If you want to be among the first to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood, you may want to familiarize yourself with its new pricing structure.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that there would be a “demand” or “variable” price structure put in place, and that means those going on or around the attraction’s April 7 opening or during a busy holiday period may pay more than those who elect to wait a while or go on a weekday. It is the first major U.S. theme park to embrace demand pricing.
Universal Studios Hollywood released a statement today introducing the new pricing policy as EZ Rez, which it describes as, “an innovative, easy-to-use online ticket purchasing system featuring an array of new consumer benefits.”
In addition to affording guests the opportunity of booking date-specific tickets, the announcement noted EZ Rez ticket holders would get entry to the Harry Potter attraction one hour prior to the park opening.
Demand, or variable, pricing has long been a familiar element in the airline and hotel industries, where the price is based on supply and demand. It made news when Lyft and Uber raised their prices during high-traffic times. Demand pricing is intended to control attendance spikes and stave off customer frustration which may arise when a new attraction opens, resulting in long lines and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.
Under Universal Studios Hollywood’s new system, tickets bought at the gate remain $95. Those who elect to buy tickets online for low-demand days, such as a weekday in February before Harry Potter opens, can save up to $20. Those who buy on big-demand days may save only $5.
Even with the anticipated crowds for the Harry Potter attraction, Xiomara Wiley, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Universal Studios Hollywood, said in an emailed statement that the new pricing system was installed as a means to address the widespread customer demand for convenience.
“Universal Studios Hollywood has consistently been at the forefront of technology from ride development to e-commerce,” Wiley said. “EZ Rez is about providing our guests with an even better way to purchase their tickets via a convenient online calendar booking system and an array of online savings to confirm date specific visits.”
Universal Studios hopes the variable price structure will encourage future guests to plan ahead, which will help it manage its operations. Incentives include consumers locking in ticket prices by buying tickets online for dates through the end of September, thereby avoiding the risk of online prices fluctuations based on last-minute demand.
Industry experts said to expect more demand pricing. The Times reported Walt Disney Resorts put out feelers to annual pass holders last year, asking their opinion of a three-tiered pricing system aimed at charging more during Christmas, spring break and summer.
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