- 45 mins (the second time was about an hour)
Valhalla- 1hr 30 mins (didn't open until 2 in the afternoon)
Flying Machines- 15-20 minutes
Grand National- 45 mins all day- 4 trains
Ghost Train- 1hr at the start of the day 15 minutes at the end
Infusion- 45 mins- 1hr with 2 trains all day
River Caves- 20 mins all day
Ice Blast- 30 mins first time 20 mins at end of day

The park was the same on the Monday that we went. The queue to get into the park (arriving at 11 am on the first day and 12pm on the second) was about 30 minutes. Regarding what Furie said, in the 50's-80's and early 90's the park was free to enter so a large fraction of the people actually counted through the gates would either have spent very little money or none at all. Remember a lot of people just like to have a wander around. At least everyone in the park (with the exception of under 2's) would have paid at least £5 on the days I went and if there was 15,000 a day or up to that then the Pleasure Beach must be making good money considering the profits had dropped so much for last year. This is likely to be because of the credit crunch and people choosing to holiday in the UK instead of going abroad. It looks like the charge hasn't put too many people off. I hope Pleasure Beach is saved in the long run. I hope the Thompson family do something to secure its future, but for now the numbers seem happy.
 

Ormerod

Active Member
Blackpool used to do £10 wristbands in the May bank holiday weekend (not sure if they do now).
That's where they used to get closest to max capacity.
 
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