In anticipation of huge crowds for the April 7 opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood has introduced ‘demand’, or variable, pricing. Though nothing new to the air and hotel industries, Universal is the first major U.S. theme park to implement demand pricing, says the Los Angeles Times.
Under the pricing policy, which was announced on Tuesday by Universal Studios, tickets bought at the gate will remain US$95. But those who book tickets online for low-demand days – like a weekday in February before the park opens – can save up to $20. To compare, during weekends and peak demand days during spring break or summer, parkgoers save only $5 by booking online.
To avoid the price hike, visitors can lock in prices by buying tickets online for dates through the end of September. This is ultimately what Universal hopes to achieve with the new pricing policy – to get people to plan and book ahead, which will help it manage day-to-day operations. Experts say demand pricing can help spread out attendance spikes and control lineups.
Online bookers also enjoy another perk – entry into the new Harry Potter area one full hour before the rest of the park opens. So the message is clear – book now, and book online.