Crealy Theme Park and Resort

Crealy Theme Park and Resort operates two theme parks in the southwest of England. The Crealy group entertains over ¾ million visitors every year.


Crealy Theme Park & Resort is an award winning family Theme Park in Devon that boasts over 60 rides and attractions, with spectacular live entertainment shows and animals galore, it's no wonder that Crealy Theme Park & Resort is regularly voted the best day out in Devon.

The resort offers the ultimate Devon family holiday with a choice of accommodation ranging from touring & camping pitches to luxury glamping cabins and five-star luxury hot tub lodges, with the family Theme Park tickets included. Plus with that wonderful warm Devon welcome - it could only be Crealy Theme Park & Resort.

Located just minutes off Junction 30 of the M5, Exeter and with plenty of free parking, they’ve got everything you could want from the biggest Theme Park in Devon.

Steve Carthew
Crealy Theme Park and Resort

As Payroll is our highest cost we were looking for a system that allowed us to set strict daily budgets for our Heads of Departments.


Crealy employs approximately 60 full time/permanent staff, of which 80% are salary and 20% hourly paid, we also employ from 25 to 250 temporary staff who are all hourly paid and range between 16 and 65 years of age.

We were doing our best to manage Crealy’s staff with cardboard swipe cards, these were then manually typed onto spreadsheets and fed into the payroll system.

Thinking Software's Solution

With payroll as our highest business cost we were looking for a system that allowed us to set strict daily budgets for our heads of departments, review the cost and potential profit of each ride/facility offered, each staff role required to support it, the required staffing start/finish times and the hourly rate for the grade of staff needed. When this had been determined we then needed to be able to roll that detail out according to the season/day. Then, as the Season progressed to fill those positions with named staff and then to ensure that those selected staff are only paid for the actual hours worked based on their clock-ins if they were within the authorised times set.

Crealy looked at a number of rota systems and then selected Thinking Software as the system best suited to control our extremely variable staffing needs.

Over the past 9 years we have developed a rolling 12 month review/rollout process, with park managers establishing detailed annual budgets with their heads of departments, the accountant rolling out the detail to Rota Horizon, the heads of departments filling positions with the appropriately skilled staff and then monitoring actual activity based on their staff’s clock-ins, the Park Manager reporting weekly costs against budget and the accountant finally sending the locked down position to automatically populate Sage Payroll for the wages run.

The change to Rota Horizon has been a major revelation to us, providing our key staff with absolute detail regarding staffing for both financial and legal purposes.

Initially we did lock down the managers to a fixed rota but we have now been able to evolve our use of Rota Horizon over the years to change the level of lock down to match the individual skills of each head of department, allowing them to react to last minute changes in rides, special events and even employees extra opportunities for sales.

Over those years we have established strong links with named Thinking Software staff, some of whom have been with us since inception, the support staff at Thinking Software are always promptly available online and by phone to help.

The change to Rota Horizon has been a major revelation to us, providing our key staff with absolute detail on our staffing for both financial and legal purposes.

More recently we have made use of the email option to send our staff their rotas for the next month ahead and used the texting option to remind staff that they are due in next day and for the head of department to check if they are available to work an unfilled spot.

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