Positioning EdgeWalk: is the CN Tower’s attraction overpriced?

by Jason on September 12, 2011 · 3 comments

I got a real kick this summer over reaction to the CN Tower’s latest attraction, EdgeWalk, where people get to walk around the outside of the tower, 1,168 feet up.  It’s priced at $175, positioning it as something lots of Toronto residents (the blog and YouTube commenters, anyway,) felt was a ridiculous price.  Me? I thought they should have started at $350.  Maybe $500 with some perks.

Guess what? The call centre was overwhelmed on opening day.

And it’s possible that there weren’t enough reps available to take orders because someone listened to the people complaining, but my point today is this:

It’s important to listen to your customers, but it’s vital to know who your customers are.

I’m going to guess that the people who were complaining about the pricing haven’t been to the top of the CN Tower, on the inside, since they were kids and their parents footed the bill (admission packages range from $23 to $65.) But even if they go every week, so what if they think it’s too much?  They live here.  There are 2 million people going up those elevators every year, which means lots of tourists looking to make Bob from accounting back home jealous with a killer vacation pic. And then there’s the corporate team building stuff where people don’t have to pay, they just have to be insane enough to go do it.

If you think $175 is too expensive, that’s fine. There are only 10,000 tickets each year (it’s real scarcity, since they can only fit a certain number of tours through the schedule safely) so they just need .5% of their customer base to take the deal for a sell out.

Sometimes it’s good to polarize the buyers and the non-buyers really strongly, and I think it’s a great tactic for positioning an attraction like this.  After all, people who choose to try something like this aren’t like normal people.  They’re getting a story to tell, one that’s going to set them apart from the rest of the people at the office.  That’s worth something.

Oh, and I’m not going to do EdgeWalk, by the way, even though I think it’s a bargain. I have no problem telling you it’s not because I’m cheap; I’m just terrified.

Update: Still don’t think it’s worth it? Take a look at Stacie’s blog post of the experience and try to put a price tag on those photos and the stories they tell, both now and in the years to come.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

stacie tamaki September 15, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Hi Jason,

As someone who did the EdgeWalk the same day you published this post I felt compelled to leave a comment that I agree with you the price is a bargain. The experience is, to the best of my knowledge, one of a kind so that is worth something. LOL and you’re right, I’m not normal. I’m a blogger who is afraid of heights but wanted a great post to share with my readers 🙂

While the price includes the walk itself and a DVD and photos of you walking around and hanging off the edge, what we failed to notice when we signed up was that the $175 also includes a 48 hour, one day (you choose which day to use it the same day as your edge walk or the following day) pass to all of other CN Tower activities and attractions. So one could say the the $175 breaks down to $110.00 for the EdgeWalk and $65.00 for the Total Tour Pass with the extra Premier Experience Pass benefit of receiving expedited “Front of the Line” service. To be fair some of that savings is sucked away because once you do the EdgeWalk it’s hard to resist purchasing an EdgeWalk T-shirt and/or baseball cap which then pushes your cost to over $200+. But as you said, it’s probably worth $350 or more so it’s still a great value.

BTW, it’s not nearly as scary as it seems like it would be once you’re in that safety harness strapped to a cable that is tested to hold up to 15,000 pounds and there’s a second cable attached to you for good measure. Oddly, in a strange way, I felt safer up on top of the tower than walking on the sidewalk below it where any number of accidents or misfortunes can occur. If you change your mind I think you might love it as much as I did.

Jason September 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

Wow, those photos are fantastic and convince me even more that it’s a huge deal. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on facing your fears like that! And no, it’s not changing my mind on my personal todo list 🙂

jo April 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Nope, overpriced. But you are right that they only need to find a couple of suckers to make some money. Some people just have more dollars than sense.
And scary? Child, please. If you want a thrill, go skydiving. You are safer tethered to that wire than walking at the base. (After all, you never know when someone is going to fall from the Edgewalk and bonk you on the bean, do you?) 😉

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