Merlin defends operational cutbacks

Merlin Entertainments has moved to defend the operational cutbacks seen at its theme parks this season.

Shorter opening periods for the parks and some rides as well as closures of some rides and food outlets have been seen across the company’s four theme parks in the UK.

Although some measures have been reversed due to presumed negative guest feedback, others have remained in place.

A spokeswoman for Merlin told this website: “These are very difficult economic times, and this, combined with the exceptionally poor weather so far this season has meant that we are having to make some very tough decisions at times – particularly in our resort theme parks – in order to employ our resources in a way which provides us with maximum flexibility but has the least impact on our guests.

“Our overall objective however is always to provide the best possible guest experience and excellent value for money,” she added.

Visitor movement

She said that the company uses various ways of projecting how people move around theme parks at certain times and days.

“Given more and more of our guests choose to make significant savings by booking their tickets in advance,” she said.

“This information, together with years of historic research data, means we are not only increasingly able to accurately predict daily volumes, but also bearing in mind the weather on any given day, the likely visitor journey around the parks.

“In low season/volume days this allows us to stagger the opening times of our restaurants, shops, rides and attractions depending on our visitor profile, without compromising the overall guest experience,” she said.

Water rides have typically opened at least an hour later than other rides at Merlin theme parks.

“While most areas of the parks are open at 10am every day a few may open later/remain closed on low season days,” the spokeswoman added.

“One of the best and most successful examples of this, again in the low season, is sometimes opening our water-based attractions a little later, because experience shows people tend to go to them later in the day when the sun may be at its hottest.”