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Visitor Attractions: Merlin Entertainments appoints marketing Chief for Blackpool

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Sarah Lundy, Merlin Entertainments’ Blackpool Cluster Marketing Manager, cannot believe her luck at being at the heart of the town’s regeneration plans for the Tower and Promenade.  

Related: Interview with Mark Fisher, MD Theme Parks, Merlin Entertainments

Appointed Merlin Entertainments’ Blackpool Cluster Marketing Manager at the end of 2010, Sarah is responsible for all sales and marketing for the businesses in the Tower; the new Madame Tussauds, Blackpool which will open at the end of April; and the Blackpool SEA LIFE centre.   Sarah reports directly to Merlin’s Head of Blackpool Cluster, Iain Hawkins.

A long time resident of the area, Sarah previously worked as the e-marketing manager for the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, and watched with growing interest Blackpool Council’s bid to buy the iconic landmark and the partnership with Merlin – never expecting to find herself playing such a key role in the success of the project.

‘I felt that the Council’s decision to form an allegiance with an experienced visitor attraction operator to optimize their acquisition of the Tower was very enlightened.  And, when my colleagues and I at the Tourist Board heard it was Merlin Entertainments we knew that we wouldn’t be disappointed!’ commented Lundy.

‘The plans for the Tower and the whole area are very exciting – and now I have had a few weeks to see exactly what is happening, and know what the town can expect from Merlin’s three new attractions – Madame Tussauds, Blackpool; the Blackpool Tower Dungeon; and the new Blackpool Tower Eye observation deck – I have no doubt that the town will re-establish its position as the UK’s favourite family destination during 2011/2012.  I am thrilled to be a part of the project, and particularly to be working for Merlin which is such a dynamic company.’

The fast timescale for the project is certainly challenging for Lundy and her small team, which is working flat out to put plans in place both to ensure that visitors can continue to enjoy the Tower during the reconstruction and maintenance work this summer; and that they are ready for the ‘relaunch ‘ of the Tower later this year, and opening of the planned new attractions as they are completed.  Lundy’s background in digital marketing and development is also coming in to its own as Merlin looks to establish an interactive information and sales website for the Blackpool Cluster of attractions. 

She is also responsible for the development and launch of a whole new ticket structure for the Tower which will in future allow visitors free access to the common areas, with separate charges for each of the key attractions – the Ballroom, Circus, Jungle Jims, the Blackpool Tower Dungeon and Blackpool Eye observation deck and 4D pre-show.    

Lundy explains, ‘We want everyone to maximize their use and enjoyment of our attractions and the area; and this new pricing structure will encourage both local and holiday visitors to come to the Tower very regularly for different reasons – a circus show; tea with friends in the Ballroom; a visit to the Eye Tower Top …..  We will also be introducing special discounts for multiple visits, and tickets which also include Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE and even other Blackpool favourites.  Indeed one of my primary tasks is to establish good working partnerships with other complementary businesses in Blackpool and the surrounding area; as well as with visitblackpool, the Tourist Board and other similar organisations.’  

Commenting Iain Hawkins said: ‘We are delighted to have Sarah on board.  Her Tourist Board background meant she has hit the ground running building on her established relationships and knowledge of the area.   In just a few weeks she has already become a key part of the Merlin leadership team here in Blackpool, and is a passionate and driving force behind the project!’

For further information:   Sally Ann Wilkinson Merlin Entertainments.   0208 948 3725 /07774 415 372.    saw@thefirmcomms.com

 The MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS GROUP is the leading name in location based, family entertainment, which has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years.   Europe’s number one, and the world’s second largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin has 64 attractions and 6 hotels in 14 countries, across 3 continents.   The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its more than 40 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and almost 15, 000 employees.   Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions – SEA LIFE – the world’s No 1 aquarium brand, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures, Heide Park, and Earth Explorer.

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