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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:35 pm
by Robert.W
After trying to find some of the logic in Merlin's current strategy, I'm thinking perhaps they are going along with a "short term loss, long term gain" type method. Perhaps their recent obsession for accommodation was just about preparing their attractions for the future when they might perhaps start focusing more on the actual attractions... just a though though.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:38 pm
by Smiler313
Robert, I really hope this is their strategy too. Surely they cannot be adding more hotels without keeping the Theme Parks in proportion to them?

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:30 am
by Zach
Reading these last few pages, some experts who have watched merlin take over tussuards, some who have recently come into the theme park enthusiast sector, however all seem to be able to see the obvious flaw in Merlins play to invest in hotels and not capex projects is worrying. If it is that obvious to us, ultimately the customers that people aren’t interested in over priced hotels (who did very little to provide entertainment for the adults who actually pay for the privalledge to stay) how is it not obvious to Merlin executives and Nick himself. 

The first rule of business always has and always will be “you have to spend money to make money” but spending it on hotels will to make money if there is no reason, as has been said previously, to stay in the hotels or visit attractions. 

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:42 pm
by Liam.W
I have just stumbled across this (new?) website for Merlin Magic Making! It has a rather interesting video about what MMM do!

http://magic.lmcpreview.co.uk/

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:52 pm
by lewis97
Liam.W wrote:
I have just stumbled across this (new?) website for Merlin Magic Making! It has a rather interesting video about what MMM do!

http://magic.lmcpreview.co.uk/

That website's been around a while I believe :)

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:58 pm
by Justin
Yes, it has been around for a while but it isn't one that is generally accessed by many. It is certainly worth a look.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:54 am
by 8byfire
You may be interested to know that you can now put your wildest ideas to MMM as they have a 'bonkers box' on their website (a slightly bonkers name too but hey)

This is where you can let your imagination run wild! Got a crazy idea for a new ride? Or a concept for a new theme park, or maybe it’s just a new way of flushing the loo!? It could be anything and the wackier the better! Sketch or write your ideas here in the Bonkers Box and hit send and the creative boffins of Merlin Magic Making will consider your idea and maybe even make it a reality!

This is quite a neat idea with the world moving to DIY input/ user-involved experiences with lots of things from gaming to music. So if you want Alton or any Merlin parks to add a thing that exists only in your head you can now plant the idea in their heads too! Although they should really read all these forums too- some good ideas on here (and some not so good)! And I guess if you want a much loved ride to stay or even return you could suggest that here too with your ideas for keeping or making it fresh! Queue loads of people dreaming of being the next John Wardley, well you never know! With a little imagination and a good grounding of realism.....

http://magic.lmcpreview.co.uk/

Edited: clarification

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:48 pm
by lewis97
Merlin's share price has now reached its lowest level in the 4(ish) years since the company went public...

Image

It will be interesting to see what is said at their 2017 Preliminary Results presentation at the start of March, depending on what happens during the next month.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:26 pm
by Bert2theSpark
Please no more budget cuts...

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:08 pm
by ROYJESS
What else it there left to cut?  :lol

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:51 pm
by lewis97
It's today been revealed that ValueAct Capital, a so-called "activist investor", has purchased a 5.4% stake in Merlin, making it the third largest shareholder. Although the company does have a reputation for pushing changes to management and strategy, sources have stated that it is supportive of Merlin's current strategy, and has instead purchased shares "because of the view that the broader investment community was being too downbeat on the company".

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:55 pm
by Bert2theSpark
Image
Link here

Whilst it is nothing new, The post is posted at a bizarre time to say the least! 

Surely it's gonna be a massive task to overthrow Disney, You can't do that with Legoland's and 5 European theme parks! 

If they want to overthrow Disney it's gonna take a lot of Legolands!

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:11 pm
by Smiler313
They will never catch up with Disney. Disney care about their guests. Disney give enough money to their parks so they can operate them with no closures. Guests don't feel like a number on a spreadsheet. If Merlin cared more about their guests, made sure that all their rides were open and provided a fantastic and complete day out, they could gain better guest satisfaction. This could lead to an overtake however I highly doubt it.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:17 pm
by Robert.W
I don't think it's out of Merlin's reach to catch Disney. I don't know... maybe I'm being pessimistic..

I'm sure they could do it by simply expanding their midway attractions to as many locations as possible. More Legoland, more SeaLife, more Madame Tussaud's, more Dungeons, etc. In this equation, I'm not sure exactly where the RTPs lie – possible that should Merlin be successful with their world domination quest, that they might show a bit more care to the theme parks?? Or will they just lose even more interest in them..?

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 6:55 pm
by Swarm Chris
Using this topic for a general post / comment / rant about the Merlin resorts and their car parks.

Went to two parks today, Chessington and Thorpe Park, I left both at reasonably off-peak times and in both cases I had issues being able to leave the park because the gates were jammed with cars having issues getting out of the car park.

In Chessington's case, it took nearly 20 minutes to get off-site at 2pm because the back gates were not manned. Guests managed to get to them and not have either a token, credit card or annual pass to use and then got stuck and blocked in by the cars behind. When staff did eventually arrive, there was a bit of an argument, essentially revolving around the car stuck had cash, but of course there was no facility to pay cash. There were only about 10 cars there at the time.

At Thorpe there were also delays and people stuck. In one case I saw a car just sat there with windows up at the barrier, I'm not quite sure what was going on there.

Something seems to have changed since last year. Having the machines accept credit card is a pain because it's extremely slow. Whilst removing the staff from the gate who could do last minute cash purchases, or manually open the barriers if they were struggling to read annual passes isn't helping either.

Saw a pretty bad video from last week at Thorpe Park, with just people getting angry in the car park and constant horns going on. With the parks going to a great deal of effort to ensure guests have a good day, but then end it with chaos at the car park barriers, just seems crazy.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:13 pm
by Chris
The whole pay on exit set up is a nightmare, and always has been.

At Disney and Universal, you pay on entry via cash or card, and receive a friendly welcome.

At Merlin parks, you enjoy your day, probably forget that you have to buy a car park token, and / or just get generally pissed off at having to pay another charge after what has been an expensive day out anyway. Byeeeee!

Chessington's grass car park is an absolute state, and Thorpe's is not much better. How they can charge for cars to park in these is ridiculous.

I had to give my car a full wash after parking in the CWoA grass car park a few weeks ago - wonder if they will reimburse me for that?

Another example of Merlin not investing in prioritising the guest experience.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 10:25 pm
by Swarm Chris
This exact feeling of annoyance happened to me when I first went back to a Merlin attraction after they took over. Day at Warwick castle that had had crazy unnecessary queues the entire day, then of course now the queue to buy a token and queue to get out. Undid what good parts of the day there were and I didn't return to a Merlin attraction for over a year. Simply because of that experience.

At Chessington in only light rain and I could feel my car was starting to get stuck in the car park. I typically avoid going if there's been rain in the week before now. For me it's the inside the car that's a state, mud and grass everywhere.

If they feel they have to have a car park charge, rather than just increasing ticket prices, then a pay on entry would be so much better. As you say, a smile and a welcome to start the day, rather than a kick in the teeth on the way out.

Re: Thorpe Park Resort - General Discussion

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:51 pm
by The Nemesis Fox
I believe, well I sincerely hope, that this year is good for Merlin.

Last year across the board in the UK there was only the update of DBGT, 2 CBeebies additions and a retheme & carousel at Chessington. Hopefully as this year there are mazes open at different points throughout the year; X retheme at Thorpe; Year of TWD; Summer lates & Wicker Man; both revenue and guest numbers should increase. With this Merlin should realise that by spending money, money can be made & not that we can get away with what we want.

Alton is in desperate need of its closed rides reopening, new flats, a new water ride and family coaster. Thorpe need to replace their ageing flats and continue with refurbishment and Project 2020 to bring it back to its glory days again.

Coming back off tangent, Thorpe need to replace flats such as Slammer, Samarui & Vortex with modern flats such as Starshapes & Gyro-Swings. It would be great to see Merlin parks have good budgets and run well again, one can only hope.

Rant Over.

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:26 pm
by Swarm Chris
Merlin have been successful in obtaining a High Court injunction that bans three named individuals and their currently unnamed associates, from accessing Merlin properties internationally. Issued on 30th May, this order comes after several trespasses onto Merlin property by the same group of individuals this year.

Merlin have also been successful, for the time being, in obtaining a banning order on any person from trespassing on Merlin property in England and Wales.

The injunction states that any person who breaks the injunction, or helps another person to break it, may be held in contempt of court and imprisoned or fined, or have their assets seized.

https://www.merlinentertainments.biz/trespass-injunction

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:23 pm
by Swarm Chris
Blooloop have an interview with Nick Varney where they at length discuss a wide range of topics from the entertainments sector. I've pulled a couple of interesting aspects out of it that may be relevant to the UK parks.

VR
Nick Varney appears to have a more muted interest in VR, making the point that whilst they had been able to use it to breathe new life into Air, they are very mindful that "VR can be an isolating experience" and that "technology needs to be embraced but we must never forget that people come to us for shared, immersive experiences".

He also makes a point about some new technologies not being quite ready for the attractions industry, possibly alluding to issues with VR at both Alton and Thorpe: "A lot of suppliers out there are not delivering on their promises. You create demand, customers queue up, rides break down, and equipment doesn’t work: you end up disappointing a lot of people."

Trackless Dark Rides for Legoland Parks
He was impressed with both the new Pirates of Carribean ride at Shanghai Disneyland and Ratatouille at Disneyland Paris. Of the two he says about Ratatouille: "It’s another good example of a blend of classic 3D theming with modern amazing hi-definition projection equipment and a new trackless system. We’re going to be introducing a similar system into the star attractions at our LEGOLAND parks going forward."