The surge of COVID-19 cases in Florida limited the amount of inbound travel that the company had originally anticipated, but Disney is confident that numbers will pick up once regular travel patterns into Walt Disney World resume. During the conference call, numbers on hotel pricing and occupancy were not released due to the lack of resorts currently open.
Despite the lack of hotels, though, Disney reported that per capita guest spending is “very, very strong”. This was tacked up to pent-up demand from guests who haven’t been to the parks in a while, and further boosted by relatively new additions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which guests are eager to experience. During our coverage of the park reopenings, we’ve seen merchandise continuously fly off the shelves:
Between sold-out merchandise and long-gone Disney Park Pass availability, you could say Annual Passholders are holding down the fort at Walt Disney World as the main guests visiting and filling up capacity at the parks each day. However, it seems the company longs for the return of the traditional guest due to the higher spending values that are attributed to guests who stay on-property for longer periods of time. When asked about parks metrics, Bob Chapek emphasized the fact these guests are “marginally more valuable” than Annual Passholders due to general spending habits:
As you know, different guests—depending on where they’re coming from—have different relative values in terms of their contribution as a guest to the park. Typically, somebody who travels and stays for 5 to 7 days is marginally more valuable to the business than someone who comes in on an Annual Pass and stays a day or two and consumes less merchandise and food and beverage. So the way I would look at it, as our constituency changes a little bit, so do our overall margins.
Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company