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Most brands understand the value of PR these days; they have teams of savvy marketers, PR agencies on speed-dial and in-house social media content managers all geared up to build an impeccable reputation. After all, we live in an age where competition is fierce – studies suggest the average consumer comes across roughly 3,000 brands every single day, so it’s important to stand out for all the right reasons.

With that in mind, it came as a surprise to see some of Greater Manchester’s notable attractions in hot water with the Manchester Evening News when I opened the paper this morning.

The Sea Life Centre, Legoland Discover Centre and Chill Factore have all been accused of ramping up their admission prices during the half-term peak season, drawing criticism from parents – who are also potential customers – across the region. As brands that have built reputations on being family-friendly, it’s incredibly damaging to be in the limelight for the wrong reasons, especially during one of their busiest periods – school holidays.

Whilst the recession may officially be a thing of the past, it hasn’t necessarily translated into an increase in disposable income for the average family, so capitalising on school holidays is a sure-fire way to infuriate parents who still need to work to a tight budget when it comes to entertaining the kids.

What’s important now is how the situation is handled. The general public isn’t going to accept wool being pulled over their eyes. Being told that attraction tickets haven’t had a price increase, but instead that there are discounts available for low season is a poor excuse in my book. Furthermore, none of the above companies have made reference to the article on their websites or social media, giving an air of brushing the news under the carpet.

It’s refreshing to see, however, that not all attractions are taking the same approach – Gulliver’s World in Warrington has cut its ticket prices during half-term by over £5. This approach to the school holidays will surely help to attract crowds during half term, while helping to create loyal fans of its customers.

At the end of the day, good, old fashioned customer relations remains key when it comes to building brand loyalty. A company that respects its customers and outsmarts its competitors will always come out on top.