Business Report: SeaWorld Gets Another New CEO
Friday, November 8, 2019
Q: Sergio Rivera the new CEO. He is the fourth in five years. What can he bring to the table for SeaWorld?
A: It's gonna be very interesting because three of the four have been outside the theme park industry and the last one Gus Antorcha lasted just seven months. Sergio comes out of the hotel industry. He was with Starwood Hotels. He was with Marriott timeshare most recently. They bring a hospitality mindset which is important in the theme park space. He also comes right of the time when SeaWorld just announced their quarterly earnings and they weren't good. Visitor traffic was down. Revenues were down and compared to last year they're down quite a bit. What SeaWorld has basically said is that in bringing him on they want to make sure that the guest experience is great. They're really looking at reducing the animal shows, they're creating more entertainment environment.
The last thing, which is where there is pressure on SeaWorld, is TripAdvisor partnered with PETA to not sell any more tickets to SeaWorld on the TripAdvisor site. It doesn't impact a lot of sales, but it sends another symbolic message. SeaWorld really is threading the needle, and this guy has his work cut out for him.
Q: Another story we've been following is the debate over short term rentals here in San Diego, and one of the biggest platforms, of course, Airbnb making some big changes. This after a Halloween night shooting that was deadly and at house booked directly on their site. Tell us about what's happening with them?
A: The whole sharing economy there's so many unintended consequences of consumer behavior. The CEO, Brian Chesky, really took matters in his hands. They want to make sure they verify all the listings because a lot of times what's been happening is that people who actually rent a place arrive and it's not what's pictured. So they get frustrated and they're going to have a 100% customer guarantee after they verify the listing. So you can get to a better house or you get your money back. There's gonna be a 24/7 neighbor hotline. There is that staff by real-life people so if there's ever an issue with Airbnb rental, a neighbor can call in and things can be acted on.
Lastly, they're gonna do a manual review of all the listings to make sure the listings are legitimate. This is in advance of their desired public offering. Airbnb i is a darling in the dot com space, and they're really looking at making sure that their company is squeaky clean before going public. They don't want to have a situation like what just recently happened with WeWork, where they didn't go public because a lot of things were uncovered about them.
Q: Now let's talk about shopping, some stores already having their Black Friday ads out. What can you tell us about that?
A: During this time between November and the Christmas holiday, for most retailers 20% or more of their business is delivered during this last period of the year. Target, for example, is announcing their pre-Black Friday sale this coming weekend on a national level. This year I want to warn consumers the discounts are not going to be as deep as they were three or four years ago. You're going to see 20 to 30% discounts in most cases. But what Target is doing is if you buy $50 or more during this month, you get a coupon for 20% more between Dec. 3 and 14. That's traditionally the timeframe during the Christmas holiday season that sales kind of dip. You get a big lift during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the week before Christmas, but that's kind of the quiet time and so they want people to come back in their stores.
Amal Younis contributed to this story
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