Launching New Theme Parks.
Merlin is the second largest theme-park and visitor attraction business in the world, with over 67million guests visiting every year and revenues of over £1.6bn. Ben was Global Senior Marketing Director for New Openings during a period where 2 LEGOLAND parks were opened, and around 16 indoor attractions or “Midways”.
What was Ben’s role at Merlin?
Ben held the role of Global Marketing Director for New Openings at Merlin. His job was to lead marketing and sales launches of 4 new LEGOLAND theme parks and 40 Midway sites, as well as developing new brands.
What did he learn?
The experiences gained at Merlin gave Ben a deep insight into the theme park and visitor attraction business, from research and concept development, to business development, the creative and launch process. Because of this, Ben had the privelege of learning the “Merlin Marketing way” directly from CEO Nick Varney, one of the leading marketers of his generation.
Ben was centrally involved in the launch of LEGOLAND Japan and the pre-opening phase of LEGOLAND New York, as well as projects in Shanghai, India, Dubai and South Korea.
What was Ben’s experience with the Digital First agenda?
In addition to this, Ben was fortunate to work at a senior level for Merlin at the start of a major digital transformation project, and to be able to see and help execute the transformation in new sites across the globe. The process has ultimately seen Merlin on the road to becoming a digital-first organisation, with substantial growth in online ticket sales, especially in mobile commerce.
In a 2019 investor update, Merlin reported that “77% of their admissions are now purchased on a smart device (up from circa 30% in 2015)…30% of all app users now sign up to active marketing from the company and 32% of all revenue now comes from online (compare to circa 20% in 2015). Merlin expect this figure to reach 50% by 2021.”
Ben has since adapted his learnings at Merlin to create a digital guest journey framework for 9 Degrees West clients.