My Dad is quite in to history, he’d use his knowledge of the monarchy for example, to answer numerous questions on TV quiz shows. My two favourite teachers from school were both History teachers, one was a motorbike riding hippy, the other oozed sarcasm with every telling off, reducing many a bully to a spluttering wreck. So I think its safe to say I like history too.
When I started my first company over 10 years ago now, history wasn’t really on my mind but the more I learnt about building and maintaining a business the more I began to admire company’s who had been doing it for a long time. Companies like The Coca-Cola Company (1886) and Macy’s (1820) are both rich in History spanning over a hundred years, I always thought having this type of dynasty was pretty cool.
So a few months ago I was approached by a company that sells domain names, usually I automatically ignore them, they never really have anything I’m interested in and more importantly their prices are generally astronomical. A cracking example of this was when we looked to purchase www.orlandoattractiontickets.com the starting price was 5 digits long! Anyway this company had two domain names that caught my eye… the domain names themselves aren’t instant classic’s, they aren’t single word domains or amazingly popular phrases but what they did have (which the seller didn’t know) was a connection to a history that dates back to the late 18th century.
Robert William Keith was a musical composer, he also made instruments and was an organist at the New Jerusalem Church in London, in the late 18th Century he opened a shop and by 1830’s he’d entered in to a partnership with another musician by the name of William Prowse, the new company was named Keith, Prowse & Co. The company entered the theatre ticketing business after acquiring “Theatre Ticket Messengers” a company which used messenger boys to go to theatres and either hold seats or collect seat tokens for favoured clients. They became one of the first ticketing agencies to have a phone installed and appeared in the very first telephone directory printed in 1880. This type of history is priceless to me.
Over the years the brand Keith Prowse has changed hands a few times most recently in 2010 covered here by the Travel Weekly, the ticketing side is currently owned by the Seatem Group however it was an off shoot of Keith Prowse that had now caught my eye, themeparkticketsdirect.com.
From 2006 to 2010 the Keith Prowse owned, themeparkticketsdirect.com were one of the leading ticket providers in the UK. Literally a day did not go by when I wasn’t reading about them or competing against them. In 2010 when Keith Prowse called in the administrators, themeparkticketdirect.com closed down over night and disappeared. It was this domain name that was now being offered to me in .com & .co.uk (the set).
You only have to google the name themeparkticketsdirect.com to see the issues people encountered when Keith Prowse went into administration, the frustrations and anger people experienced was righteous and this initially put me off, was the brand damaged beyond repair? We initially thought is was, but the connection to all that history kept my interest…
I spoke to my business partner Karl Hendrie, a man definitely not one to be caught up in the romance of history, we umm’d and aaah’d… and after a lot of chats we decided not to purchase the domains.
A few months later we were in a meeting with Universal, the meeting was to discuss marketing and social activity for 2014 but we really spent most of the time trying to weasel out an opening date for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (we got nowhere). Half way through the meeting a lady entered the room, we were introduced to her and informed she looked after the Californian side of Universal…
What a shame your website is so Florida sentric!
And she was right, we needed a brand that could offer more than just Florida, as much as we love Orlando there is more to theme parks than just the Sunshine state. We left the meeting with the decision to expand our theme park business to cover the World.
The very next day we were approached again by the domain name seller for Theme Park Tickets Direct, he was offering us the domain names at a fraction of the original price…. we bought them.
Today we have officially launched Theme Park Tickets Direct with a new responsive web design, at the moment it still features Florida heavily but over the months we will add new product as we complete contracting. We’ve also decided to approach the ticket sales differently hence the tagline “tickets with a twist…”. If you visit the site today you’ll note the following twists, free kennedy space center tickets with our combo tickets, free $10.00 gift cards per ticket with our Disney Tickets and Free WonderWorks tickets with our Universal Tickets.
So there you go, thats the story of why we bought Theme Park Tickets Direct. Take a look around and tell me what you think.