At Merlin ("we", "us", "our"), we regularly collect and use personal data about consumers who visit our attractions or hotels, or browse our websites. Personal data is any information that can used to identify you as an individual. The protection of your personal data is very important to us, and we understand our responsibilities to handle your personal data with care, to keep it secure and to comply with legal requirements.
Please read this Policy carefully. It provides important information about how we use personal data and explains your legal rights. This Policy is not intended to override the terms of any contract that you have with us (for example, Wi-Fi terms and conditions or annual pass terms) or any rights you might have available under applicable data protection laws.
We will make changes to this Policy from time to time for example, to keep it up to date or to comply with legal requirements or changes in the way we operate our business. We will make sure that you are aware of any significant changes by sending an email message to the email address you most recently provided to us or by posting a notice on each relevant website so that you are aware of the impact to the data processing activities before you continue to engage. We encourage you to regularly check back and review this policy so that you will always know what information we collect, how we use it, and who we share it with.
Merlin Entertainments plc ("Merlin") is a British-based entertainment company, with a registered office at Link House, 25 West Street, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1LD, which operates over 100 attractions, and over 20 hotels and holiday villages in 25 countries. Our business is about creating unique, memorable and rewarding visitor experiences. A list of our attractions and a note of the companies that make up the Merlin group which help to achieve this is available at ("Merlin Group").
The entity in the Merlin Group which was originally responsible for collecting information about you will be the Data Controller. Other entities in the Merlin Group may also be Data Controllers where they control the use or processing of such data. There will be a single point of contact for all Merlin Group Data Controllers who can be contacted using the details set in section 11 below.
In relation to potential customers, historic customers and current customers and attraction visitors ("consumers"), we collect the following data:
In emergency circumstances, we will also collect information about you indirectly from other sources where we believe this is necessary to help ensure the security of our attractions. These other sources may include public registers and social media platforms.
We will not knowingly collect any personal data about children for the purpose of marketing without making it clear that such information should only be provided with parental consent, if this is required by applicable laws - so Merlin will only use the personal data of children as far as is permitted by law where the required parental or guardian consent has been obtained.
We will use your personal data to:
We may also send you marketing materials (where we have appropriate permissions as explained in more detail below under Section 6). This process is likely to include profiling, and more information is provided at Section 8 of this Policy about this. We will also need to use your personal data for purposes associated with our legal and regulatory obligations.
We have to establish a legal ground to use your personal data, so we will make sure that we only use your personal data for the purposes set out in this Section 4 and in Appendix 1 where we are satisfied that:
Before collecting and/or using any special categories of data we will establish an additional lawful ground to those set out above which will allow us to use that information. This additional exemption will typically be:
PLEASE NOTE: If we have previously told you that we were relying on consent as the basis of our processing activities, going forward we will not be relying on that legal basis unless we have said that are in this Policy.
PLEASE NOTE. If you provide your explicit consent to allow us to process your special categories of data, you can withdraw your consent to such processing at any time. However, you should be aware that if you choose to withdraw your consent we will tell you more about the possible consequences, including if this means that certain services (in particular where you have applied for a carer pass) can no longer be provided).
As flagged above, we share data with other Merlin Group companies.
We also share the data with third parties, to help manage our business and deliver services. These third parties may from time to time need to have access to your personal data, and include:
Also, if we were to sell part of our businesses we would need to transfer your personal data to the purchaser.
We may use your personal data to send you direct marketing communications about our attractions, hotels, experiences or our related services. This will be in the form of email, post, SMS or targeted online advertisements.
Where we require explicit opt-in consent for direct marketing in accordance with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations we will ask for your consent. Otherwise, for non-electronic marketing or where we can rely on the soft opt-in exemption under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, we will be relying on our Legitimate Interests for the purposes of GDPR as further detailed in section 4 and Appendix 1.
You have a right to stop receiving direct marketing at any time - you can do this by following the opt-out links in electronic communications (such as emails), or by contacting us using the details in Section 11.
We also use your personal data for customising or personalising advertisements, offers and content made available to you based on your visits to and/or usage of our attraction websites or other mobile applications, platforms or services, and analysing the performance of those advertisements, offers and content, as well as your interaction with them. We may also recommend content to you based on information we have collected about you and your viewing habits. This constitutes 'profiling', and more information is provided at Section 8 of this Policy about this.
Some entities in the Merlin Group, with whom we share your data, and our service providers who have access to your personal data, are located outside the European Union. We may also share your personal data overseas, for example if we receive a legal or regulatory request from a foreign law enforcement body. We will always take steps to ensure that any international transfer of information is carefully managed to protect your rights and interests, in particular we will either:
You have the right to ask us for more information about the safeguards we have put in place as mentioned above. Contact us as set out in Section 11 if you would like further information or to request a copy where the safeguard is documented (which may be redacted to ensure confidentiality).
'Automated Decision Making' refers to a decision which is taken through the automated processing of your personal data alone - this means processing using, for example, software code or an algorithm, which does not involve any human intervention. We do not carry out any automated decision making, however we do carry out profiling using automated processing to tailor marketing materials for a specific customer.
Where we have permissions to send a consumer marketing updates, we may use profiling to ensure that marketing materials are tailored to your preferences and to what we think you will be interested in. In certain circumstances it will be possible to infer certain information about you from the result of profiling, which could include special categories of personal data, but we will not do this unless we have obtained your explicit consent to do so.
We will retain your personal data for as long as is reasonably necessary for the purposes listed in Section 4 of this Policy. In particular, where there has been no interaction from a consumer (e.g. a purchase, email open, newsletter sign up), a record will be archived after 1 year and deleted after 3 years.
Where we are required to do so to meet legal, regulatory, tax or accounting requirements, we will retain your personal data for longer periods of time, but only where permitted to do so, including so that we have an accurate record of your dealings with us in the event of any complaints or challenges, or if we reasonably believe there is a possibility of legal action relating to your personal data or dealings.
We maintain a data retention policy which we apply to records in our care. Where your personal data is no longer required and we do not have a legal requirement to retain it, we will ensure it is either securely deleted or stored in a way such that it is anonymised and the Personal Data is no longer used by the business.
You have a number of rights in relation to your personal data. In summary, you have the right to request: access to your data; rectification of any mistakes in our files; erasure of records where no longer required; restriction on the processing of your data; objection to the processing of your data; data portability; and various information in relation to any automated decision making and profiling or the basis for international transfers. You also have the right to complain to your supervisory authority (further details of which are set out in Section 11 below). These are defined in more detail as follows:
You can ask us to:
You can ask us to rectify inaccurate personal data. We may seek to verify the accuracy of the data before rectifying it.
Erasure / Right to be Forgotten
You can ask us to erase your personal data, but only where:
We are not required to comply with your request to erase your personal data if the processing of your personal data is necessary: for compliance with a legal obligation; or for the establishment, exercise or defense of legal claims, in relation to the freedom of expression or for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes. In the context of marketing, please note that we will maintain a suppression list if you have opted out from receiving marketing content to ensure that you do not receive any further communications.
You can ask us to restrict (i.e. keep but not use) your personal data, but only where:
We can continue to use your personal data following a request for restriction, where:
You can ask us to provide your personal data to you in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format, or you can ask to have it 'ported' directly to another Data Controller, but in each case only where: the processing is based on your consent or the performance of a contract with you; and the processing is carried out by automated means.
You can object to any processing of your personal data which has our 'Legitimate Interests' as its legal basis (see Appendix 2 for further details), if you believe your fundamental rights and freedoms outweigh our Legitimate Interests. Once you have objected, we have an opportunity to demonstrate that we have compelling Legitimate Interests which override your rights, however this does not apply as far as the objections refers to the use of personal data for direct marketing purposes.
To exercise your rights you can contact us as set out in Section 11. Please note the following if you do wish to exercise these rights:
The primary point of contact for all issues arising from this Policy, including requests to exercise data subject rights, is our Data Protection Officer. The Data Protection Officer can be contacted in the following way:
To exercise your data subject rights, please complete the request form available here.
If you have a complaint or concern about how we use your personal data, please contact us in the first instance and we will attempt to resolve the issue as soon as possible. You also have a right to lodge a complaint with your national data protection supervisory authority at any time. In the UK, the supervisory authority for data protection is the ICO (https://ico.org.uk/). We do ask that you please attempt to resolve any issues with us first, although you have a right to contact your supervisory authority at any time.
APPENDIX 1 - LEGAL BASIS FOR PROCESSING
Purpose for processing
The lawful basis we rely on
To provide guests with the products, services or information you request from Merlin, and for related purposes such as delivering customer service, handling queries and complaints, establishing and maintaining contractual relations.
Merlin will process your personal data in accordance with its legal obligations and legitimate interests to deliver its services to you.
Operating Competitions, Prize Draws and other Promotions
To administer competitions and rewards to our guests we may use our website and social media accounts
It is necessary for Merlin to use your personal data to perform our obligations in accordance with any contract that we may have with you or where it is in our legitimate interest to use your personal data to enable us to administer a Merlin competition or promotion effectively and fairly in line with our own business practices.
To operate electronic payment processes
We have legal and regulatory obligations to ensure that we process certain personal data when facilitating payment transactions.
Photography and Film
Some attractions offer photography services during your visit.
Where relevant for publishing appropriate internal or external communications or publicity or marketing material including via social media in appropriate circumstances;
The company also has a legitimate interest in promoting and marketing its brand, whether to prospective employees or prospective customers, both of which support the Company's immediate and long-term business goals and outcomes.
Guests have the option to purchase their own photographs at certain attractions. Notices are in place where photography services are in operation.
Deliver marketing communications by email, offers and newsletters to you
To deliver marketing communications, offers and newsletters to you .
Merlin will rely upon your explicit consent to send you marketing material. All of Merlin’s marketing correspondence has the option for you to ‘unsubscribe’ from our communications, at any time.
Merlin and its third party partners may show you advertising on social media, that is tailored to you.
If you are a user of social media, Merlin may ask the third-party providers of those platforms to find other registered users of their services who share similar interests and characteristics to you, which will be based on information that the third party holds about you and other registered users of its platform. This is known as advertising to a ‘lookalike’ audience advertising because Merlin are seeking to advertise to other people who ‘look like’ you. This advertising method is based on data that you as user of social media have provided to the platform independently and is also dependent upon the privacy settings you have associated to your social media account.
(for more information click here)
All Facebook users have the opportunity to set their preferences for their marketing options.
Where we use your personal data to display online personal advertising to you, we rely on the consent or our legitimate interests to promote our website and services and/or attractions to you.
We will only share your Personal Data with the third-party providers of any social media platform so that we can advertise our available services to you when you use those platforms only where you have provided your consent or where it is otherwise in our legitimate interests to do so in order to promote Merlin services.
Safety and security including the use of CCTV at our attractions; satisfying the Company's regulatory or other obligations preventing, detecting and investigating a wide range of activities and behaviours and liaising with regulatory authorities
Some of this processing is necessary for the compliance with legal obligations to which the Company is subject including health and safety laws, our duty of care and regulatory laws to which the Company is subject.
Additional processing is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by the Company.
The Company has a legitimate interest in ensuring that its business, guests, employees and systems are protected and that action is taken to mitigate risk and to prevent and detect matters which may put the Company or its business or stakeholders at risk.
This includes carrying out risk assessments; detecting and preventing crimes or criminal activity or other unlawful or unethical activity; ensuring that only appropriate employees are engaged in our business; and ensuring compliance other legal or regulatory requirements placed upon us or related official guidance.
It also includes providing ways to report conduct or compliance issues and the appropriate consideration and investigation of matters drawn to the Company's attention.
It also includes facilitating, controlling and restricting access to appropriate locations and systems. To be effective these must be monitored and kept up to date. Effective business protection is important for business continuity and to protect the Company's reputation. This supports the Company's immediate and long-term business goals and outcomes.
Some of our attractions have automatic number place recognition in place to monitor entry to our car park facilities
Depending on local laws, we will rely upon consent, performance of a contract or legitimate interest to process this information.
Protecting the private, confidential and proprietary information of the Company, its employees, its guests and third parties
This processing is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by the Company.
The Company has a legitimate interest in ensuring that its business, guests, employees and systems are protected.
This includes protecting our assets and the integrity of our systems; and detecting and preventing loss of confidential and proprietary information.
This is also important to comply with our obligations to our guests and staff to protect their information.
Effective business protection is important for business continuity and to protect the Company's reputation. This supports the Company's immediate and long-term business goals and outcomes.
Complying with laws and regulation applicable to the Company
This processing is necessary for the compliance with legal obligations to which the Company is subject including those laws set out.
Planning, due diligence and implementation in relation to a commercial transaction or service transfer involving the Company that impacts on your relationship with the Company
Some of this processing is necessary for the compliance with legal obligations to which the Company is subject.
The Company has a legitimate interest in managing its business operations in the most effective way. The Company needs to make decisions relating to the future of its business in order to preserve its business operations or grow its business or maximise efficiency and effectiveness.
In the event that the Company makes a decision to outsource a function or acquire or transfer a business or part of a business the Company and the third party with whom the Company is seeking to transact each have a legitimate interest in ensuring that the services offered to guests are upheld throughout any transition period.
Business change programmes and transformation support business continuity and improvement and support the Company in achieving its long-term business goals and outcomes.
For business operational and reporting documentation such as accounting, auditing, insurance, compliance assessments, business development requirements, management and operational reporting, in accordance with business growth and operational activities
Some of this processing is necessary for the compliance with legal obligations to which the Company is subject including statutory Company reporting obligations and corporate governance requirements.
The Company has a legitimate interest in managing its workforce and operating its business, ensuring appropriate governance and controls are in place and to measure and report on financial management and business performance.
This includes appropriate preparation of management information reports; financial accounts and other reports including in relation to HR metrics such as retention or attendance; reporting for internal and external governance; and liaising with third parties such as investors or finance providers.
Effective management information and reporting is important for effective management of the business, risk management and decision making. This supports business continuity and is important to support the Company's long-term business goals and outcomes.
To operate the relationship with other third parties such as suppliers including disclosure of information to data processors for the provision of services to the Company
The Company also has a legitimate interest in ensuring that it can engage with suppliers effectively and that suppliers can access the information they need to provide the service for which they have been engaged.
Effective communication with and engagement of suppliers is important for business continuity and improvement.
This supports the Company's achievement of its immediate and long-term goals and outcomes.
Where relevant for publishing appropriate internal or external communications or publicity material including via social media in appropriate circumstances;
The Company has a legitimate interest in communicating effectively with its workforce, guests and other stakeholders as well as carrying out appropriate business development activity.
That includes giving information to the workforce or, where appropriate guests, other stakeholders or the wider market about relevant business activities, plans or projects. That can include making reference to those of our staff who are involved in the relevant matters being communicated above.
Effective employee, guest and other stakeholder communication and engagement contributes to attraction and retention of high calibre employees, development and retention of guest relationships, strong business performance, business growth and maintaining and enhancing the Company's reputation. This supports the Company's immediate and long-term business goals and outcomes.
To enforce our legal rights and obligations, and for any purposes in connection with any complaint or legal claim made by, against or otherwise involving you
The Company has a legitimate interest in protecting its organisation from breaches of legal obligations owed to it and defending itself against litigation. This is needed to ensure that the Company's legal rights and interests are protected appropriately, to protect the Company's reputation and to protect the Company from other damage or loss.
This is important to protect the business of the Company and ensure its continued success and growth. This supports the Company's immediate and long-term business goals and outcomes.
To comply with lawful requests by public authorities (including without limitation to meet national security or law enforcement requirements), discovery requests, or where otherwise required or permitted by applicable laws, court orders, government regulations, or regulatory authorities (including without limitation data protection, tax and employment), whether within or outside your country;
This processing is necessary for the compliance with legal obligations to which the Company is subject where there is a legal obligation to disclose information or a court or other legal order to provide information is in place.
Where not legally required, processing is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by the Company.
The Company has a legitimate interest in co-operating with relevant authorities, government bodies or regulators for the provision of information where appropriate. The Company wishes to maintain its reputation as a good corporate citizen and to act ethically and appropriately in all the countries in which it does business.
This encourages compliance and high standards of business practice and protects the Company's reputation. This supports the Company's immediate and long-term business goals and outcomes.
To understand how you and others use our services, for analytics and modelling and to create business intelligence and insights and to understand economic trends
APPENDIX 2 - GLOSSARY
Consumer: means an individual who will, who has, or who is purchasing tickets for an Attraction or using Merlin's websites, goods or services, or participating in a prize draw/competition or Merlin experience.
Data Controller: means a natural or legal person which determines the means and purposes of processing of personal data.
Data Subject: means an individual whom the personal data is about.
EEA: means the European Economic Area.
GDPR: means the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force on 25 May 2018 and replaces the previous Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC.
ICO: the Information Commissioner's Office regulates the processing of personal data by all organisations within the UK.
Legitimate Interests: this is a ground which can be used by organisations as a lawful basis of processing, for example where personal data is used in ways that could reasonably be expected, or there is a compelling reason for the processing.
Member States: means those countries which are part of the European Union.
Privacy Shield: means a framework which has been adopted to protect the rights of those individuals whose data has been transferred to the US.
Profiling: means to analyse your personal data in order to evaluate your behaviour or to predict things about you which are relevant in an entertainment context, such as how likely you are to attend a certain event that we host.
Special Categories of Data: means any personal data relating to your health, genetic or biometric data, criminal convictions, sex life, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership.
Service Providers: these are a range of third parties to whom we outsource certain functions of our business. For example, we have service providers who provide / support 'cloud based' IT applications or systems, which means that your personal data will be hosted on their servers, but under our control and direction. We require all our service providers to respect the confidentiality and security of personal data.
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