How come Merlin don't have an Ikon Pass or an Epic Pass

Discussion in 'Falls Creek' started by gaz35, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us

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    would add some value to season ticket holders
     
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  2. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty
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    Merlin got Falls & Hotham as part of a package deal when they bought the aquariums and treetop flys. They didn't particularly want to be in the ski industry and I suspect they would sell at the drop of a hat. Can't see them putting a lot of corporate energy into ski industry partnerships
     
  3. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    Thredbo is owned by a Cinema company mind you.........
     
  4. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture
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    Merlin is a UK based global entertainment company, they own lots of brands such as LegoLand, Madame Tusauds, London Eye + other 'Eye' brand ferris wheels and Sea Life aquariums. They also own a bunch of theme parks in over a dozen different countries. In 2010~ish they decided to expand to Australia and picked up a package of attractions from Village Roadshow, they were mainly interested in aquariums, but they kept the other stuff too.

    A few years earlier, the receiver of Living and Leisure, a broke Queensland company (that also owned aquariums as well as things like canopy walkways and ski resorts) had sold the assets to Jamie Paker. But Packer needed cash and put them up for sale in circa 2011. Merlin Entertainments swooped in and took the lot. Again, the aquariums were the main thing that attracted Merlin, but they also kept the canopy walkways and ski resorts.

    There was speculation if Merlin would keep the ski resorts that they had acquired as part of the package deal but 7~ish years later, Merlin still owns them. However they haven't bought any other ski resort anywhere in the world. As the main point of these international passes is to persuade Australians to ski at a foreign resorts, there is no point for Merlin to introduce one as they don't own any foreign ski resorts.

    merlinentertainments.biz
     
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  5. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us
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    It was Hothams great misfortune to have been acquired by a bunch of know-nothing short term profit seeking twats.
     
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  6. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    Ummm point missed
    Thredbo don't own any other resorts around the world either.
    The idea is to entice more people to buy Falls/Hothams passes with value added extras .
     
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  7. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    Families with loads of cash are the best ski resort owners.
     
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  8. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Especially if you are the owners!
     
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  9. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    Or dating a daughter of the owners.........
    who can ski
    is hot
    owns a porsche
     
  10. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Certainly up on Dad owning a brewery!
     
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  11. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture
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    Well, I was giving a company background and pointing out how just huge Merlin Entertainments is. They are bigger than Vail Resorts, the worlds biggest ski resort company. So If Merlin wanted to buy more ski resorts, it would be small change for them.
     
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  12. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty
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    at least you had Bassett splurging money for a while
     
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  13. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    Please propose how this could happen.
     
  14. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us

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    how wouldn't it happen?
     
  15. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    Well a simple understanding of the market place and existing ownership structures would give a reasonable indicator as to how likely this would be to happen.

    Have a look at who controls the Epic, Ikon and Mountain Collective passes.
     
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  16. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    For what it is worth, Falls Creek already have a "sister resort" relationship with Silver Star which I think offers some type of benefit for Hero Pass holders.
     
  17. Majikthise

    Majikthise Sage
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    Knowing folk that work/have worked in Merlin i figure the longer they hold on to Falls and Hotham the longer it is likely they will be positioning them as destinations first , ski resorts second. Merlin see themselves as providers of "experiences" the ski element will be but part of the experience....not the raison d'être
     
  18. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Sounds like modern ski resort management all over.
     
  19. Majikthise

    Majikthise Sage
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    Would be crazy not to...mind you i reckon it is no coincidence that Thredbo has moved furthest on that transition in oz.
     
  20. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture
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    Exactly. Merlin Entertainments really know what they are doing. They didn't become the second biggest theme park / tourist attraction company in the world (after Disney) by chance. They are pretty good at making properties they own pay good dividends and the Falls and Hotham RMBs should harness their expertise to improve both winter and "Green Season" business. So Merlin would have investigated if there was any money to be made from allying with overseas resorts for a pass. Since they haven't joined such an alliance, I'm fairly confident that they see no benefit in it.
     
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  21. FlatLander

    FlatLander Hard Yards

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    I disagree Currawong. While Merlin probably hadnt considered purchasing ski resorts and yes they did come with the aquarium and skwalk etc. Its only the ski resorts in that package that make money (and shite loads of it) why would Merlin offload the cash cows and keep enterprises running at a loss?
     
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  22. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room
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    yes that's correct.
     
  23. Hamburglar

    Hamburglar Hard Yards

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    Used to have a great relationship with Steamboat in the US. 7 days pass in steamboat with every season pass and discounted accomodation. Our family used it and was great. The relationship with Silver Star only gives 50% off tickets if I remember correctly.
     
  24. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    Do you have a link to the annual reports that show the other assets make a loss?
     
  25. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture
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    Exactly. Merlin own 50 aquariums (including 3 in Aust + 1 in NZ). I doubt any of them make a loss or they would have been closed or sold. While the two Australian canopy walkways and the two Aust ski resorts are "orphans" in the sense that Merlin doesn't own anything like them overseas, they wouldn't still own them if they didn't deliver healthy profits.
     
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  26. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    Yep. it was all about the non-snow related assets. The ski resorts were just steak knives.

    As far as snow goes, the 2012 season was their first. Happy days, huge snow, money spinners going full gas.

    Then 2013 happened and they had close the resort in July. Any future capex ended right there.
     
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  27. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room
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    Which sucks arse for the rest of us but was of course a prudent move for the business.
     
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  28. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    This.... the ski resorts are very profitable and were carrying the rest of the enterprises.
     
  29. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    This just doesn't stack up against what Merlin does. They have dozens and dozens of aquariums. if they weren't making money they would be shut down.
     
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  30. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    I'm talking pre Merlin taking over the group.....I would suspect that the aquariums would have been attractive to them to improve returns based on integration into their existing business models.
     
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  31. MarzNC

    MarzNC Addicted

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    I noticed that Merlin has Annual Passes that are country-specific for theme parks, aquariums, and Legolands. Meaning UK, Germany, Australia. Is there any marketing targeted at people who go to Falls & Hotham for other Merlin attractions in Australia?

    Being in the U.S., I'd never heard of Merlin before reading this thread. Never thought about who owned Legoland. Know a lot more about Disney. :)
     
  32. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us

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    Yes - I was told of this relationship. Noone at Falls could tell me exactly what it is or how it works. Dammed if I can see it on their website. I don't do facebook so it might be there, but it is a mystery to me
     
  33. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room
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    They definitely do. It was spruked on social media during the off season. Absolutely no surprise to me that few of the seasonal on mountain staff would know about it. Whether it happens again next northern winter remains to be seen.
     
  34. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room
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    as was mentioned earlier in the thread, season pass holders for Falls/Hotham also get access/discounts to other Merlin attractions in Aus including the aquariums and Otway Flyer.
     
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  35. Seth

    Seth Pool Room
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    Yeah, would have been an easy win for someone who knows what they are doing.
     
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  36. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us

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    nah mate - management
     
  37. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room
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    still not surprised. but it 100% existed.
     
  38. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us

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    Have to say - notwithstanding the recent Ikon /Epic pass additions in NSW- it does feel a little like Vic (mainly Hotham /Falls) has been in the slow lane in terms of new resort developments.

    I guess Some examples would be: snowmaking (quantity at Hotham & delay adding to key areas & automating; lacking on summit run at Falls); lift upgrades (to be fair most resorts fit into this category; diesel lifts!); on slope eating (Hotham); resort upgrades (Mostly Hotham -like paths, lighting, sealing car parks - yes all resort board resp.); ticket web site function (can't buy half days online, lots of teething trouble generally); quick to close despite OK snow (Hotham - deferring to Falls as the late Spring resort!); parking and access ( like most resorts but at Hotham handing Most of the Coraal to corporates); noisy old crowded pollution diesel buses (H).

    I know these are mostly small- medium aspects but they add up. Not sure adding an OS pass connection would change much. Perhaps Merlin could team up with Japanese resorts to get some cross seasonal pollination?

    Still must be something going for them - I still ski there. Still have fun, still take my family summer & winter.
     
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  39. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Merlin have been spending money (snowmaking at Hotham/lift replacement at Falls) and doing a good job of running the resorts, but yes, I’ve always been disappointed that they haven’t been able to organise a better Northern winter marketing agreement like Thredbo’s killer Ikon and Mountain Collective deals. Maybe it’s not worth it for them though. Thredbo had to do something when Vail moved in next door.
     
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  40. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    If Buller join Ikon....
    Then the change will occur.
     
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  41. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room
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    I would love that. #therealepicpass
     
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  42. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    You'd legit wet yourself .
    Perisher sell 43,000 season passes a year.
    Wonder how many Buller would sell?
     
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  43. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    fkn serious! jeebus
     
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  44. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    Yup..
    Dat cash flow.. .in May.
     
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  45. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    That's what I was thinking!
     
  46. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    Mind you. .Tbo doesn't do too badly on its cash flow. And it's margins.
    Them "off" months are better PL wise.
     
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  47. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    Do you know something?
     
  48. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty
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    A great banana pancake recipe
     
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  49. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Absolutely right.

    You can sell lift passes and such but they’re not a differentiable product and are fixed margin, dependent on increasing volume and turnover to overcome the burden of high fixed costs. And weather dependent.

    The profitability is in the peripherals - the lessons, the rentals, and then also the catering, the entertainment, the accomodation, that’s where the attractive margins lie - that’s ‘entertainment’ - dress it up, make it shiny and attach a status value to it, and then it’s massively more profitable- think lifestyle resort, not lift company.

    Merlin’s business model probably has to include an intention to increasingly monopolise or control the resort-related revenues and make the public purse and its captive partners carry the bulk of the costs. It would involve extending the footprint of what the lift company can control in the resort.

    Their challenge is to enrich the value and attractiveness of their offering without increasing overhead (especially staffing) or capital investment.

    Regular skiers with season passes, their own gear, unlikely to pay for lessons, and value conscious when it comes to services are not Merlin’s target market. Mug punters....and people wanting the holiday package resort style....
     
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  50. Chaeron

    Chaeron One of Us
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    Think of the interest on that prepaid revenue, only a relative percentage of which is redeemed in actual visits.... (like selling vouchers) - I’d love to see that income statement line item.