Attraction Tickets Direct, which operates trade-only arm Do Something Different, is aiming to build on 20% growth in 2017 with support for the first time of a small external investment.
Founder Oliver Brendon said the attraction ticket specialist made sales totalling £109 million in 2016, a figure that he estimated to have risen by a fifth last year.
He said it was particularly pleasing that growth had come from non-Florida attractions, including theme parks in Dubai and Europe such as PortAventura in Salou and Siam Park in Tenerife.
Brendon has sold a minority stake, believed to be 10%, in his business to Beauport Partners, a new venture capital company set up by the founders of Rentalcars, who describe themselves as investment accelerators.
The team is headed by Greg Wills, who sold Rentalcars to US travel and technology giant Booking Holdings – until recently called Priceline – which also operates Booking.com.
The Beauport website says: “We understand what it takes to build an online business from the ground up.”
Brendon said several of the Beauport team were already at ATD, helping in product and commercial, marketing and IT. He added: “It’s not about the money, it’s about their expertise.”
He said the biggest competition came from consumers buying tickets in resort. To counter this, he has looked at enhancing Do Something Different’s appeal by saving customers time, cutting costs and offering added value.
In 2018, Brendon wants ATD to sell more advance tickets for Dubai attractions such as Burj Khalifa, desert safaris and Aquaventure Waterpark. In Dubai, around 90% of tickets are bought in resort, whereas in Florida more than 80% are bought in advance.
“We need to flip [the Dubai figure] on its head,” he said, listing public liability, guaranteed entry and gate-ready e-tickets as benefits of booking in advance.
“We’ve always been about real tickets from a travel agent’s point of view,” said Brendon.
ATD operates in four markets – the UK, Ireland, Germany and Brazil – and hopes to open in more.
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