The Future of Theme Park Pricing is Creative and Dynamic

What’s the best way to put a price on a day of theme park fun? Very thoughtfully, and preferably using data, algorithms, and flexibility, experts say.

After decades of setting one admission price and sticking with it year-round, the world’s largest theme park operators are starting to inch closer to the models used by the bulk of the travel industry.

“For as long as I can remember, theme parks have always been a place where they would paint the price of a ticket on a piece of wood and nail to to a post at the front of the park,” said Martin Lewison, an assistant professor of business management at Farmingdale State College who studies theme parks. “Once a year or so they would raise the price. They would then discount off that price.”

Although observers and media have questioned for several years whether park operators would adopt demand-based pricing strategies similar to those used by airlines or hotels, only in recent months have the biggest players made moves in that direction.

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