Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2024

Merlin Entertainment’s tourist attractions prices to surge | UK | News

The company behind lots of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions is raising prices.

Merlin Entertainments has criticised the government for failing to bring back a tax cut for overseas visitors, making it hard to plan large investments.

The company owns Alton Towers, London Eye, Thorpe Park, Warwick Castle, Chessington World of Adventures, Blackpool Tower, Legoland, Sea Life Centres, Madame Tussauds and more.

It says it is building a “dynamic pricing model” that means charges will be higher at peak times. This surge pricing will be introduced at top attractions by the end of 2024.

A Merlin Entertainments spokesperson told Euronews: “To ensure we continue to deliver the best value and experience for our guests, we regularly review our pricing structure and admission prices in line with the marketplace and we reduce them in off-peak periods.

“The peak vs off-peak pricing is not new for Merlin or other leisure operators and has been in place for many years. As we gather and use more data, we are now looking to drive better demand.

“This also makes sure that the peak period experience is optimised by avoiding overcrowding. This approach clearly works because our guest satisfaction is at an all-time high. This change brings us in line with competitors and the broader holiday industry that have similar pricing structures, which benefit guests who choose to book off-peak.”

Merlin Entertainments CEO Scott O’Neil earlier told the Financial Times the idea was “very intuitive”.

He said: “If an attraction is in the UK, it’s August peak holiday season, sunny and a Saturday, you would expect to pay more than if it was a rainy Tuesday in March.”

O’Neil added that “dynamic” pricing would help “protect the guest experience” during busier times of the year by managing queues, where waits of more than an hour are routine.

The company, which is the largest theme park operator in Europe, is trying to get back the visitors it lost from the COVID-19 pandemic – figures are lower than before lockdown.

The CEO added: “Guests seem to be choosing fewer attractions but spending more. There is a tug and pull in what you do in terms of volume and price and how you manage that.”

Merlin said on Monday it had made record revenues of £2.1bn in 2023, an increase of eight percent year on year, with much of the revenue coming from international tourists visiting the capital. Nearly one in every four visitors to London came to a Merlin attraction, the company said.

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