Co-founders Claire Skerrett and husband Matt have won top ratings for their website that is a one-stop shop inspiring parents with younger children (12 and under) looking for attractions, festivals, tickets and reliable independent advice. “Keep it simple and clear, for example if there is a booking fee. No mixed messages that’s our ethos,” says former headteacher Claire and IT expert Matt. “Our site has to be so easy a family in a busy supermarket can do a phone search and book with confidence in under two minutes. Now it is closer to 45 seconds and on average we see one million parents a week actively on the hunt for things to do.”

With 4,000 events currently listed, Picniq which employs 16 staff in Bournemouth, is looking to double the 300,000 tickets it sold in 2018. This is forecast to take turnover to £12 million next year.

Frustrations as a customer were the trigger in 2014, chief executive Claire explains. 

“I was looking for ideas for my children in the holidays and was also asked by my pupils’ parents. There was always loads going on but there didn’t seem an easy way to find the information online.”

As Matt had his own tech business building directory sites, “it seemed simple recreate one for a family audience searchable by postcode. Combining our skills has worked out very well,” she adds. 

“From that came a blog, content about events and connecting with a large audience on social media. Then our followers asked about purchasing tickets and that became our transactional side building revenues.”

Flexibility, possible through Picniq’s bespoke technology, enables it to work with an array of companies and systems. 

“Our technology, built for mobile, links in with theirs, delivering the best for customers, for example live interaction and updates,” says Claire.

“We’re a tech company but equally important is the trust that comes from having direct contact with customers. We know what is important to them.

“We check out everything before we promote it, including secret shopping, but don’t do flash sales. 

“Keeping pricing consistent is important for credibility as is featuring free events, and I would like to see more interactive adventure events offered for younger children.” 

Increased traffic from Europe and demand for attraction-based holidays overseas such as Disneyland have prompted Picniq’s first search for external backing, bringing possibly more travel and tech expertise on board too.

New booking features, faster links and later on new websites to meet the overseas demand are all on the cards. “But we will always keep it personal too,” says Claire. 

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