UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 1443
Joined: April 2018

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:03 pm

Well I'm surprised to see that restriction already declared. I can understand being cautious in reallocating funds back to a division that happened to have a single good year. But do they not realise how this particular division is reliant on investment to have a better year?

Six Flags and Cedar Fair both have similar sized revenues to Merlin. Both of these are adding new world class attractions on a frequent basis. The resort parks are stagnating at best, and regressing in Thorpe's case, without development.

I wonder what the Merlin strategy is when they've finally installed a copy and paste Madame Tussaud's, Legoland or Lego Discovery Centre into every major city across the world? Or filled all their development areas with overpriced empty hotel rooms?
Image
 
User avatar
lewis97
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 4331
Joined: November 2012
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:26 pm

Given that Merlin are reporting notably high growth in the RTP division, which appears to be driven by accommodation, I don’t think the trend of adding new hotels will be changing anytime soon, as it’s delivering desirable results as far as Merlin are concerned.

There is a distinction to be made between operating and capital expenditure, with the slide posted above referring to existing estate capex remaining at lower levels. This therefore concerns the amount of money Merlin are willing to put into new attractions, rather than being associated with the reduced operating budgets that the last few years have seen. That “cost-cutting” is covered by the more investor-friendly named ‘productivity agenda’, which was referred to elsewhere in the presentation (and has been a feature of Merlin’s strategy for the last couple of years now). If I understood what was said correctly, existing attractions across the group had been set a target of keeping any increase in operating costs year-on-year to less than 3%.

Despite making the cutbacks in the above areas, Merlin are still claiming to have seen positive movements in their guest satisfaction measures, so again there wouldn’t seem to be any immediate motivation to change strategy. I think Nick Varney did say that an area that wanted to improve was around value for money where they currently rank “poor or very poor” though.

For as long as Merlin can produce growth from the RTPs, I can’t imagine they’d give any serious thought to selling them off. In the UK especially, they are a key part of their portfolio and presence, with the Merlin Annual Pass deriving most of it’s value from them. I can’t say I know much about the leasing situation with a number of Merlin’s UK sites, but I imagine with these being decades long there would be some sort of provision in there for Merlin to exit, or transfer responsibility to a new operator if they so wished.
Image
 
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 1443
Joined: April 2018

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:24 pm

Another overview of yesterday's results from Nick Varney.



To follow up on Lewis' comment that selling the resort parks in the UK being unlikely, due to them being a big part of the Merlin Annual Pass' value. I'm sure one of the reports I was reading yesterday stated the UK generated about a third or their income. If so, all of those parks are staying tied to Merlin, as the Merlin Pass has allowed them to gain a stranglehold over a lot of days-out entertainment in the UK.
Image
 
abigsmurf
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 393
Joined: July 2012

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:14 pm

Merlin's Parks are comparing fairly poorly, not just to cedar fair and six flags but to other parks in the UK now. 

Look at Paultons Park, a recent highly themed themed area with two modern family coasters is now getting joined by another one bringing some big white knuckle flats and a good spinning coaster. It's missing dark rides but I could easily see Paultons taking over from Chessington by 2022.

Flamingo Land is investing, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has more to come in the near future.

Merlin's new rides all seem to be coming at the expense of other, well loved rides and they're not like-for-like replacements, narrowing the parks appeal when they should broaden it.
 
User avatar
ProfBurp
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 63
Joined: February 2019

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:02 pm

Merlin do need to up the game, lately they seem to have been letting their parks fall to ruin, look at Thorpe....it seems like they are more keen on closing stuff and reducing their rides and even their catering offerings, rather than bring anything new. The new things they do bring, don't seem to be much more than a cheap gap-filler also, not planning ahead for the future. As it has been mentioned, Paulton's was a tiny little park with a very small ride offering, it has grown massively over the last 5-10 years and it looks fresh, welcoming and new. They are investing heavily, which is helping them to develop, however Merlin are not learning from their mistakes and seem to be focusing too much attention on their midway attractions, which seem to be just about everywhere now too anyway!

I know nothing about financial things, as a new attraction obviously costs a great deal of money and this needs to be spread evenly amongst the business, but from an outsiders point of view, Merlin needs to stop opening new attractions and focus on the portfolio they already have! I wouldn't be surprised if they try to sell one of their attractions in the near future.
 
User avatar
lewis97
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 4331
Joined: November 2012
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Thu Apr 18, 2019 1:46 pm

Merlin Entertainments have today launched a shiny new website.
Image
 
User avatar
AltonOperator
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 360
Joined: March 2017
Location: Exactly 65.38 miles from Nemesis' entrance

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:15 pm

It does look a lot nicer than the old, outdated one. something tells me this isn't quite right though...
Image
Image
Image
Thanks Jack
 
User avatar
Justin
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 2753
Joined: April 2014

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:33 am

They also list Warwick as a theme park?
Image
Image
 
User avatar
AltonOperator
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 360
Joined: March 2017
Location: Exactly 65.38 miles from Nemesis' entrance

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:13 am

And sea life Great Yarmouth is missing from the map
Image
Image
Thanks Jack
 
User avatar
Swarm Chris
Team TTSP
Team TTSP
Posts: 1443
Joined: April 2018

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:11 pm

Justin wrote:
They also list Warwick as a theme park?

RMC through the castle confirmed?
Image
 
User avatar
Justin
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 2753
Joined: April 2014

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:52 pm

Just imagine!
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Dan
Forum Leader
Forum Leader
Posts: 2289
Joined: June 2009
Location: Stockport

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:53 pm

Justin wrote:
They also list Warwick as a theme park?


Weirdly, Warwick Castle forms part of the Resort Theme Park division :-k
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Justin
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 2753
Joined: April 2014

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:16 pm

Was it listed under this before? I have a feeling it did, but in no way should it be classified as a theme park!
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Sozzy40
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 72
Joined: August 2018
Location: On a woodie

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:20 pm

Merlin divides their attractions into three groups: Resort theme parks, Legoland parks and Midway Attractions. Out of them, Warwick castle is clearly not a Legoland Park, and it's too big to be a Midway Attraction, so even though it doesn't fit entirely, they've put Warwick in Resort theme parks.
I can see why the beornen worship Wicker Man
 
ROYJESS
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 412
Joined: March 2012
Location: Norfolk

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:25 pm

AltonOperator wrote:
And sea life Great Yarmouth is missing from the map

Yarmouth is not really worth a trip for nowadays.  It has a lot less aquariums and not that many interesting fish now.  IMO it's really gone down hill the last two seasons.  It used to be a good Sealife.
 
User avatar
AltonOperator
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 360
Joined: March 2017
Location: Exactly 65.38 miles from Nemesis' entrance

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:23 pm

ROYJESS wrote:
AltonOperator wrote:
And sea life Great Yarmouth is missing from the map

Yarmouth is not really worth a trip for nowadays.  It has a lot less aquariums and not that many interesting fish now.  IMO it's really gone down hill the last two seasons.  It used to be a good Sealife 


My first visit to Great Yarmouth was in February and I'm in no rush to go back. The Sea Life looked pretty gross from the outside but we were never planning on going in, my family hate them.The only really interesting thing about the town was seeing all the places John Wardley worked as a teenager!
Image
Image
Thanks Jack
 
ROYJESS
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 412
Joined: March 2012
Location: Norfolk

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:04 pm

There is nothing wrong with Yarmouth itself, I visit it regularly.  It's great during the summer months, plenty to do, but the Sealife itself is not what it used to be.

I doubt that Yarmouth would be very appetising during Febuary. 
 
User avatar
Justin
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 2753
Joined: April 2014

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:29 pm

February is not a good time to visit Yarmouth.
I'm actually visiting next Saturday, but I'll only go in the SeaLife centre as I have my pass. To be fair, it isn't a bad SeaLife, but it's probably one of the oldest and now smallest! I can remember a time when they had fish in the window and water used to splash up the glass.

When the Pleasure Beach is open too, then you can make more of the day, especially when you visit Joyland and Pleasure Beach.

Yarmouth is undergoing major investment with the Entertainment complex at Pleasure Beach, and hopefully in the future we will see other Merlin attractions added.
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Ladyofthelake
Team Admin
Team Admin
Posts: 2694
Joined: May 2013
Location: Warwickshire

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:38 pm

Justin wrote:
Was it listed under this before? I have a feeling it did, but in no way should it be classified as a theme park!

When Merlin bought the Tussaud's Group back in 2007 (or may have been 2008), Warwick Castle was initially placed within the Midway category of attractions. I was working at the Castle at the time and remember sitting through a presentation explaining that the Castle was being placed in the same group as the Dungeon attractions and Madam Tussaud's. However, for various reasons it didn't stay in that group and was moved across to the Resort Theme Park division - whilst I don't know exactly when this change took place, I do know it has been grouped with the Resort Theme Parks since at least 2014, possibly 2013.

Having Warwick Castle within the Resort Theme Park division isn't something I agree with personally, however, from what I can tell, placing it in this category has allowed Merlin to allocate more funds to the conservation and development of the Castle than they otherwise would have done. Warwick Castle is also part of the sale and leaseback agreement Merlin made with Nick Leslau (a deal which also included Alton Towers and Thorpe Park).
Image
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Justin
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 2753
Joined: April 2014

Re: Merlin General Discussion

Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:54 pm

I do recall vaguely that it was under theme parks before, but I wasn't sure as it is not a website I visit very often. Personally, I don't agree with it being under the theme park category as it sends out the wrong message, but then again, it is only a website category, so it doesn't affect my enjoyment or views of the attraction. I can see why they have done it though, especially with it having accommodation, but something as simple as 'Theme Parks and Large Attractions' would have been better.

Not a big thing, but interesting!
Image
Image

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests