Theme park owner unveils pioneering pricing scheme

The company which owns some of the country’s leading visitor attractions has announced a change to its pricing structures.

Poole Firm Merlin Entertainments, which owns Alton Towers and Legoland, has announced it will charge customers higher prices during peak periods.

The company said it is bringing in dynamic pricing that will be responsive to weather conditions and customer  demand.

The new pricing structure means it will  be able to respond more quickly and lower prices if they are less busy than expected or raise them if a day becomes unexpectedly busy.

The group’s chief executive, Scott O’Neil, said dynamic pricing would “protect the guest experience” during busier times of the year by managing queues, where wait-times can be more than an hour for top attractions.

The opportunity to buy tickets at discounted prices during off-peak times, which could be a rainy weekend in March, makes the experiences “available and accessible to all,” Mr O’Neil added.

He likened it to “happy hours” used in bars, as well as hotels and airlines which typically hike prices for travel during peak times but offer cheaper prices off-season.

“It is not a new concept, but our focus is on two things that matter most; the guest experience and making sure that we are accessible and value-based for families,” he said.

Merlin revealed its sales soared to records high last year as more visitors flocked to city-centre attractions.

Total revenues jumped by eight per cent to £2.1bn in 2023and it had 62 million total visitors across the globe.

About a quarter of all tourists to London visited one of Merlin’s attractions last year, and 40 per cent of those visited more than one, according to the company.