Alfa Travel, a successful national Coach Tour Operator, are extremely excited to announce the appointment of their new Managing Director – Karen Sawbridge.
Karen is part of the Sawbridge family which founded the Company in 1985 and since then the business has continued to grow and expand. The company owns 21 hotels in prime seaside locations in the UK under the Leisureplex Holidays Hotels chain, and also has a fleet of 49 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.
As a family owned Company the Sawbridge’s have always been able to take a long-term view and when the time came for the family directors to retire, the Company became an Employee Owned Business in July 2015 in order to continue the family owned outlook. The Sawbridge family retain a 25% share of the business and provided the majority funding to finance the employee buyout of the remaining 75%, along with Lloyds bank.
As the Leisureplex Operations Director for the last 14 years, Karen has been the driving force behind the ever increasing improvements to the Company’s hotel operations and has overseen a substantial stream of investment in the hotel estate. Karen is totally committed to the employee ownership model and will do her utmost to develop the business by ensuring the organisation stays focused on delivering excellent customer service.
Karen’s appointment to Managing Director now means the Alfa/Leisureplex board is predominantly females – 75% in fact. Karen commented:
“After enjoying a historically high level of trading in 2016, much against the odds, given the political upheaval resulting from BREXIT in June, followed by the astonishing appointment of Donald Trump as President of the USA in November, there will be challenges ahead over the next 12-24 months, especially because of the high level of inflation predicted to affect food and fuel, two of our key cost drivers. However, I am resolute that my Directors and I can continue to provide the necessary careful management and leadership needed to continue to replicate the very strong operational and financial performance of our employee owned group. Our ownership model is unique within the industry, which will help in ensuring we maintain competitive advantage, which will prove to be essential in our strive to gain more market share from our rivals.
I am so proud to be chosen as the leader of our amazing group, which benefits from fantastic staff at the roots of its success.”
Paul Sawbridge remains a Non-Executive Director to represent shareholder interests and Peter Sawbridge has taken up a new role of Non-Executive Chairman.