You had probably tidied every inch and corner of the garden possible, while those fiddly DIY jobs, which you might have put off time and again, were finally done and dusted.
Every boxset you wanted to binge watch had reached its satisfying or disappointing conclusion and parents had, without doubt, seen and heard enough of home schooling – fronted adverbials, fractions and all.
And, so, as we all emerged from lockdowns and the pandemic, there was a strong desire among families and friends to start enjoying life again. And as a result, perhaps it’s no surprise, that a company such as WonderDays started to thrive.
The Telford business was set up by Matt and Bronwen Jones, launching fully last year, as the country was getting back to normal following months of restrictions sparked by Covid.
“A living, breathing partnership through marriage and work”, Matt says, the pair’s work has taken off to the point where the business has just completed a ‘game-changing deal’ which will make it the largest hot air balloon flight operator in the UK.
A mind-shift since the pandemic has, without doubt, played a key role in such success, alongside an incredibly strong work ethic, according to Matt
“The pandemic was a testing time for every business and every attraction,” Matt reflects. “WonderDays was in a market sector which got affected. We had just started the business – the grassroots part of it – in 2019.
“Obviously the pandemic then happened and so we just focused on the background work. Our Partnership Manager Abi Sadler, was contacting suppliers, which we term partners. We were building those relationships and we did a lot of work, developing the website, nailing things down and making sure all of our tech was resilient.”
“As we then came out of the pandemic, the team spotted a noticeable shift in things. There was an appetite, coming out of the pandemic, where people were enjoying staycations. That’s something that doesn’t feel like slowing down.
“For example, the search volume for things to do in Shropshire is up according to our analytics. People wanted to do more and look for more opportunities and places to go in the UK.
“They really embraced the places and sheer beauty of what the UK has to offer. And we were fortunate enough to be in a position, with our partners, to offer things to do in such locations. There’s so much happening in the UK, so many things to do and we want to bring those unique experiences to everyone.”
Part of what makes the business unique, Matt says, is it has ‘broken the mould of the ‘experience day for two’ model, widening it out for families.
Designed to make buying an experience day gift as simple as it should be, the company now offers hundreds of different experiences across the UK.
It has more than doubled activities on offer in Shropshire since its launch in May last year, with anything from afternoon teas to adrenaline-fuelled supercars or going down the Thames in a powerboat.
It offers driving experiences which anyone from 10 upwards can enjoy, from luxury supercars to off road 4x4s and truck driving. Spa getaways, escape rooms and stadium tours are also popular.
And it continues to expand its offering both in the county and across the rest of the country.
“Over the past 12 months, we have seen WonderDays enjoy some fantastic growth,” says Matt. “It’s pretty normal in a start-up phase where we know the industry and we have got a good platform. We built partnerships during the pandemic before we went live to market. Now, we have just had our one-year anniversary and things are massively positive.”
And, as well wanting to staycation, Matt says there’s another very clear reason why WonderDays has proven so attractive.
oni and Matt Jones
“People are trying things they would never have even imagined they would have tried,” he says. “I think people have come out of the pandemic and, for example, wanted to try a hot air balloon flight or a motor racing day. They have wanted to give it a go.
“People considered their mental health – trying new things is incredible and so is being in the outdoors as well. Most of the experiences are tailored to outdoor space so it’s all positive.
“And we have also seen, with people, there’s been a shift towards making more memories, with friends and families.
“People want to enjoy experiences that will last forever, moments you can talk about over the dinner table and that’s really important.
“We say ‘give it a go or you’ll never know’ . That’s not something we termed specifically for WonderDays itself, it’s just something we feel is true.”
And as families plan their next experience, the future is one of excitement for WonderDays.
It has just acquired Balloons Over Britain in a move which enables the company to offer balloon flights from more than 110 separate locations.
“This is a game-changing deal, not just for us but for the industry as a whole,” adds managing director Matt. “From the very beginning we set out to disrupt the experience industry and this acquisition shows we mean business.
“We have more balloons, more pilots and more locations than anyone else. Add into this our market-leading flexibility on booking and unrivalled customer service and it’s no wonder this has made others sit up and take notice.
“We have put a lot of hard work in plus reinvestment into the business. We are expanding and trying to build more partnerships and get a bigger range of providers. We want to continue to offer the best experiences in the UK.”
To find out more about WonderDays, visit https://www.wonderdays.co.uk/
Source: Shropshire Star