Last Saturday 19th January, Superbreak, the short break specialist company that I work for, marked 30 years of operations within the travel industry. While, to me, the idea of turning 30 is a daunting prospect that's thankfully a few years off, as a British brand that's prospered over three decades the anniversary is a date to be proud of. As I see brands that I've grown up with disappearing with accelerated pace - HMV and Jessops among the latest victims - it's reassuring to be working for a UK brand that's been going longer than I have and shows no signs of stopping.
In contrast to myself, a child of the late 80s, there's the odd member of Superbreak staff that has remained loyal to the brand since its conception in 1983. For these treasured few who've witnessed the transition from typewriters and fax machines to the online world of Superbreak.com, it's been a long journey from Gray's Inn Road in London to our new home in York.
After starting with a modest portfolio of 91 hotels in 67 locations across the UK, including 17 in central London, we now boast a collection of over 5,670 hotels in almost 700 destinations around the world. With our founders' connection to the rail industry, a large proportion of our short breaks sold during the early 80s were rail inclusive breaks, with London and Scotland being the most popular destinations.
Two of our five best-selling hotels in 1983 were based in Scotland; The Central Hotel in Glasgow and The Northern British Hotel in Edinburgh (today known as the 5 star The Balmoral Hotel). The Scottish capital remains as one of our top-selling destinations for short breaks, with many customers making the most of our Edinburgh For Less breaks each year.
Our top-selling hotel in 1983 was the Great Northern Hotel at Kings Cross in London. Opened in 1854, this hotel was one of the earliest purpose-built railway hotels in the country. The building, which commands an enviable position on the doorstep of Kings Cross station, is currently being restored and will open as a new luxury boutique hotel in early 2013.
Last year, our best-selling hotel was also in London, indicating the prevailing popularity of the capital as a destination for a city break. The Cavendish London topped our chart in 2012, which is popular among our guests thanks to its plush interiors and location on the prestigious Jermyn Street near Piccadilly Circus.
With similarities between popular destinations for city breaks both 30 years ago and today, another pleasant comparison between when we were founded and the present day is that hotel breaks have remained affordable. In 1984, a night in a hotel was on average £17 per night with the average weekly wage of £225*. In 2013, with an average weekly wage of £506*, our hotel prices start from around £25 per night.
As well as continuing to send customers to popular destinations for a city break with a hotel stay they can afford, Superbreak are constantly expanding our product offering and improving our services which, to me, is the best indicator that we're a UK brand that's here to stay. Within the last 18 months we've launched Eurostar breaks, a variety of Minicruises to Amsterdam and Bruges and, most recently, flight and hotel packages which allow our customers to explore a much wider range of destinations.
Proving that we're up to speed with the needs of our customers we've also recently launched a mobile optimised version of our website, Superbreak.com, to allow the increasing number of smartphone users to book our breaks on the go.
With a long legacy of success in the bag and a momentous anniversary to celebrate we feel more confident than ever that we'll still be here 30 years from now. Here's hoping there's plenty more 80's-born British brands around in 2043 to join in our 60th birthday celebrations.
*Based on April 2012 data from Office for National Statistics for full time employees.
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