Alexis Peppis, regional manager for the UK and Ireland at Tiqets, talks to Abra Dunsby about working with the trade, new product and championing lesser-known attractions
What is Tiqets?
We are an online ticketing agent that sells tickets to various cultural venues all over the world, from very large, obvious destinations like the Louvre, Vatican, MOMA and Tower of London to hidden gems like Forth Boat Tours in Edinburgh. Our goal has always been to be truly digital and provide a flexible, frictionless service – even before the pandemic – so tickets are sent straight to customers’ phones.
How do you work with the trade?
We have a diverse partner list including travel agents. We work directly with our venues and have strong relationships with them, which gives us access to things our competitors do not. We work on a commission model with partners and offer a number of ways for them to connect, for example there is an agent portal and we offer API capabilities or affiliate links for them to populate their site or app with. We are actively searching for new partners in the travel agency sector to help us recover stronger and faster as the UK reopens – and have a dedicated partnerships manager to help with this.
What are your current focuses and USPs?
We are mainly focusing on the domestic market this year, but believe international will come back and we are priming ourselves to take advantage of that. When we started out six years ago, our tagline was “make culture more accessible” and we worked mainly with cultural venues such as museums and galleries. As we grew, we realised that was quite an elitist view of culture – culture can be walking around Kew Gardens, taking in the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall or sharing a thrilling experience at a theme park with friends. We wanted to readdress that so our tagline became “more ways to culture” in 2019.
What attractions do you work with in the UK?
We have all the main attractions including The View from the Shard and the London Eye, but also smaller
attractions such as the Handel & Hendrix in London [which tells the story of German composer George Frideric Handel and US guitarist Jimi Hendrix] and the Museum of Brands. I love to take my five-year-old son
to the Household Cavalry Museum in Whitehall – if you’re lucky and you time it right, you can see the changing of the guard outside at the same time. It’s about bringing that awareness to our audience that, yes, you can
tick the box of seeing the Tower of London, but there’s so much more to discover.
How is business looking at the moment?
That pent-up demand that everyone spoke about is definitely there. There’s a thirst from people to get out and experience what life was like before the pandemic and see loved ones and families. Ticket sales are coming through and our site traffic is building week-on-week so it’s looking like it’s going to be a good summer.
How has your model changed since the pandemic?
We are fortunate that we had our business model set up pre-pandemic – people now want fewer touchpoints, so being able to get into a venue using their mobile phone is ideal. Since the pandemic, we’ve updated our site to list venues’ Covid guidelines. We also introduced a more flexible cancellation policy after carrying out a survey, which revealed that flexibility was the number-one concern for our customers.
What new product do you have in the UK?
In London we have the Gardens at Buckingham Palace, which is proving popular. There’s also Gaia at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich – they have a giant planet earth installation in the hall that’s very similar to what the Natural History Museum has with its giant moon. The venue also has a fantastic ceiling; people like to say it’s the UK’s version of the Sistine Chapel. Outside London, Strawberry Fields in Liverpool and Mythica at Legoland in Windsor are new and doing well.
How do you plan on educating the trade?
We have a library of webinars and blog pieces from the past 15 months and are happy to conduct ad-hoc training if needed, as well as fam trips.