We went to a local amusement park today, just about 20 miles from here. I noticed two interesting things while we were at the park. One was an interesting marketing trick and another was an interesting use of technology.

Living in North Carolina, we get more nice weather than we were use to in Northeastern Ohio. I loved Cedar Point, but never seemed to make it there. With the nicer weather here, I can go from March to November, much longer than I could at Cedar Point.

As we walked around the park, they repeatedly made announcements indicating that we could trade in today’s admission price against a season pass for the 2011. Regular price was about $50 (plus $10 for parking) and with a discount received by delivering one canned Coke product for each of us, we were able to enter the park for $35 each. Expensive for a fall day, but not a bad deal considering it would have been $50 otherwise ($200 for the 4 of us). The additional cost for a season pass for next year was $30 for each of us. That meant, for less than the cost of admission today, we get an entire season of free admission plus free parking. Not a bad deal.

The acquisition price for a new season pass holder must be pretty high or sales must be pretty low for them to offer this deal. We know we’re going to go at least once next year, so no matter what we’ve saved money on this deal. Nice.

As you probably know, they take pictures everywhere at the park and try to get you to buy them. When we rode the first ride that generated a picture, it was interesting to see them offer putting the photo on a USB memory drive for the same price as a printed picture. Nice idea – I get an electronic copy of the photo and don’t have to carry a print with me everywhere I go.

There’s got to be a mobile application in here somewhere.

I’m thinking that an amusement park could offer customers a mobile application to help make this even easier. You download a free copy of the mobile application before going to the park then enter in your credit card information. As you finish the ride and get funneled through the area to view the photos that were just taken, you can acquire the photo directly from your mobile phone; nothing to carry around the remainder of the day. When you find a picture you like, you enter the ride number then the photo number. Your credit card could be charged directly and you could even be offered a discount by using the application. It would certainly cost the amusement park less money since there’d be no printing or copying files to a memory stick that would just get lost. The photo could be emailed to the device, sent via MMS or even downloaded directly to the application running on the phone.
Yeah, that would be something I would be interested in. I’d probably buy more photos.

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