Should Merlin Annual Pass Scrap Pass Holder Pre-Book?

Merlin Annual Pass Pass Holder Pre-Book? Has It Had It's Day?

Merlin Annual Pass Pass Holder Pre-book – a lasting legacy of the Covid 19 pandemic, however has it had it’s day?

We Certainly think so!

Since the return of ‘normality’ to the UK themed attractions industry in late 2021/early 2022 pre-booking your ‘slot’ at Merlin Entertainments owned theme parks and attractions seems to become more of a hindrance than a help in our personal opinion.

We completely get why the company chose to introduce the necessity to book ahead, however things have now changed.

This has resulted in the new ‘restrictions’ on securing your spot becoming far more stressful than they need to be at times, especially during peak times of the year!¬†

During Halloween, securing your spot at the likes of Alton Towers Scarefest or Thorpe Park Fright Nights became a nigh impossible (especially during weekends).

So how could the continuation of this measure influence the popularity of Merlin Annual Passes as a whole move forward? Let’s take a closer look.

Pre-booking Alton Towers Scarefest became unnecessarily stressful and caused more grief than it should have in the end.
More Hindrance Than Help?

There’s no doubt that when it comes to controlling numbers of visitors attending the larger attractions, pass holder pre-booking seems a pretty good way to go right? Wrong!

In most cases when it comes to controlling numbers both tickets available to pass holders and those available to the general public will have allocations.

What you don;t want to see as a pass holder though is tickets still on sale and readily available to the general public when you’re paying a set amount each month (or year) to ensure you can access those attractions as and when you want to don so.

This has (in most cases) be the case for both us and many other pass holders alike leading many to question, are Merlin Annual Passes really worth having?

If you’re paying to access Merlin’s attractions on a completely unrestricted basis with their highest value pass (the platinum pass) then the last thing you want to see is lack of access on the days you want to attend.

Such an impact may seem trivial at first, however when you consider how many people hold passes and how often this has happened you can’t deny the impact this will have on continuation of passes and their general appeal overall.

Things Need To Change!

There’s no denying that despite all of the aforementioned above, Merlin Annual Passes will still continue to prove popular with both families and thrill seekers alike.

You also can’t deny that the amount of perks you get as a pass holder can in most cases make it worth having the pass alone, however in our personal opinion in order to stay popular, things need to change, and fast!

A Merlin Annual Pass isn’t really worth having if you can’t access the parks and attractions you want to after all.

Going into the new year we would hope that the now complete lack of covid restrictions and the popularity of their attractions will force Merlin Entertainments to rethink this measure.

Dropping pass holder prebook would make their parks and attractions so much more accessible overall and far more appealing to visit.

We do however feel that should they continue to keep pass holder pre-book, stricter measures on ‘no shows’ need to be considered as well as the allocation of much higher volumes of pass holder pre-books overall.

If the necessity to pre-book is dropped though, it’s safe to say that use of the passes and sales of new ones will most likely increase at a far higher rate than if they choose to keep the restrictions in place

Are They Worth Having?

Absolutely! Merlin Annual Passes in our opinion offer the most value for money than any other annual pass available here in the UK where the themed attractions industry is concerned.

Not only can you access 4 of the UK’s top theme park resorts (Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington & Legoland Windsor), however you also have access to a whole host of Dungeons and Sealife attractions, Madame Tussauds and so much more!

As a pass holder you also receive discount at all all Merlin owned properties of up to 20% on food, beverages and merchandise as well as parking at most major UK parks and attractions (see MAP’s official site for full details).

Merlin Annual Passes don’t just offer free entry and discounts at the parks¬† etc. though either.

MAP also offers discounts to pass holders at other locations such as Welcome Break service stations, up to 50% off the London Eye River Cruise, 20% off most menus at Frankie & Benny’s restaurants and Up to 40% off break down cover with the AA to name but a few!

Ultimately there are loads of benefits to be had where being a pass holder is concerned, however pass holder access is definitely something (in our opinion) that needs to be reviewed (and the sooner the better!!).

Will Merlin Drop Pass Holder Pre-Book?

The chances are probably not, however as mentioned before the benefits of doing so should certainly outweigh the cons.

Creating a stressful booking process is never something any company within the leisure industry should to choose to adopt.

There’s no denying that over the past year though this has almost certainly become the case.

In some cases it has become a real ‘dog fight’ even just to secure your spot and actually use your pass and we’re not the only ones to notice this.

If Merlin Entertainments want to maintain value for money where their annual passes are concerned they almost certainly need to review the way they manage numbers at their attractions, however doing so at the expense of their pass holders is certainly not a good way to go.

In order for Merlin Annual Pass to remain popular and appealing, the company need to take a closer look at the way pass holders can use them and listen to their customers.

we hate the term ‘the customer is always right’ because honestly let’s face it, they’re not, however in situations like this you need to listen and take note of the feedback because if you don’t the long term effects of ignoring it could be detrimental to the future of such a scheme.

For now though Merlin (please) just drop the pre-book system and let us all get back to enjoy your parks and attractions the way we did pre-pandemic – UNRESTRICTED!!!

Thank you very much for reading.

Joe.