With Christmas round the corner, some of you may be venturing on festive days out where you can opt for a VIP experience. But are these premium tickets actually worth paying extra for?
We all like to be made to feel special and the VIP experience is a growing trend, with many venues and brands offering different levels of product or experience.
Fair enough, you get what you pay for. But lately I’ve noticed instances where the VIP level either provides you with what you would expect as a minimum or works by actively disadvantaging those who won’t pay the premium.
Take theme parks – early adopters of the premium/VIP/fast track idea as a means of disadvantage if you don’t pay up. If you’re smart enough to book at least five days in advance, you can secure entry to a certain (popular) park for £32 (£27.50 for a child under 12. For a family of four, that’s £119). It costs more if you just turn up on the day.
You’d think that would bring you equal access to all the rides. Wrong. You’re in the queue behind everyone who has bought an additional fast track ticket, which means they can jump ahead of you. These start at £12 to get on three rides and go up to £55 each to get on all the biggest rides ahead of those who’ve just walked in the door or who have the standard ticket. For a family of four, that can work out as much as £220 extra. With the standard entry ticket, that’s £339 in total – enough for a weekend away.
The rides are the same, whether you pay the extra or not. But more and more people feel pressured into paying the premium to get ahead of the queues. Shouldn’t we all have a minimum level of experience of queuing with everyone, without being pushed backwards as others overtake?
In my view, this disadvantaging of customers who won’t pay more is everywhere. A seasonal example is at the Saatchi Gallery in London. It is putting on a Lego exhibition, which includes a Star Wars gallery, over the Christmas period.
The basic entrance fee isn’t cheap, at £15 per head – £60 for a family of four. Then there is an additional premium experience – yours for double the price, at £30 each. For the extra, you get a limited-edition mini figure, a tote bag, a Make and Take set, a special lanyard and you get to meet ‘Mrs Claus’.
But it won’t be much fun explaining to kids with standard tickets (which still cost £15 each, remember) why they can’t have a special lanyard like the other children, or a tote bag, or why they can’t take away the special Lego designs they’ve made – like the other children.
The biggie though will be explaining why they can’t see Santa’s missus. To me, this should come as a minimum standard and be for everyone. Give the premium ticket kids presents if you like, but at least let the standard ticket kids talk to the next best thing to the big man himself!
Or, you know, you could just have a single price and give people the option to buy stuff (or not) in the shop afterwards. That might be more in the spirit of Christmas.
Peace and love to ALL, not just the VIP ticket holders.
How much more would you pay for a VIP experience?
I wouldn't pay any extra - the standard ticket is fine (72%, 534 Votes)
10% extra (14%, 102 Votes)
20% extra (9%, 68 Votes)
50% extra (3%, 21 Votes)
More than 100% extra if I really wanted it (2%, 13 Votes)
100% extra (1%, 7 Votes)
Total Voters: 745
What do you think of VIP/Premium experiences? Have you come across any that really aren’t worth the extra cash? Or have you seen any festive days out that offer a VIP experience that’s anything but?