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WTF Merlin?

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
^^I want at least some change from my £50 note.

Lol who am I kidding, £50 for a **** Merlin park, on yer bike. It's a struggle to pay £20 with the friends and family discount, at least Alton Towers is worth that at least.
 

owentaylor121

Active Member
And this is the reason I would much rather visit a small independent park over a park the belongs to this joke of a company.
 

CoasterCrazy

Active Member
Fair enough, after major capital investment, a price increase is justified, but after 3 years of nothing? Good one Merlin. Yep, Tesco clubcard vouchers here I come!

Hmmm. To be perfectly honest, this neglect all seems a bit like a soon to be SFKK to me, and maybe even Chessie too. No new investment, shelved plans, degrade in attraction quality, price increases to cope with the inevitable decline in attendance....I wouldn't be surprised if Merlin have reached their peak number of attractions, and will now start selling them off as their business model becomes increasingly unsustainable. Okay, this is probably reading too much into it, and it'll probably be at least half a decade until Merlin give up either Chessie or Thorpe, but this seems to me like the tip of the iceberg.
Actually, on that topic, isn't Legoland Windsor a bit vile now?

Yep, that's a pretty radical take on it, but it's still possible.

Even if I'm completely wrong, with Paramount coming into the market, they'll really have to think carefully about how their management strategy for their UK parks.
 

elephant58

Active Member
Won't it take quite a few years after opening for Paramount to even come anywhere close to taking on Merlin though? Merlin already has 4 highly-developed parks (Thorpe less so), which all attract loads of people. To really rival Merlin, Paramount will need more than a single park with 10 (or so) rides.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Hahaha I know few pay the walk-up price but still that's disgusting. Though tbf, that's the point, as it pushes people towards paying in advance with the massively discounted online price.
 

3Dimensions

Member
They're pretty terrible at designing websites too. The Alton and Thorpe websites are pretty much broken and unusable (the Thorpe one was completely fine before), haven't checked the Chessy one yet though.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Does that mean that the two for one now means you're paying £30 for peak times?

Could it be that they are holding back on large investments whilst they wait and see what paramount do so that they can compete accordingly? Maybe that's a bit optimistic.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Re: Coasters you rode in their closing (last) season

Crazycoaster said:
An on the day ticket is £49.99 according to the website? Two day ticket for £59.99.
OK, that makes more sense.
 

Crazycoaster

Active Member
Ah, the site is pretty misleading then. I've tried searching the website, but that seems to be the only place that peak and off-peak are mentioned. Bit of a terrible design to be honest.
 

3Dimensions

Member
And then fastrack and everything else continues to increase. Would love to see if they ditched it in the next few years. Starting to become as bad as Blackpool's speedy pass
 

Nemesis Inferno

Well-Known Member
elephant58 said:
Won't it take quite a few years after opening for Paramount to even come anywhere close to taking on Merlin though? Merlin already has 4 highly-developed parks (Thorpe less so), which all attract loads of people. To really rival Merlin, Paramount will need more than a single park with 10 (or so) rides.
If only Paramount were building some sort of entertainment district with the park as well...
 

Howie

Active Member
If I had to sum up Merlin's problem in one sentence, it would be their steadfast refusal to listen to anything enthusiasts have to say. Instead, they pander to what they perceive to be the needs of the general public - 'the great unwashed', as it were.
What they fail to realise, time and time again, is that 'enthusiasts' - ie; us lot - are part of the general public and we want the same things out of a visit to a theme park as a casual visitor does. Namely, an enjoyable, stress free day out, with quality attractions that justify the entrance fee, and to not feel like we're being squeezed for every penny. We get enough of that in our day to day lives, theme parks are supposed to take us away from all that, at least for a few hours.
It's like we're a different breed or sumat, some kind of obsessive, compulsive freaks who spend our entire lives bombing round the globe looking for woodies to ride with our arms in the air, chanting 'Wood is good, wood is good', when in fact most of us are fairly normal people with families, jobs, various other interests besides coasters, friends who aren't goons etc etc...
The only difference is that an 'enthusiast' will probably be a bit more well travelled (theme park wise) and just might have a better idea of what works well and what doesn't than your average member of the Staines Massiv' who doesn't know anything beyond Thorpe and Chessie.
Sure, Merlin do their market research via questionnaires and social media and stuff - no doubt at some point in the last 12 months a questionnaire appeared on the windscreen of every vehicle in Thorpe's car park with a question along the lines of: 'Would you like to see a world-first-I'm-a-Celebrity-jungle-maze at Thorpe Park in the future'? To which, of course, 90% of the Staines Massiv' who visited that day ticked the 'Ooh yes please' box.

So when an enthusiast writes in crying out for a new wooden coaster, as every UK goon has been doing for over a decade, they say; 'Thank you for your suggestion, small insignificant enthusiast person, but I have a degree in marketing and business management therefore I know best. We've done our market research and the public don't want a wooden rollercoaster, they want a world-first-I'm-a-Celebrity-jungle-maze'.

People are saying that the prospect of a new Paramount Park will shake things up a bit, but I just don't see it. If anything, I fear the Paramount Park (if it happens) will follow the same patterns. 'Ooh look how easily the British public can be fobbed off with cheap tat. We could probably skimp a bit here. They're used to it. Look at the Merlin parks'.

I realise I paint a pretty bleak picture here, but unless one of the other, non-Merlin parks can pull something extra special out of the bag, I can't see things improving any time soon. :(
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
^ your use of the word perceive is spot on. They think they know what the public want because they're done some market research, but I always feel the questions are loaded. You can't ask 'what would you like to see' and the give some options of boxes to tick, you need to keep it completely ope. ended to see what the public would truly want, and then use that as a base for creativity.

The other annoying thing that Merlin don't seem to understand is that market research is a guideline. It's a compass for the public opinion. If businesses made all their decisions regarding new products from literal market research analysis then we'd never end up with anything original because most people can only draw from their own experiences with what they'd realistically like to see. And in the case of the British public and theme parks that usually stretches about at far as Orlando and Salou. And while I'm of course in no way saying I wouldn't love a B&M Hyper at Thorpe, what I mean is that you occasionally have to make the jump and build something (like a woodie) that it generally wouldn't cross a member of the publics mind to suggest.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
^ I fear that as the company expands and more corporate people and shareholders are involved the less likely they are to take risks with new ideas as there will be a lot of people to answer to should anything go wrong. On the flip side, a larger company will have a better safety net should any projects fail so you might think that they would be more inclined to think outside of the box. Maybe not really though.
 

Gimble

New Member
It stands to reason that Merlin will get rid of some assets (chessie).

Its just a matter of when.

They could in theory at least, wait till 2020 and sell up then. Leaving chessington up sh*t creek.

My money is on this option, paramount will be gathering momentum by then and there has been little to no investment in longterm solid attractions.
 

elephant58

Active Member
Nemesis Inferno said:
elephant58 said:
Won't it take quite a few years after opening for Paramount to even come anywhere close to taking on Merlin though? Merlin already has 4 highly-developed parks (Thorpe less so), which all attract loads of people. To really rival Merlin, Paramount will need more than a single park with 10 (or so) rides.
If only Paramount were building some sort of entertainment district with the park as well...
My point is though, that if people want to go on rides, they won't go to the Paramount Park (as much as Alton/Thorpe).
 

Ian

From CoasterForce
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Interesting.

CVC, Blackstone launch up to $1bn share sale in UK's Merlin
LONDON, March 2 Mon Mar 2, 2015 11:21pm IST

(Reuters) - Private equity firms CVC and Blackstone have launched the sale of all of their remaining shares in UK company Merlin Entertainments .

Deutsche Bank, which is running the sale, said on Monday that it was selling 156,541,347 shares in the theme park resort company via an accelerated bookbuild.

A source familiar with the matter said the shares were being sold at a range of 417-426.50 pence a share. At the upper end of the price range the placement would be valued at 667.6 million pounds. ($1.03 billion) ($1 = 0.6512 British Pounds) (Reporting by Freya Berry; editing by Pamela Barbaglia)
http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/03/0 ... QG20150302

Blackstone and CVC's combined shareholding is 62%. That doesn't meant that somebody else could come in and take over Merlin. Only 30% of Merlin is floated on the LSE.
 
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