Theme Park Operators Point to Challenging Weather in Recent Earnings Calls

“The weather continues to get in the way of what was originally forecast to be a strong summer for theme park operators,” according to the Seeking Alpha article Theme parks from California to Florida have been hit by worse weather than normal this summer.

Industry leaders, Six Flags Entertainment, SeaWorld Entertainment, and Cedar Fair “all pointed to weather conditions such as higher-than-normal rainfall, smoke from the Canadian wildfires, and excessive temperatures as a clear driver of traffic weakness in Q2 across certain regions.”

  • “Unfortunately, anomalous weather patterns – including unprecedented rainfall in California and wildfires in Canada – have significantly disrupted year-to-date attendance, as well as sales of 2023 season passes, creating a headwind on demand,” noted Richard Zimmerman, Chief Executive Officer, Cedar Fair (Source: Seeking Alpha)
  • “…attendance growth fell short of our expectations due to a challenging weather environment in the second quarter with unusually high rainfall in the Northeast combined with a record heat wave in the South.” – Gary Mick, Chief Financial Officer, Six Flags Entertainment (Source: Seeking Alpha)
  • “In-park spending was impacted by the adverse weather…” – Marc Swanson, Chief Executive Officer, SeaWorld Entertainment (Source: Seeking Alpha)

Planalytics’ Weather-Driven Demand analytics isolate and quantify the impact that changes in the weather have on business performance, from attendance numbers or ticket sales to food/beverage or merchandise sales.  In our work in the entertainment sector, it was common to see weather sensitivity (this is the percentage of sales that are directly attributable to the weather) for ticket sales up to 25%… and sometimes much more.  On a webinar presentation, the Philadelphia Zoo (a Planalytics’ client) talked about the very high degree of weather sensitivity. The graphic above shows how Philly Zoo admissions could swing even more than the sales of highly sensitive products like air conditioners and rainwear.

Clearly, Mother Nature’s influence is a critical factor for theme parks and other entertainment venues to understand, monitor, measure, and proactively manage.  Reach out to Planalytics if you are interesting in discussing weather-driven demand analytics and a potential custom Weather Impact Analysis based on the markets where you operate and the your admissions or sales data.