How do you make sure customers take advantage of a promotion the way you want them to take advantage of it?
The question comes up at Disneyland. The Mouse people are currently offering a deal that allows park goers to get a break on multiple visits. Specifically a 3-Day Park Hopper pass lets customers visit multiple parks over three days. The days don’t have to be consecutive but you have to use the second two days within two weeks of using the first day. If you really want to spend a lot of time at Disneyland, this is actually a pretty good deal. An adult three-days pass goes for $220 while a one day pass goes for $125. (For those under nine, the comparable numbers are $205 and $119.)
Now there is clearly a problem here in that if two families split a three-day passes with, say, the Jones going one day and the Smiths going the next, they would come out ahead even if the third day went unused. If Smiths and Jones can recruit a third family, they’ve got an even better deal. Of course, a stumbling block in making this happen is transaction costs. If the Smiths and Jones live on the same cul-de-sac, maybe then coordinate this deal easily. However, if the Smiths are flying in from Chicago, it is much harder for them to take advantage of this deal — unless a middleman steps in to help broker the deal. And this just what is happening (Disneyland fights multiday pass abuse by photographing holders, LA Times, Jan 9).
Disney has been struggling to stop several ticket brokers in Anaheim from buying multiday park passes and then “leasing” or “renting” them to visitors for individual days.
The scenario works like this: A ticket broker buys a three-day “park hopper” pass for $205 and rents the ticket to three guests for $99 a day. The broker makes a profit of $92, and the guests, who would otherwise pay $125 for a one-day “park hopper” ticket, save $26 each.
Disneyland prohibits visitors from sharing multiday passes, but the practice does not violate local laws.