Disney World “Discounting is Something of the Past” … or Is It?
By Dave Shute
On today’s Disney Q2 earnings call, Bob Iger and Jay Rasulo noted that while Q3 resort hotel bookings so far are 2.5% lower than last year, realized prices are more than 10% greater.
A CONTINUING REDUCTION IN THE DEPTH OF DISNEY WORLD DISCOUNTS?
They noted that this was consistent with Disney’s general strategy to limit the discounts it offers as the economy improves.
Iger said that increasingly “discounting is something of the past.”
However, there may be some price surprises coming for Disney in Q3 that may lead to further discounting.
Iger and Rasulo did not clearly distinguish the impact of an extra week of Easter in Q3 this year than last year on Q3 effective price increases. (They did comment on the impact of the extra Q3 week for Q2, and for Q3 volumes–just not for Q3 prices.)
Specifically, they did not address the point that the longer 2011 Easter season means that there were 20 more days of peak and Easter pricing in April 2011 than there were in April 2010.
This factor alone could drive realized prices for the whole quarter up by 3-4%, based on my back of the envelope analysis which suggests Q3 April 2011 average daily rates were 11% higher than those in Q3 April 2010.*
OR MAYBE NOT??
In other words a big part of the Q3 realized resort price increase compared to last year could be coming not from fewer discounts, but from an Easter timing-driven higher set of April prices compared to 2010.
If so, then this, combined with bookings in Q3 running 2.5% below last year, suggests that more Disney World discounts may in fact be needed.
*Including only April days in Q3, which began April 4 in 2010 and April 3 in 2011.