Normally, I don't post on this blog at all. But an old student sent in something that they felt was appropriate — and I can't really make them write a post, can I?
This concerns the new pricing policy at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Airlines have changed prices with demand for decades. But for theme parks, it has usually been one price for all. Now they will discount for people buying online, with a bigger discount for people who buy online and book for a historically slow day of the year.
As an economist, I find the explanation that this is a form of peak pricing, like used by hotels or Uber, to be a bit lacking. My reason for this is that the cost of going to the park always included the monetary price of the ticket, plus the non-monetary price of standing in lines. For me, the park cost more on busy days no matter what.*
But the article also mentions that Universal will use this pricing method to help manage its operations. To me, this actually makes more sense. At off-peak times, costs are low for customers both in monetary and non-monetary terms. Yet the park still needs to be staffed. My guess is that this new policy is helping them get a handle on overstaffing on slow days.
* Hands down, the emptiest park I was ever in was DisneyWorld on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Kids were in school, there were no conferences in Orlando because of the holiday, and vacationers had yet to arrive. My wife and I did the whole park before 5 in the afternoon, with several rides gone on more than once.