The author of the paper will begin with the statement that Merlin Entertainment is situated in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector whose main competitors represent Disney Parks and Resorts, OCT Parks China, Comcast’s Universal Studios, SeaWorld Entertainment, Six Flags, and Cedar Fall…
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Liliestol’s research used 87 articles that resulted in the finding that theme parks use strategies that consist of value, niche markets, uniqueness, variety and quality, and innovation. These aspects were considered important in assessing the role of Merlin’s management in terms of improving the company’s competitive position. In conducting competitive research it was found that the only company, outside of Merlin that possesses all of these attributes (value, niche markets, uniqueness, variety and quality, and innovation) is Disney. As the world’s number one in the amusement park category, Disney has an extremely strong portfolio of brands, and most importantly the Disney name that stands as the unifying recognition factor. It only in this last area that Merlin has a slight issue as the company has such a broad range of brands (11) that the average person is not familiar with them. As shall be developed herein, Merlin has and is addressing this through the two policy areas selected that will explain how the company is shoring up this shortcoming as well as utilizing other aspects within these strategies to heighten its competitive position. Merlin’s management has moved the company into the position as the second most visited theme park after Disney by employing competitive strategies consisting of transforming its theme parks into destination resorts and exploiting synergies. The above policies represented the identification of important sector dynamics where management understood the company needed to increase visitor attendance and repeat attendance (transforming its theme parks into destinations resorts) along with leveraging the scale of the company (exploiting synergies). The transformation of Merlin’s theme parks into destination resorts represented it's forming a better understanding of its customer base by conducting research to arrive at the following understandings: Customer generalities - Visitors to theme parks come for the safe rides, a shared experience with family or friends, building memories, interaction with characters, and as a vacation or holiday experience. Whilst the source for this seems dated, it needs to be considered that Merlin management implemented its transformation and synergy strategies policies in 1999. How it improved its competitive position - The company added the emphasis of short-break stays to its customer marketing strategies to build on the aspect of increasing visitor repeat business over one, two and three day periods as opposed to just thinking about the theme park as a holiday destination. Results- Visitors to Merlin’s theme parks have increased from 30 million visitors in 2006 to over 66 million visitors in 2016. Customer understandings - The theme in the company’s 2017 annual report represented “Delivering Memorable Experiences”. How it improved its competitive position - This represented a part of its transformation of visitor frequency into more repeat traffic that has been lead by Legoland. Results - The company’s visitor traffic is presently in excess of two/thirds of its overall visitor numbers due to an increase in the short-break strategy. This represents an important shift to more domestic repeat and frequent visitors and less of a reliance on what is termed as fly-in markets. The company also reported that visit advance booking has increased significantly which represents more repeat visits.
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