UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
User avatar
mezza
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 520
Joined: March 2006

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 12:51 am

AstroDan wrote:
The ride is now open daily.

To me, forget any talk of embarrassment, just a bit of praise and positivia that once again they've listened and proven to themselves and Merlin how important a full compliment is.

:)


This is right - and to everyone who wrote a letter/spoke to guest services etc etc.... give yourself a pat on the back.
EXIT THROUGH THE SHIPPING CONTAINER
 
thefatone
TT Member
TT Member
Topic Author
Posts: 877
Joined: January 2011
Location: Hidden behind an ancient bookcase..

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 10:14 am

Good stuff, this is a win all-round really.

Not impressed with me ending supposedly creating a topic! But nice to see skyride back in operation.
 
User avatar
smidgey
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 19
Joined: September 2004
Location: Manchester

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 2:15 pm

I e-mailed Nick Varney regarding this on the 17th.  I have just recieved the following response:

Dear Mr. ???

Thank you for your recent email to Nick Varney regarding Alton Towers Resort: he has asked me to respond. 

I would like to assure you that we take our responsibility to provide a magical day out at the Alton Towers Resort very seriously and our visitor feedback shows that we represent an excellent value for money, unique short break for the whole family.    As you point out we also continue to invest in the Resort year on year – in 2012 adding two exciting new attractions – Nemesis: Sub-Terra and Ice Age – The 4-D Experience; while in 2013 we will be opening one of our biggest ride investments to date.  Indeed our collection of outstanding world class thrill rides and unique experiences has we believe rightly gained us the position as the UK’s favourite Theme Park.

Given this reputation we are never complacent about our customer experience and we take the comments and concerns of our guests very seriously; indeed we actively encourage feedback both on the day through touch screen research, and via our Facebook page and Guest Services department.  However we do at times also suffer from uninformed comment – almost always critical - which unfortunately then becomes ‘fact’, and gives unnecessary concerns to regular visitors such as you. 

To clarify therefore, the Skyride was temporarily closed as part of a trial based on low usage on off peak days.  We regularly review the experience we offer in line with guest expectations and changing trends which technology now allows us to track in great detail.  However, we make no apologies for also considering commercial imperatives; it is how we remain a successful business and are able to continue to invest as you have acknowledged.  In this particular case, whilst we received only three on the day comments over the four days the ride was closed, we have decided not take the trial any further and the Skyride has therefore re-opened and will remain so for the remainder of the season, barring mechanical, operational or maintenance issues. 

I hope you are reassured of our intentions to provide the best experience that we possibly can and we look forward to welcoming you to the Alton Towers Resort very soon.

Yours sincerely

Ian Crabbe
Divisional Director, Alton Towers Resort
Image
 
Adam
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 4018
Joined: April 2004
Location: UK

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 2:49 pm

^ Actually very impressed by that response!

It's good that Ian took the time to explain everything through that reply. And really, we can't say fairer than that. They trailed it, saw it didn't work, and stopped it.
"It would be spiteful to put Jellyfish in a trifle..."
 
User avatar
Rob L
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2740
Joined: March 2007
Location: Rothley, Leicester
Contact:

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:16 pm

That is a very detailed reply there from Mr Crabbe, I'm impressed. Interesting to see what he had to say also.

:)
Image

Image
 
User avatar
Nightfall
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2730
Joined: September 2009
Location: Cambridge

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:30 pm

It's good to see that we've finally reached a point where there has been so much cost cutting that even the smallest attempt to cut costs is coming under heavy resistance. Hopefully this will send a message that the parks are running on bare minimum and can't be squeezed any more. I know these are tough times but there is a limit to what's considered acceptable for a large leisure company. It's also good to know that enthusiasts are not the only ones who have had enough.

Let's see what they come up with next. I agree with quite a few others that the parks don't want to make these changes but are under pressure from higher authorities. Although I don't fully blame Merlin either as I believe they're under just as much pressure from their shareholders. Maybe after a year of failed trials someone will get the message, or maybe they'll actually find a reasonable way to save the cash.
Image
 
Dormiens-Dave

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:37 pm

See i think that as much as TT played a part its comments from the GP that work in these cases and e-mail comments make a much bigger impact than Facebook trolling. So if anything this does show how much Alton Towers listen and will stand up to Merlin when silly cuts go to far... but they have to trial them when forced.

I have a lot of respect for the Alton Towers management team, they are quite honest about their faults as well as their strengths (see [email protected] vids) and i think do a good job despite their financial limitations imposed by Merlin.

I think i will continue to highlight any failing but i intend to make sure i balance that with any good that comes our way too. So so many people are only ever interested in seeing the bad.
 
User avatar
Tom G
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1776
Joined: June 2010

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:44 pm

smodkins wrote:
I e-mailed Nick Varney regarding this on the 17th.  I have just recieved the following response:

Dear Mr. ???

Thank you for your recent email to Nick Varney regarding Alton Towers Resort: he has asked me to respond. 

I would like to assure you that we take our responsibility to provide a magical day out at the Alton Towers Resort very seriously and our visitor feedback shows that we represent an excellent value for money, unique short break for the whole family.    As you point out we also continue to invest in the Resort year on year – in 2012 adding two exciting new attractions – Nemesis: Sub-Terra and Ice Age – The 4-D Experience; while in 2013 we will be opening one of our biggest ride investments to date.  Indeed our collection of outstanding world class thrill rides and unique experiences has we believe rightly gained us the position as the UK’s favourite Theme Park.

Given this reputation we are never complacent about our customer experience and we take the comments and concerns of our guests very seriously; indeed we actively encourage feedback both on the day through touch screen research, and via our Facebook page and Guest Services department.  However we do at times also suffer from uninformed comment – almost always critical - which unfortunately then becomes ‘fact’, and gives unnecessary concerns to regular visitors such as you. 

To clarify therefore, the Skyride was temporarily closed as part of a trial based on low usage on off peak days.  We regularly review the experience we offer in line with guest expectations and changing trends which technology now allows us to track in great detail.  However, we make no apologies for also considering commercial imperatives; it is how we remain a successful business and are able to continue to invest as you have acknowledged.  In this particular case, whilst we received only three on the day comments over the four days the ride was closed, we have decided not take the trial any further and the Skyride has therefore re-opened and will remain so for the remainder of the season, barring mechanical, operational or maintenance issues. 

I hope you are reassured of our intentions to provide the best experience that we possibly can and we look forward to welcoming you to the Alton Towers Resort very soon.

Yours sincerely

Ian Crabbe
Divisional Director, Alton Towers Resort



While that's predictably pre-prepared in its opening statements (I usually expect that sort fo thing at the end), I think the response is pretty laughable and a little bit bullish really. Is it a "commercial imperative" to close an hour early or close the Skyride? No.
 
User avatar
Magrathea
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1262
Joined: August 2010
Location: Weston-super-Mare

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Another victory for Towers management against Merlin methinks, and a brilliant and detailed response from Mr Crabbe - the fact that this trial was called off so soon is very praiseworthy :D
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Tom G
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1776
Joined: June 2010

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:52 pm

I'm loving this Merlin vs Alton Towers thing some people have going on in their heads. Merlin is the group operator, all of Alton Towers' staff are Merlin employees that happen to work at Alton Towers.

I find it pretty strange that Ian Crabbe and everyone else at Alton Towers are being portrayed as some sort of native inhabitants in a struggle against a colonial superpower.

The managers and accountants at Alton Towers are still in the Merlin payroll, it's the same beast.
 
User avatar
Nightfall
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2730
Joined: September 2009
Location: Cambridge

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:54 pm

Dormiens-Dave wrote:
See i think that as much as TT played a part its comments from the GP that work in these cases and e-mail comments make a much bigger impact than Facebook trolling. So if anything this does show how much Alton Towers listen and will stand up to Merlin when silly cuts go to far... but they have to trial them when forced.

I have a lot of respect for the Alton Towers management team, they are quite honest about their faults as well as their strengths (see [email protected] vids) and i think do a good job despite their financial limitations imposed by Merlin.

I think i will continue to highlight any failing but i intend to make sure i balance that with any good that comes our way too. So so many people are only ever interested in seeing the bad.



I agree, especially with your first paragraph which was why I highlighted it as well. It's just so hard to balance views at the moment when there are so many issues arising but whenever something good does happen we’re all desperately trying to say something positive to not come across as moaning. That’s why I just try and thank the good posts whenever I agree with them and hope that no one notices I only feel the need to reply to the bad.
Image
 
User avatar
Magrathea
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1262
Joined: August 2010
Location: Weston-super-Mare

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:57 pm

That's because that's what's going on: changes are being forced by the parent company against the will of management at the park...if anything the colonial superpower analogy, if a little extreme, is alright :P
Image
Image
 
Bote
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1819
Joined: August 2009
Location: In the hall of the mountain king
Contact:

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:58 pm

Yes, but the majority of the Alton Towers management aren't sat in an office Poole, or some other far flung part of the world. They are out at the park day on day actively walking around the park listening to people and seeing what happens on a daily basis.

They see what happens to the park first hand, and know what is best for them. However, there are accountants from the higher powers who will spend their day in an office, looking at pieces of paper and computer screens ruling where cuts are to be made and will probably never see the impact first hand to understand what it does.

If anything I think that suggestion was only proven right again after Fantagate where Mr Varney visited the park and saw what had happened. If him, and many other senior Merlin staff could see what park management see I'd imagine things might play out a bit differently.

That's a brilliant response from Mr Crabbe though. It certainly feels much more personal than some of the template letters companies will sometimes send out :)

I can't help but smirk at the first line though. To me it just says "this is your mess now. You deal with it" :P

It is great to see the park not tolerating the complaints these silly cuts cause them.
Last edited by Bote on Thu May 24, 2012 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Tom G
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1776
Joined: June 2010

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 3:59 pm

But was it not Merlin that overruled the Fanta stuff plastered all over Oblivion?

All I'm saying is, clearly the managers and accountants at Alton Towers are just as driven by profit and bonuses as Merlin as a whole.
 
Bote
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1819
Joined: August 2009
Location: In the hall of the mountain king
Contact:

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 4:13 pm

It was Merlin who indeed overuled it in the end, but only after the mass of complaints sent directly to them regarding it.

However, as said earlier, Mr Varney said he visited the park in person to see what it was like just before it was all removed. Why was this the first time him (And other Merlin managers) had seen what had happened? Like I say, if Merlin's senior staff spent more time out in the attractions seeing what happens before we do I can imagine things would happen very differently.

This was again seen with Sub-Terra when some more senior members of Merlin were overheard on park critising it. Why were they not more aware of what was happening with the ride while it was being constructed? Why did they not step in at that point and see if they could salvage the attraction prior to opening?

I personally feel that a lot of the time there is a serious communication breakdown between Merlin and their attractions. It's a bit shameful if we (Enthusiasts) and the general public have to be the ones to tell Merlin what is happening at their parks.

Things have come a way since the Fanta incident, and the park are clearly now in a position to speak up, and challenge Merlin if they receive complaints about a situation or policy which has been enforced to keep the higher powers satisfied. It can only be a step in the right direction :)
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Magrathea
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1262
Joined: August 2010
Location: Weston-super-Mare

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 4:18 pm

Oh I'm not saying that any management are without fault, or not out of touch with their park at times (see: finding out about Picsolve price rises from TTF), but in this situation I definitely believe that Merlin are the ones to blame.
Image
Image
 
AstroDan

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 6:05 pm

Dear Mr. ???

Thank you for your recent email to Nick Varney regarding Alton Towers Resort: he has asked me to respond. 

I would like to assure you that we take our responsibility to provide a magical day out at the Alton Towers Resort very seriously and our visitor feedback shows that we represent an excellent value for money, unique short break for the whole family.    As you point out we also continue to invest in the Resort year on year – in 2012 adding two exciting new attractions – Nemesis: Sub-Terra and Ice Age – The 4-D Experience; while in 2013 we will be opening one of our biggest ride investments to date.  Indeed our collection of outstanding world class thrill rides and unique experiences has we believe rightly gained us the position as the UK’s favourite Theme Park.

Given this reputation we are never complacent about our customer experience and we take the comments and concerns of our guests very seriously; indeed we actively encourage feedback both on the day through touch screen research, and via our Facebook page and Guest Services department.  However we do at times also suffer from uninformed comment – almost always critical - which unfortunately then becomes ‘fact’, and gives unnecessary concerns to regular visitors such as you. 

To clarify therefore, the Skyride was temporarily closed as part of a trial based on low usage on off peak days.  We regularly review the experience we offer in line with guest expectations and changing trends which technology now allows us to track in great detail.  However, we make no apologies for also considering commercial imperatives; it is how we remain a successful business and are able to continue to invest as you have acknowledged.  In this particular case, whilst we received only three on the day comments over the four days the ride was closed, we have decided not take the trial any further and the Skyride has therefore re-opened and will remain so for the remainder of the season, barring mechanical, operational or maintenance issues. 

I hope you are reassured of our intentions to provide the best experience that we possibly can and we look forward to welcoming you to the Alton Towers Resort very soon.

Yours sincerely

Ian Crabbe
Divisional Director, Alton Towers Resort

[/quote]

I think this is an excellent communication from Alton Towers. Actually explaining the reasons why, rather than fobbing off with complete falsities.

:)
 
Crofty

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Thu May 24, 2012 7:13 pm

Agreed. Great response.

But who does a trial for 4 days? It must have been bad if they decided to scrap it after such a short trial period. 4 Weeks would sound more suitable for a trial.
They seem to have a very haphazard approach to making savings.

I wonder if any of the Staff have been asked for suggestions on how to save money?
 
Delta79
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 287
Joined: March 2011

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Fri May 25, 2012 12:27 am

I wonder if AT has thought about having a corporate resents on here. If they did they could ask us, as customers what they could cut without damaging customer service or the experience.


we take the comments and concerns of our guests very seriously; indeed we actively encourage feedback both on the day through touch screen research, and via our Facebook page and Guest Services department.  However we do at times also suffer from uninformed comment – almost always critical - which unfortunately then becomes ‘fact’, and gives unnecessary concerns to regular visitors such as you. 


Considering the above quote, i am surprised AT don't interact on this forum. If they want informed comment, I can't think of a better place to find informed customers.
 
AstroDan

Re: 2012 operational cuts

Fri May 25, 2012 8:20 am

They use the forum a lot, but don't tend to interact online. I think they'd be worried to. I actually think it would force more reasoned debate rather than too much toys out the pram.

Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 134 guests