The Merlin VIP Annual Pass

WickerManiac

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus
Yes it is off topic and the care to RAP ratio has been discussed over in the RAP thread.

I disagree with limiting 1 carer. Why should a family of four with one of them being disabled be denied to ride with the rest of their family? That would be unfair and discrimination as non disabled people can ride with all family members. In my view this is totally unacceptable.

Likewise I also embrace disable people having their independence and I also wouldn't enforce that they have to ride with a carer unless there disability calls for it.

If the RAP time cards are implemented correctly and the time out written down on them correctly (they could also ad another 10 to 20 mins to the time compensate the time it takes to ride the ride as well as walking to the next ride). Then the RAP shouldn't really affect the normal queue line.

On the other hand, the fast tracks are another story and the sales of these should really be limited as well as they should cost more to purchase. Fast tracks should be discourage.

It isn't discrimination because many theme parks around the world, including BPB, implement this method. You also forget that the whole point of the RAP queue is that it can be kept to a minimum. So, if every man and his dog joins with 3 carers then it means there's a big queue for it - which defeats the entire point of it! And what if a disabled person comes to the park with 15 friends, should they all be let on then by your logic?

Anyway, I'll go back on topic now! Sorry, Rob!
 
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Croftybaby

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
What were the limits for the VIP pass, am i right in thinking there were only about 1000 of them?

I can totally see why they've rightly ditched them, they didn't really offer any benefit at all for the parks and were probably more trouble that they were worth in terms of man hours dealing with these punters.
 

WickerManiac

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus
What were the limits for the VIP pass, am i right in thinking there were only about 1000 of them?

I can totally see why they've rightly ditched them, they didn't really offer any benefit at all for the parks and were probably more trouble that they were worth in terms of man hours dealing with these punters.

Entirely true. It is also often overlooked that Merlin's Board of Directors have the KPIs directly linked to their bonus remuneration.

As far as I am aware/constantly see, is that "VIPs" (I use the term loosely) used to complain forever and a day, over the most insignificant of things!
 

bluesonichd

TS Member
What were the limits for the VIP pass, am i right in thinking there were only about 1000 of them?

I can totally see why they've rightly ditched them, they didn't really offer any benefit at all for the parks and were probably more trouble that they were worth in terms of man hours dealing with these punters.
I wouldnt call £600K lost revenue a year more trouble than its worth.
 

RoyJess

TS Member
It isn't discrimination because many theme parks around the world, including BPB, implement this method. You also forget that the whole point of the RAP queue is that it can be kept to a minimum. So, if every man and his dog joins with 3 carers then it means there's a big queue for it - which defeats the entire point of it! And what if a disabled person comes to the park with 15 friends, should they all be let on then by your logic?

Anyway, I'll go back on topic now! Sorry, Rob!

The whole point of RAP is access for those that can't use the normal queue line. It is discrimination when a disable person is treated different to non disable. If the disable are only allowed 1 person to ride with them, then the same rule should apply to the non disable guest too

The RAP is not supposed to be a free fast track, but judging by each time the word "FAST TRACK" is discussed on here, the subject of RAP is more often brought up, which gives the impression that there are some that are treating RAP like a free fast track.

I'm all for the disable having access and being treated with dignity, respect and as an independent equal, but I also against people abusing any disability facilities.

By my logic, if the time card is marked a cordially (+ a little mark up) and properly and the timed out properly implemented, then it should make no difference whether a group of people wait in the normal queue line for (lets say 30 minutes for example) or by using the RAP and have their card timed out for 40 mins (30 mins queue time + 10 minutes for allowance for time taken on the ride/break run + walking to next ride) , then in reality, mathematically it shouldn't make any difference.
 
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bluesonichd

TS Member
By my logic, if the time card is marked a cordially (+ a little mark up) and properly and the timed out properly implemented, then it should make no difference whether a group of people wait in the normal queue line for (lets say 30 minutes for example) or by using the RAP and have their card timed out for 40 mins (30 mins queue time + 10 minutes for allowance for time taken on the ride/break run + walking to next ride) , then in reality, mathematically it shouldn't make any difference.
and there the problem lies, the cards either are either marked with a 5 min time, no mater the actual main q length, or they are not marked at all.
 

RoyJess

TS Member
and there the problem lies, the cards either are either marked with a 5 min time, no mater the actual main q length, or they are not marked at all.

Then it's down to Alton to ensure the the staff are properly trained and that the RAP is implemented properly. You don't penalise those that genuinely need to use the RAP by denying them the rights to ride with their friends and family
 

bluesonichd

TS Member
Then it's down to Alton to ensure the the staff are properly trained and that the RAP is implemented properly. You don't penalise those that genuinely need to use the RAP by denying them the rights to ride with their friends and family
Towers have know about this since the VIP pass was introduced and the pass holders kept telling them what was happening, 5 years later nothing has changed.
word gets around, pay your doctor £50 for a letter and get a RAP and its free fastrack all day
Everyone looses out

Merlin dont care
 

RoyJess

TS Member

Croftybaby

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
I wouldnt call £600K lost revenue a year more trouble than its worth.

I don't think that will be lost though. The vast majority will opt for the next best option and possibly by a premium fast track (The £70 one.)
The company will have the figures for how many were on a waiting list so they will know the demand. I personally think this must have been well thought out and they won't be loosing anything.
 

imanautie

TS Member
I don't think that will be lost though. The vast majority will opt for the next best option and possibly by a premium fast track (The £70 one.)
The company will have the figures for how many were on a waiting list so they will know the demand. I personally think this must have been well thought out and they won't be loosing anything.
I honestly think the reason it's been discontinued if they do can sell park specific fast track season tickets like THORPE.
If they do I will be buying Alton Chessington and THORPE.

Sent from my Swift 2 Plus using Tapatalk
 

Craig

TS Administrator
So having had a day or two to think this all over a few points from me.

What completely tripped up the pass was the initial marketing. It essentially promised too much to passholders. The initial offering was so vague that people demanded a service and product that Merlin never intended to give, but yet parks and attractions were pushed to meet them.

Onto the cost, remember revenue is only a small part of a successful business - what really matters (especially to a shareholder held company like Merlin) is profit. For example, the last published price for a VIP pass was £725, with a Premium pass being £229. So just over 3 times the price for a VIP pass, but it offers worldwide entry, unlimited fast track and all the other bits on top. On paper that sounds great for Merlin as a business until you look into the detail.

As a basic example, for a VIP passholder to visit Alton Towers, you need to factor in the cost for a staff member to administer their booking request to visit, along with the cost for a staff member to meet them when they arrive and deal with any queries throughout the day. Top that off with losing some fastrack, maze ticket and premium parking allocation and the possibility of staff members running behind the scenes tours as 'Golden Experiences'. That's not to mention special events for Fireworks and dealing with queries and complaints in-between visits, which for some passholders tended to be plentiful!

When you factor in all of the above, and the fact that the VIP passholder numbers were relatively small I'd be willing to bet the profit per VIP passholder would be minimal. I'd probably say it'd be substantially less than say a typical standard or premium passholder.

So where do things go from here? We'll almost definitely see a new product come in at some point in the future, there's clearly a market for elements of the pass that would ultimately be profitable for Merlin. I'm not sure if we'll see a new top tier pass, it may be a case that they offer 'add on' packages to the existing Premium Pass. For example the likes of Thorpe's unlimited Fastrack seems like the most sensible option, that way each individual park gets the revenue from the purchase.

Whatever happens, Merlin will be much more careful in marketing any products in future, and be a hell of a lot more mindful of the subsequent costs both the group and each individual attraction has to bear from them.
 

Rick

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Crux
I wouldnt call £600K lost revenue a year more trouble than its worth.
Depends what the cost of delivering the product is vs the revenue. Retail chains are closing shops left, right and centre with huge revenue loss, but it will help them become more profitable.

Plus, I'd wager the revenue won't be lost, people who have bought a VIP pass use it in a way and at a frequency they're not going to stop visiting altogether - they'll just spend differently ↓↓↓

I honestly think the reason it's been discontinued if they do can sell park specific fast track season tickets like THORPE.
If they do I will be buying Alton Chessington and THORPE.
 
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bluesonichd

TS Member
As a basic example, for a VIP passholder to visit Alton Towers, you need to factor in the cost for a staff member to administer their booking request to visit, along with the cost for a staff member to meet them when they arrive and deal with any queries throughout the day. Top that off with losing some fastrack, maze ticket and premium parking allocation and the possibility of staff members running behind the scenes tours as 'Golden Experiences'. That's not to mention special events for Fireworks and dealing with queries and complaints in-between visits, which for some passholders tended to be plentiful!

A load of tosh.

Merlin made a shite load of money from the pass
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
It didnt exist a few years ago.

It doesn't exist anymore.

The number of VIP passholders was few. Merlin could cope if none of them ever visited again. If you can't cope queuing either buy FT or if it's due to a medically diagnosed condition issue sort yourself out with RAP.

The parks have said from the start they've been difficult to manage. All those rules that were sent out etc.

It's easier if it's just put out of its misery.

:)

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