Trade-only supplier Attraction World has revealed expansion plans that, in the extent of their ambition, do not fall too far short of global domination.
With a new board in place following a management buyout that saw investment pumped in by private equity firm Maven Capital Partners, sales and marketing director Tony Seaman is hugely upbeat about the future.
As well as continuing to pioneer on the technology front – Attraction World claims to be the first trade supplier to move to e-ticketing, and is looking into mobile tickets for theme parks – it is targeting growth both in the UK and internationally.
Setting out the firm’s business plan to Travel Weekly, Seaman claimed Attraction World now had 99.5% of the retail travel business for attraction tickets in the UK.
It has no intention of diversifying from its business-to-business area of expertise but sees potential in driving up penetration of a sector that many agents, particularly independents, overlook.
Even among the multiples trade keeps rising. Seaman claims to have trebled Thomas Cook’s attraction tickets business. Attraction World became Cook’s preferred supplier less than two years ago.
However, overseas markets represented almost greenfield opportunities, Seaman said, and Attraction World is busy developing distribution channels, with a German office already established. This is likely to be followed by the US and other European markets including Italy, Spain, France and Scandinavia.
“In a year’s time I see us definitely turning over a fairly reasonable amount of money in the US, and in Europe we will probably be in about four countries,” he said.
“Once you are in the US you can operate out of Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore etc as part of a natural evolution because a lot of outbound distribution channels service those markets.”
Spearheading this move into international markets will be new chairman Tony Wheble. He was most recently chief executive of James Villas and previously worked for TV Travel Shop.
Seaman said Wheble’s experience of growing James Villas into a pan-European business would be invaluable. Wheble has been joined on the board by new finance director Deborah Spence and Russell Parr, business development director.
Becoming established abroad means Attraction World will not only tap into new domestic and outbound markets but also source more product and offer suppliers a more compelling proposition.
Seaman described the US as a ‘slow burn’ but a market with huge potential. “We need to do this on the back of partners because we are not going business-to-consumer,” he said.
“We do want global domination, but we don’t want to be greedy.
“Tony [Wheble] will take a step back and look at what we’re doing.
“We know what we are doing, but sometimes you can get too close.
“Tony will maintain the right focus and be very good at telling us that we cannot do that this year, or we can do that.
“We want to be realistic. Some people find it difficult making the B2B model work but that’s what we do, that’s what most of the senior management have done all their professional lives.”