By leveraging several core attraction brands – including LEGOLAND, Sea Life, Madame Tussauds and the Dungeons – CEO Nick Varney has nurtured Merlin Entertainments into the world’s second largest operator. With an ever increasing footprint, it now boasts over 130 individual venues in 25 countries on four continents.
The company’s roots in the ‘Midway’ (short stay) attraction business have helped it develop efficient operations with a relatively quick return on investment. Yet Merlin has also enjoyed success in recent years at its Resort Theme Parks and LEGOLAND Parks by adding themed accommodation. This coming July, it will launch the ninth global LEGOLAND theme park in New York State, and has already announced plans for subsequent parks in China and South Korea.
In addition to building its own brands, Merlin is increasingly working with external intellectual property providers to bring fresh stories and characters to its guests. These include Peppa Pig themed experiences in the USA, China and Europe, plus collaborations with the children’s authors David Walliams and Julia Donaldson at its UK resorts Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures.