To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the lastminute.com website going live on October 15, 1998, we have put together a list of 15 facts about our brand. Read on to find out more….
1. In the beginning….
lastminute.com was created by Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox (now a life-peer in the House of Lords) in the living room of Brent’s London flat. The idea behind the new and innovative site was to enable everyone to enjoy a five-star lifestyle for three-star prices, through capitalising on rooms and products available at the last minute.
2. Our very first booking
The first booking lastminute.com received was for a stay at the Washington Mayfair Hotel, London. We are still partners with the hotel today.
3. Shush – this fact is Top Secret!
In 2003 we created Top Secret® Hotels. Since then, through this product category alone, we have saved customers across Europe a whopping £40 million on hotel stays.
4. Putting on the Ritz…
Just five years into trading, we had sold enough hotel rooms to fill the London Ritz more than 33,000 times.
5. Online revolution
Back in 1998, only 11 per cent of Europeans had booked some form of travel or leisure product online. Fast forward fifteen years and a pan-European survey of 5,500 people revealed that 2004 was the breakthrough year for the majority of people’s first booking of a hotel, flight or holiday online. The Irish were the most tech-savvy nation, followed by the Brits and then the Italians who joined the online travel party in 2003. The French did not really get involved until 2006.
6. Let lastminute.com entertain you!
In 2005, a Robbie Williams concert was the fastest selling show on lastminute.com, selling 12,000 tickets in just 9 minutes. It is unbelievable that the website managed to Take That (sorry!) number of bookings!
7. Not a shotgun in sight ….
Spontaneous weddings tend to be few and far between, with most people taking months, if not years, of careful planning ahead of their big day. However in 2006 we installed an inflatable church in the middle of London’s Leicester Square to help facilitate people saying “I do”. In just one day, 45 couples tied the knot – amongst them was a man and his beloved (a dog). Needless to say, these marriages were just for fun and not legally binding!
8. There’s no business like showbusiness….
In 2009 lastminute.com sold an incredible 1.5 million theatre tickets! If each of these theatre goers applauded for five minutes, this would add up to almost 15 years of constant applause. Now that is an encore!
9. You have your say
In 2011 a ‘pink’ living room was built at lastminute.com’s HQ where, each week, customers were invited to share their thoughts on the site’s latest innovations. Changes were often made straight away – open heart surgery for the site.
10. Cool brand
lastminute.com was voted the UK’s coolest travel brand by CoolBrands 2011-2012 (the new vote is currently underway… fingers crossed!)
11. I’m sure I have forgotten something….
In 2012 we uncovered some of the strangest things lastminute.com customers had ever left behind or forgotten in their hotel rooms. The losses included a wife in a Prague hotel, thousands of dollars in Las Vegas, a snake in a hotel in Washington and a mother in a Dublin hotel.
12. One customer had an urge to splurge ….
In December 2012 lastminute.com processed its most luxurious holiday booking. With a departure date of just ten days later, this particular customer had booked eleven nights in a luxury Mauritius hotel, taking over two bespoke ocean villas. The booking for four people came to an eye-watering £36,697.
13. Suitcase orbit
If all the customers who used lastminute.com for a European package holiday in 2013 lined up their suitcases, they would cross the world more than five times.
14. Top destinations
Between 1998 and 2013 lastminute.com’s top hotel destination has been London, and Majorca has been the favourite holiday island for European customers.
15. We do what we say on the tin
In 2013 independent research by Simpson Carpenter uncovered that when people want to take a trip within a month, they visit lastminute.com more than any other site in Europe. The research also asked which European brand consumers associated with ‘last minute’ travel and lifestyle – 94 per cent of them said lastminute.com.
We are number one and we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you!