The founder of collapsed short‑break operator Super Break is hoping to resurrect the much‑loved trade brand and is calling for agents’ backing.
Gordon Miller, who set up the business with a colleague in 1983, is seeking to relaunch a “stripped down” Super Break that would sell fully bonded hotel-only bookings.
Super Break ceased trading on August 1 after parent company the Malvern Group failed to find investment or a buyer.
It collapsed with 400 customers overseas and 20,000 forward bookings affecting 53,000 customers.
A number of agents have been left out of pocket for hotel-only bookings which they believed were Abta‑bonded.
Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, Miller said: “There is an opportunity in the trade, domestic market. Everyone I talk to agrees.
“But I am a bit worried about the damage to the reputation.
“Will agents support a new Super Break if we bond everything?”
Miller acknowledged agents and operators had been hurt by the failure. “The trade seemed to be very confused about what was bonded and shocked that hotel-only was not,” he said. “Agents and hotels have lost money on this and I have the greatest sympathy.”
Interview: Super Break founder Gordon Miller
Looking ahead to a potential buyout, he said: “If we said we are [fully] bonded, that’s a good sentiment to express to the trade.”
Miller said he was in talks with administrators KPMG and had had discussions with some Malvern Group employees and Abta.
In the 1980s, Miller and his colleague Christopher Dunn bought British Transport Hotels for £1 from British Rail, when it was being privatised.
Initially featuring just 32 hotels, they added five Rank Group properties and renamed the business Superbreak. They acquired Golden Rail in 1987 and transformed the brand, growing the portfolio to 1,000 hotels.
Miller and Dunn sold the business in a Barclays-backed management buyout to directors Nick Cust, Mark Wray and Stuart Hope in 1990.
The pair retained a stake in the business and Miller was brought back by Barclays in 1993 to prepare Superbreak for a second sale, this time to Eurocamp in 1994.
Miller said he was “shocked and saddened” when he heard this month that Super Break – which adopted its two-word style in a 2014 rebrand – had collapsed.
“It was gnawing away at me so I contacted the administrators,” he said.
“I’m interested in a stripped-down version of Super Break – so nothing overseas, because we can’t compete and the margins aren’t high enough.
“This would be back to basics. A controlled operation, well-financed, UK-only and sold through the trade.”
Miller said he has put together a small team and is open to working with other bidders.
If a deal goes ahead, he would run the business from York and recruit the former “highly skilled” call centre staff.
Tracey Pye, joint administrator at KPMG, said: “We are continuing to engage with interested parties to purchase the business and assets of the companies. To date, we have received significant interest.”
Travel Weekly understands bids for the failed operator must be lodged with KPMG by August 19.
Would you work with Super Break if it were revived and offered full bonding? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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