Universal Orlando Resort appears to be offering more value for its Guests amid the pandemic, instead of upcharging for experiences and park admission. The theme park destination is capturing a new audience by offering affordable vacations during these difficult times.
Here is how they are doing it — and why.
Universal Orlando Resort closed for a few months in 2020 before it attempted a safe reopening. The reopening ushered in new pandemic-era restrictions and practices that are still implemented at the resort today. Face masks are compulsory for any Guests visiting the theme parks, and social distancing is also enforced, amid other safety protocol.
Both Disney World and Universal have taken different approaches to reopening measures, and neither resort is operating at 100% capacity. But the value that Universal is offering to Guests is setting them apart from the competition.
Here is what Forbes had to say about Universal’s value over up charging strategy:
Yet in a market where it could be pushing the boundaries of what has previously been its most expensive experiences, Universal Orlando is doing the exact opposite: doubling down on value, and capturing new customers who may be priced out at other parks. Disney is not currently selling new annual passes in either Florida or California, but Universal’s most affordable annual pass in Orlando is $349. In Hollywood, the lowest-priced pass has actually gone down from its pre-pandemic prices, to $189.
We have seen that Universal’s strategy for the reopening of their theme parks has been highly successful. Despite the lengthy closures to their theme parks around the world, the company was still able to break even in the theme park division — proving their efforts were paying off.
Key factors that are making this difference are the continued sale of Annual Passes at both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, plenty of deals and specials on vacation packages to fit any budget, and the ability for day-of theme park entry compared to Disney’s virtual reservation system.
Universal’s theme park entry has not changed since they reopened, if you purchase a ticket you can enter until the park reaches capacity. Currently, Volcano Bay, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are all operating at modified capacity , and typically reach capacity on weekends.
The Executive Project Director for Universal Orlando Resort told Forbes that adding more value hotels to the resort was another key factor in their success, “We do a lot of demand studies. We’re constantly asking our consumers what they want… We heard for 14 years that we were pretty much the same product, the same guests, the same benefit, the same price point. We heard over and over that we have to have that property for the value consumer.”
Universal raised the bar when it comes to value theme park accommodations when the Endless Summer Resort opened to Guests. At this resort, they are bringing all the amenities and fun you would expect from a higher-priced theme park accommodation to an extremely affordable price point. You can read more about the Endless Summer Resort here.
A favorite of the staff here at Inside the Magic is Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We cannot stop raving about the accommodation, amenities, and price point. With a colorful mid-century modern theme, two fantastic pools and a lazy river, as well as a location that is within walking distance to Volcano Bay as well as CityWalk and the theme parks, and multiple fire pits that are perfect for making s’mores — Cabana Bay Beach Resort truly has it all. This is yet another resort at Universal Orlando that is a cut above the rest.
While it is possible to find luxury accommodations and pay an upcharge for VIP experiences and front-of-the-line passes at Universal theme parks, it is clear that Universal is focusing on each and every Guests price point with the same care and consideration.
Do you think Universal theme parks are offering enough value for Guests? Let us know in the comments.