Alfa Travel are extremely excited about the company’s move to an employee owned business.
The Sawbridge family founded the Company in 1985 and the business has continued to grow and expand with a recorded revenue of £34.8m in 2014. The company owns 21 hotels in prime seaside locations in the UK, under the Leisureplex Holiday Hotels chain, as well as 46 coaches, the majority of which are new luxury Mercedes models. The Company prides itself on offering quality value for money holidays in the UK, Ireland and Europe and it’s this quality that keeps customers returning year after year.
Paul Sawbridge, who was Managing Director of the Alfa/Leisureplex Group for over 25 years, and now takes the position of Chairman, is delighted to announce the move to an employee owned business. He commented that “it will secure the future of the business for the benefit of staff and customers”.
“As a family owned Company we have always been able to take a long-term view and when the time came for our family directors to retire we looked for an ownership structure that would continue that outlook”. The Sawbridge family retain a 25% share of the business and have provided the majority funding to finance the employee buyout of the remaining 75%, along with Lloyds bank.
Paul Sawbridge is very optimistic about the benefits of becoming employee owned, and commented that, “The British economy faces many challenges over the coming years but all the evidence is that employee ownership leads to more productive, more stable and more customer focussed businesses which are able to attract a stable, skilled workforce”.
In a move that sees employees in the driving seat of Alfa Travel’s future, the Board of Trustees plays a vital role in engaging employees in business goals and strategy. The Alfa/Leisureplex Group was the first employee owned Company to hold their Trustee Election solely online and out of 17 candidates who put themselves forward from across the Company, the 3 trustees who were elected were Alyson Jones, Group Sales Manager, David Rimmer, Financial Controller and William Honeyball, Area Manager for Scotland and General Manager of the Selborne Hotel in Dunoon.
Alyson Jones, Trustee, said, “I think we’re all quite excited about it. Generally the feeling is really good. We’re going to have a lot of input into the business”.
William Honeyball, Trustee, also commented, “I am honoured to have been elected Trustee Director of Alfa/Leisureplex Group Ltd. I take my role on this board very seriously, in safeguarding the Company ethos of providing good value holidays with a caring attitude to our customers and providing a safe and considerate place of work to all employees whose continued hard work will benefit all in the years to come”.
With all this excitement and the business secured for the long term and set for further growth, it’s been the perfect time for Alfa to welcome their new CEO, Stephen Ford. Stephen, who is originally from the North West, near Alfa’s Head Office, joins the Company after returning from Sydney where he was Managing Director for Avon Australia and New Zealand.
Stephen is thrilled to be joining Alfa and said, “It’s been a very, very successful business by focusing on our customers and none of that’s going to change. We’re going to continue to grow the business and have the employees be part of that”.
Karen Sawbridge remains in place as Operations Director for Leisureplex Holiday Hotels. Paul Sawbridge and Peter Sawbridge now sit on the Board of Trustees as non-executive Directors.