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Merlin Entertainments Among Britain’s Most Admired Companies


The newest name to appear on Management Today’s 2012 list of Britain’s Most Admired Companies is Dorset based theme park and visitor attractions operator Merlin Entertainments (Merlin).  Its first year in the list, Merlin went straight into the Top 100 appearing at number 64 in the list of 254 of the UK’s most iconic and prestigious companies.  They also came a very close third to Intercontinental Hotels and Virgin Atlantic in the Leisure and Hotels category.
Merlin’s scores under the nine separate judging criteria very much reflect the ethos and skills which have underlined the company’s dynamic growth and  success – bringing it from outside the top 20 when the company was formed in 1999, to number 2 in the world today in just 7 years.  

Merlin headed the leisure sector scores in Capacity to Innovate (also scoring 27 out of 254 in the overall list).   This underlines the emphasis the Group puts on continuous innovation and creativity across every part of the business – both through its unique Merlin Magic Making creative organisation – and through the ideas and touches of ‘magic’ provided every day by its 20, 000 employees across Merlin’s 100 plus attractions and hotels around the world.   

Related Interview: Rob Hicks, Director of Displays Development SEA LIFE, Merlin EntertainmentsMark Fisher, Merlin Entertainments’ Chief Development Officer & Merlin Magic Making / Merlin Entertainments’ Glenn Earlam on “Brands with Unlimited Potential”

The company also scored very high in the categories relating to:

Quality of Goods – reflecting the importance Merlin puts on both continuous investment in its attractions and on customer service – it is the only company in its sector which monitors daily visitor feedback in all its attractionsnick varney merlin entertainments ceo

Quality of Management – CEO Nick Varney (right) and most of his senior management team have been with the company since the start, seeing it through three periods of private equity investment, and steering massive growth even during the current economic downturn.  Much of the attraction management also has long histories with the business and Merlin prides itself on the quality of its teams at every level

Use of Corporate Assets  – Merlin has a reputation for very sound and tight financial management, and for not only creating quality attractions at a fraction of the cost of its competitors; but also continuously investing in them to offer and improve the experience for their visitors

The Management Today BMAC list represents the summary of peers’ perceptions including senior executives from within the industries represented and sector analysts.

Commenting CEO Nick Varney said: ‘ We are delighted to be recognised and admired by our peers – probably the toughest audience of all.  The fact too that our scores reflect the most important elements of the Merlin culture is very encouraging and a great testament to every one of our employees who demonstrate the ‘Merlin Way’ every day across the business through their enthusiasm; innovation and customer care.’

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