Happy 25th Birthday
Let me intoduce myself. My name is Ann Cordner and, along with my husband Davy, I was founder of Infotel Solutions Ltd.
Infotel began life as a "slow burn" idea one Sunday afternoon in 1989. I had a 3 to 4 day contract to fulfill in London the next day and was contemplating the commute from Lincolnshire, wondering if it would be better to stay in London and if so where would I stay.
I was frustrated that there wasn't a central reference point to ring for details on all the hotels in the country? Why hadn't someone compiled a countrywide database to match guest criteria with appropriate hotels? Then it struck me that actually that wouldn't be a bad idea.
I ran this idea by 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!
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.
One day a client asked why we didn't make bookings instead of simply giving the details for clients to make their own. We thought it over and decided that the time was right.
What does the World Wide Web and Infotel have in common?
Word soon spread around the business community and before we knew it BOOM we had a roaring success on our hands. So much so that we soon needed additional office space and Davy, having been a builder in his previous life, built our first office on our own land with his own fair hands.
In 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.
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 request!
In June 1999 Infotel was listed among the top 300 website in the World by PC Magazine! Wow!
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. ”
By 2000 the Infotel brand was servicing mainly the global leisure and on-line market with the newly developed corporate websites findmeahotelroom.com and findmeaconference.com meeting the ever growing and specific demands of business clients.
In 2007 Davy was diagnosed with cancer and sadly passed away in 2009. This was a devastating blow. He was an inspirational motivator and much loved by everyone. BUT he had taught us well. We picked ourselves up and, continuing his legacy, took the business on to dizzy heights. I believe that he looks down on us now and is very, very proud of what we have achieved.
So here we are, 25 years later and 25 years older, still innovating, improving, developing our own software and never taking success for granted. Our business has grown from being a one off embryonic innovation to being globally recognized.
And let's not forget that none of this would have been possible had it not been for our dedicated, loyal and hardworking staff who supported us in difficult times and laughed with us in joyful times.
I know that all the Directors would like to join me in thanking each and every one of you. You have all been a part of the "Infotel Story" over the past 25 years, helping to make it what it is now. Here's to the next 25 years - onward and upward!