December 9 2013 Latest news:
Exclusive Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The top boss at Pleasurewood Hills has hailed an “overhaul” of the theme park which has transformed its profits and brought it back from the brink of closure.
Alexis Camelin, director and general manager, has described the “painful” process of cutting wages and making redundancies in order to get the site on a firmer financial footing.
And he confirmed that the theme park, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, had even come close to closure after becoming dogged by bad weather and negative reviews on consumer travel website TripAdvisor.
But in the last year, he has completed a remarkable turn around of the theme park’s finances from £660,480 loss to £67,222 profit as it looks to capture a new market of 15 to 25 year olds.
And the building blocks are already being put in place for the park’s transformation with £500,000 investment in the horror attraction Hobbs Pit - which has opened earlier to positive reviews – and further plans to add new attractions to the park over the next two years, as its targets a £2m pre-tax profit.
Mr Camelin said: “We have gone through a massive restructure including redundancies, reducing wages and cutting costs. We also had to reduce some of our offers to customers. The change has been painful but necessary.
“The park has not been looked after for the past 10 years. It needed a different process on recruitment.
“We wanted to bring back a client which has gone from Pleasurewood Hills,” he said. “We have been a family park for a long time and we are not trying to compete with Alton Towers, but the idea is to offer a great experience whatever the age.
“We will be investing again this winter, and we are preparing for a bigger project in two year’s time.”
According to its latest accounts, the firm’s turnover had fallen from £2.8m in January 2012 to £2.4m in September last year.
But it was on course to surpass its visitor numbers for August and had seen an upsurge of positive reviews on Tripadvisor this month.
The firm, which employs 150 people, is currently recruiting for new Halloween attractions this autumn.