SeaWorld’s expansion of Howl-O-Scream events appears to have paid off.
During SeaWorld’s third quarter earnings call, SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson said the chain saw “record revenue for our Halloween events,” which this year included Howl-O-Scream events at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego for the first time.
“We were very pleased with our Halloween performance across a number of our parks, and so the momentum we saw in October, we were certainly very pleased with,” Swanson said.
Only part of the Halloween haunt season fell into the third quarter, which covered July through the end of September. In that three-month period, SeaWorld reported a net income of $102.1 million, its second-highest three quarter income, while attendance across the chain was down only 11 percent compared to pre-pandemic third quarter of 2019.
“Excluding international and group guests, attendance declined by approximately 1 percent, compared to the third quarter of 2019,” said chief financial officer and treasurer Elizabeth Gulacsy. Attendance for the first nine months of 2021 is down nearly 15 percent compared to the same time period of 2019, or 3 percent if international and group attendance is excluded.
Swanson expects a boost in the current quarter from international guests being able to return, noting that foreign visitors make up about 10 percent of the chain’s attendance in most years.
“I don’t think it’s all going to come back at once,” Swanson said. “It may take some time, obviously, but certainly I think we’re pleased that things are moving in a better direction than they were before things opened up.”