Hey Thrill Seekers,
Today’s interview is with Karl Hendrie CTO & Co-Founder of Orlando Attraction Tickets, his interview continues our review series which has included OAT employees Gavin and Kelly, SeaWorld Sales Manager Nichola Parr and LEGOLAND Florida’s resident DJ, Nigel McShine-Jones.
Being the Co-Founder Karl has obviously been around since day one and was instrumental in last years OAT redesign which proved to be a bit of a success leading to many aspects of the site being copied throughout the industry.
As has become some what of a theme during these interviews, Karl was slightly pushed for time when I met up with him, he is in the middle of some interesting design work that hopefully I’ll be able to share with you in the next couple of months.
Name: Karl Hendrie
What was 2013 like?: In a word busy! Prior to 2013 we decided to heavily focus on the customer experience throughout our ticket websites. As a result we totally redesigned the way we sell online. We wanted to ensure ease of booking, slick processes, added ‘usable’ functionality but above all we wanted to make it as easy as possible for customers to find what they were looking for. As a result of these changes we were able to measurably increase our market share and smash previous sales figures.
Your highlight of 2013?: I think everyone at the company will mention the same thing – Winning a Bronze Award at the British Travel Awards. When you win an award voted for by the public its not just a great accolade its also confirmation that you are doing things right!
Your Best Park 2013?: Its a tough one! and I am sure its always a controversial one to answer what with the abundance of quality parks to choose from in Florida. At a push I’d probably go with Busch Gardens, Tampa. For me it has a brilliant mix of thrill rides, shows and animal interactions. And it looks like the park is going get even better with the addition of Falcons Fury, a 300ft plus drop ride coming this year.
Your Best Attraction 2013?: Last year I was lucky enough to be invited by Universal to experience Halloween Horror Nights. As an annual attraction it simply cannot be beaten. The attention to detail is amazing and its popularity,domestically, really is insane. If you are ever in Orlando when its on you simply have got to go and see it for yourself. Its like Halloween, only bigger and better, its actually Halloween on steroids!
In regards to Theme Parks, what are you most looking forward to in 2014?: I don’t want to be predictable and say The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion ‘Diagon Alley’….but….it’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion ‘Diagon Alley’ at Universal. From what’s been released by Universal and from what I have read and seen on attraction-tickets.info we are looking at something extremely special. Universal have taken the look, feel and concept of the Harry Potter series and made it into a reality that everyone can experience. I imagine that this will definitely re-create the same sort of buzz that we saw when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened at Universal Islands of Adventure.
Make a 2014 prediction…: I think that in 2014 the must have theme park essential will be the parks ‘jump the queue/fast pass’ systems. Its been a long time since we have seen multiple parks opening so many great new attractions. With these new attractions I can definitely see an increase in footfall and knowing how peeps hate waiting in line I can definitely see an upsurge of people wanting to get ahead of those queues this summer.
I’d like to thank Karl for his time and his excellent answers, sounds to me like he’s a bit of a Harry Potter fan 🙂