Merlin Annual Pass offers and questions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Steve74, 2nd Nov 2018.

  1. John_P

    John_P TowersStreet Member

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    Because of the extension my pass was due to expire early next month. Guess I won't be visiting again this year now.
     
  2. Swarm Chris

    Swarm Chris TowersStreet Member

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    I was under the impression the extensions were such that no MAP would expire during the theme park closed season this year. So from end of October they'd have about 5 months with no renewals due where they could do what they like with the passes and not cause any customer service issues from passes that expire.

    New pass sales makes sense as they've clearly massively over sold those.
     
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  3. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    scarefest and fright nights are some of the busiest time of the year. Given how quickly pass holder tickets have sold out and how little availability there has been in the last few months it makes sense to try to minimise the number of pass holders at this time.

    The risk for Merlin is that the midway attractions could end up being very quiet over the winter with few international tourists coming to London, if they don’t have as many pass holders available to fill up the capacity.

    But for the next few months I don’t think the theme parks need the extra pass holders.
     
  4. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    New MAP expiry date calculator can be found here

    https://www.merlinannualpass.co.uk/information/new-expiry-date-calculator

    The extended expiry date is no good if you can't make use of your pass.

    For some reasons, I had vision that greedy M£rlin will still run it's pass discount promotion over the winter despite the fact that it is virtually impossible to use them
     
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  5. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Can't believe that many people would want to renew in the current climate anyway. People should tell 'em to stick their passes somewhere not very nice until they officially confirm that they're lifting restrictions on passholder bookings completely, or at least limit passholders to having a maximum of 2 'live' bookings and make it possible for passholders to book a day if there are still fully paid day tickets available. They've treated passholders with disdain this year and don't deserve the custom. Each to their own though if you're THAT desperate to line Merlin's pockets.
     
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  6. ringo

    ringo TowersStreet Member

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    What’s new compared to the old date checker? The new one gives me the same expiry date :confused:
     
  7. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    Nothing, I just bumped the link for those that unaware that the MAP expiry extensions :)

    Edit: I see why the confusion, I wrote new as in new expiry date, not as in new calculator
     
    Last edited: 24th Sep 2020
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  8. monkeyboy

    monkeyboy TowersStreet Member

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    Agreed
    There’s a fine line between getting revenue back through the gates and then blatantly telling ppl that have already paid you can’t get in. Shocking behavior. I’m sure there some consumer credit act that can be applied. Seems like the virus is a good excuse for Merlin.

    Do we know what the annual pass numbers are on weekends and half term as no booking available at all.

    Maybe taking the £1 fee off Prebook was a bad idea


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. ringo

    ringo TowersStreet Member

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    I think the removal of the booking fee was in part due to complaints, the T&C’s didn’t allow a booking fee unless it was classed as an “event” they couldn’t argue every day was an “event” so removed it to avoid issues.

    Clearly Merlin misjudged the booking system, they needed to restrict it to make it fairer to those who wanted to visit - allowing block bookings shouldn’t have been allowed but then it’s the stopping block booking restricted those who could visit, was a no win situation.

    They shouldn’t of had a MAP sale, even suspending new sales would of been better management of existing passholders but typical Merlin they chased the money from any source and 2 fingers to anyone else.
     
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  10. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    They should have stopped selling passes back in March and only restarted renewals from July for those who had a pass that already expired in 2020. They shouldn’t have sold any new annual passes at all.

    I’m guessing some of the booking issues are due to block booking.
    I’ve made up the numbers, but maybe before Covid on an average day the park got 50% passes, 25% pre-book and 25% on the gate (voucher etc).
    So they allocate 50% of the tickets to pass holders, but they get snapped up quickly and then there are complaints that you can still buy day tickets but not pass holders pre booking. But it sounds fair that they shouldn’t expect significantly more pass holders compared to last year, so why allocate more capacity.
     
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  11. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    But under term 25, Merlin can change the terms and conditions as long as they give 30 days notice. They could've quite easily changed the terms and conditions due to the current operating conditions, which, let's face it, are far from normal at the moment.

    I'm surprised they've been selling passes over the last six months though. I don't think I'd buy or renew one right now.
     
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  12. Swarm Chris

    Swarm Chris TowersStreet Member

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    I believe terms like that are typically unenforceable. General rule being if the business can change something with no consequence, but the customer cannot, it's invalid.

    New pass sales should have been scrapped immediately when they realised they couldn't fulfill the obligations to existing passholders as well as those customers would have liked. Running a sale over the summer was awful business practices.
     
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  13. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    For a £1 booking fee, I really don't think it would be an held up in court if people really did try to complain its an unfair additional term.
    But they should have managed the bookings by limiting it to two live bookings per park per pass instead. Or if they really couldn't get the tech to do it, then a larger refundable deposit.
     
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  14. Swarm Chris

    Swarm Chris TowersStreet Member

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    For sure a court would have no interest. Consumer rights journalist who had a bad day out though... :p

    Also interesting that all park specific passes were removed yesterday at the same time. I get the feeling the pass system might become more tightly controlled by Merlin, rather than having parks generate their own products in competition with Merlin.
     
  15. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Given Thorpe Park have been offering annual or season passes at around £50 for years, Merlin definitely know and I don't think that is the issue.

    I think it is the capacity issues at Fright Nights and ScareFest is the main current issue. Given basic tier passes are not valid for those anyway there is no point selling more season passes anyway.
     
    Last edited: 25th Sep 2020
  16. Swarm Chris

    Swarm Chris TowersStreet Member

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    Agree on the current issue being capacity, and it's about this time park passes start to disappear and replaced with next year's passes being advertised.

    The questions in the MAP survey really make me think they're moving pass management entirely to Merlin. Options for single park passes, theme park passes, full attraction passes, entry time options, and drinks options. Makes me wonder if we might even see a bolt on pass system appear similar to some US parks.
     
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  17. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Yes I think hopefully they might even be reconsidering their whole pricing system. The current thing where the gate price isn't actually the real price (as most people either use a 2for1, season pass for one day price or book online) doesn't seem feasible when more people are booking online.

    Hopefully they are moving towards the online price being the real price and then annual/season passes being a higher fixed cost.
     
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  18. They needed a more technically adapt system like Disney which would recognise when you didn't show up. Or one with only a certain number of days allowed at a time. BPB was simple and I've had no issues with getting tickets from them, just only release tickets 7 days in advance.
     
  19. Mikw

    Mikw TowersStreet Member

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    Is there any chance the Season Pass won't come back next year?

    I hope it does, as it's great value, i know the survey was for Merlin annual passes but one of the option was for a park specific pass (season pass under a different name) but the price was much higher.

    While the situation since the Covid outbreak hasn't been ideal, with season pass holders struggling to book due to reduced capacity, i don't think we should be arguing for big price hikes as a good thing somehow.

    "Pay once, come back all year" is a lot better than "Pay a much higher price, and only get in after 2pm"
     
  20. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    We all know there is a huge MAP member-base - and probably quite a large park-specific pass member-base, given the "Pay once, come back all year" marketing. I suspect that Merlin have realised they are "annoying" [replace with words of your choice" the passholder-base by limiting their access to the parks in favour of day guests paying cold hard cash - even if they are using a BOGOF. Merlin must have lost a fortune during the closure, so cash in the tills from admissions takes priority over passholders.

    The situation has obviously arisen because of the Covid situation, but I suspect they are testing the water with the survey as they decide what to do for next year. Also removing passes from sale stops anyone buying one with the current benefits / T&C's and using it next season.

    I suspect we won't know exactly what they are going to do until January - this is normally when there is a MAP sale promotion. They will be watching closely what is happening with Covid nearer the time before they make their decision. I can see next years annual pass options being less favourable & more expensive than what we have been used to.
     
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