Question: WHAT TWO THINGS DO WE HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE WWW?
Answer: 1. WE ARE BOTH CELEBRATING OUR 25TH
2. WE WERE, I BELIEVE, TOTALLY UNIQUE IN THE WORLD
1989 Infotel began life as a “slow burn” idea one Sunday afternoon in 1989. I had a 3 to 4 day contract to fulfil in London and was contemplating the commute from Lincolnshire , wondering if it would be better to stay in London.
Whilst wondering where to stay and mulling over the stupidity of the fact it wasn’t possible to ring a central reference point for hotels throughout the country it struck me that, actually, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. What if someone compiled a database to match guest criteria with appropriate hotels?
I ran this idea by my husband Davy, thinking that he would laugh. But he didn’t! He thought the idea was “good to go” and challenged me with the task of setting it up. His area of expertise was getting people to do exactly what he wanted them to do – and boy was he good at it J!
To cut a long story short, several months later we found ourselves in business. Davy suggested that we fund the venture by charging a membership fee to promote hotels on this unique, newly compiled, database. The idea took off really well and soon Infotel had a growing client base.
1992 A client then encouraged us to make bookings instead of simply matching criteria for clients to make their own and BOOM there was an explosion. Word soon spread around the business community and before we knew it we had a roaring success on our hands.
1994 We employed the services of our dear Ashley who had recently returned from Silicon Valley in California where he had been involved with the development of the World Wide Web. What he doesn’t know about the WWW isn’t worth knowing anyway.
He soon had us up and running with an interactive web site, www.infotel.co.uk, one of the first of its kind in the UK. Ashley is with us to this day, having taken a couple of sabbaticals at his and our requestJ!
By now Infotel had its own purpose built offices, constructed by Davy’s own fair hands.
1999 In June Infotel was listed among the top 300 website in the World by PC Magazine. This is what they said: -
“If you are looking online for accommodation in the UK, Infotel attempts to match your needs with a suitable hotel or guest house. After making a reservation you should receive confirmation by e-mail. Accommodation can be searched by criteria, such as city/town name, suburb, airport or tourist attraction. Its’ simple and plain design leads to an intuitive site.”
2000 With the Infotel brand servicing mainly the global leisure and on-line market we developed two dedicated corporate websites www.findmeahotelroom.com and www.findmeaconference.com to meet the ever growing and specific demands of the business community.
The office was extended by 60% to give us the desperately need space and the gardens landscaped to provide staff with a wonderful rural working environment.
2007 Davy was diagnosed with cancer. This was a devastating blow. He was our motivator and inspiration and the reason that I got out of bed in the morning. Sadly two years later he died and it felt as though my heart had been ripped and his loss to the business was immense.
He always said “we work for 50 people, we don’t have 50 people working for us” and this is what he truly believed. He marched to the sound of his own drummer. Well, I could go on all day about his amazing people skills etc, but I won’t. Suffice to say that with his passing the world lost a beautiful sole.
BUT he taught us well. We picked ourselves up and took the business on to dizzy heights. I believe that he looks down from heaven now and is very, very proud of what we have achieved.
2014 So here we are, 25 years later and 25 years older. Our business has grown from being a one off embryonic innovation to being a globally recognized brand.
We have had good and bad times but we never take for granted that fact that we work in an idyllic rural location with loyal and long servicing staff, doing something that we love, for clients who appreciate us. And long may this continue.