The History of Lastminute

Article by Max Brockbank

Lastminute.com’s growth from a staff of two to a staff of well over 1,900 is an astonishing and sometimes turbulent tale of an internet travel company giving the people what they want, when they want it, for the price they can afford.

Before Brent Hoberman became the founder and CEO of lastminute.com, he was a man who relished booking five-star accommodations at three-star rates. His unprecedented success at finding luxurious yet affordable hotels led him to consider starting a full-time company. Hoberman partnered with Martha Lane-Fox, who used her business savvy to expand Lastminute.com’s line to include everything from theatre tickets to full-blown holiday packages. In October of 1998, Fox and Hoberman launched lastminute.com. The site became an instant hit with internet travelers, garnering enough business to allow lastminute.com to offer stock on the London Stock Exchange in March 2000. The success of the offering resulted in the acquisition of four existing internet travel companies, including Holiday Autos and the exclusive medhotels.com, and a branch in German, lastminute.de.

As with any company that experiences substantial growth, Lastminute.com’s heady rush of expansion proved financially rewarding but personally challenging. In 2003, Ian McCaig, the former vice president of 3G operations of Nokia, joined the company as Chief Operating Officer. His vision and acumen helped to propel Lastminute.com into the top tier of internet travel companies by acquiring another 14 online brands. Lastminute.com’s impressive growth attracted the interest of several major corporations.

In 2005, Travelocity purchased lastminute.com. A year later, Brent Hoberman resigned his post as CEO and became the company chairman, and Ian McCaig became the CEO. Ian subsequently worked to preserve the company’s original energy and spirit of adventure while simultaneously integrating the various needs of the multi-national expansion. Travelocity cemented Lastminute.com’s status as one of the premier global travel sites by adding highly competitive plane fares to the site’s extensive roster of services.

The Lastminute hotels, air fares, and holiday packages draw 2.5 million weekly visitors to the website. Lastminute.com’s extensive knowledge of entertainment and travel is unmatched in the industry, and helps to explain why, in the relatively unstable world of internet-based businesses, Lastminute.com continues to thrive and grow. Founded by a man with a love for a lastminute hotel, and managed by the sharpest and most innovative minds in the industry, Lastminute.com offers you everything you could possibly want in a holiday, for a price you won’t believe.

Max is an author, writer and editor. He is married with two children and a cat and lives in south east London.

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