Why Six Flags isn’t worried about losing nearly 4 million members and passholders in 2020 – LA Daily News

Six Flags lost nearly 4 million members and season passholders in 2020, but the regional amusement park chain isn’t worried about its most loyal fans returning once the coronavirus pandemic wanes.

Six Flags lost 3 million season passholders and 900,000 members in 2020, according to the company’s annual report. Season passholders declined from 5.1 million to 2.1 million while members dropped from 2.6 million to 1.7 million, according to the Six Flags report.

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Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and other California theme parks are unlikely to return to full operation until spring or summer under COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines issued by the state.

Magic Mountain has hosted drive-thru events and Discovery Kingdom has reopened aquarium and zoo exhibits and shows — both without roller coasters or other amusement rides.

Six Flags has announced opening dates for all of its parks that are not already open. Magic Mountain plans to reopen with rides in the spring.

SEE ALSO: Another California theme park launches a limited-time event while waiting to reopen

Six Flags extended all 2020 season passes through the end of 2021 due to the pandemic closures and offered to upgrade memberships for those who continued making payments.

“As anticipated, the company sold significantly fewer season passes and memberships while many of its parks remained closed, compared to the same period in 2019,” according to the Six Flags report.

The Six Flags active pass base — which includes both passholders and members — decreased 51% by the end of 2020 compared to a year earlier, according to the report.

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While the decline is significant, Six Flags Chief Financial Officer Sandeep Reddy said it is important to assess the 51% decrease of the active pass base in the proper context.

“Because we extended our 2020 season passes through the end of 2021, our active pass base as of today is down less than 10% versus the same day last year which preceded the pandemic’s impact,” Reddy said on the call with analysts. “We believe this represents some more meaningful comparison for our active pass base heading into the 2021 operating season as we believe the season pass holders and members who were extended will visit our parks in 2021.”

SEE ALSO: More than 40 U.S. theme parks set 2021 reopening dates

About 19% of members paused their memberships by the end of 2020, according to the report.

“We anticipate that most of these paused members will return to active paying members once we reopen our remaining parks,” Reddy said on the call.

Six Flags officials aren’t concerned about losing half their passholders and members because they expect their most loyal fans to return when the pandemic subsides.

SEE ALSO: Six Flags Magic Mountain asks: Would you visit the park if a COVID-19 test or vaccine was required?

Memberships and seasonal passes are like any subscription service that faces a constant amount of churn — old passholders leave, new ones join. Six Flags replenishes its active pass base by renewing lapsed members and converting daily park visitors to passholders. That wasn’t as easy to do during the pandemic when customers were tightening their financial belts and parks were closed or faced capacity restrictions.

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Six Flags officials are encouraged by the resiliency of the active pass base. Declines in the active pass base flattened in the most recent quarter, retention rates are increasing and sales are expected to ramp up once parks reopen for the 2021 season, according to Reddy.

The decline in the active pass base during 2020 is almost entirely due to lower sales of new season passes and memberships, which were difficult to sell with so much uncertainty during the pandemic, according to Reddy.



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