holiday autos is the world's largest and leading leisure car hire broker. Launched in 1987 we revolutionised the car rental industry - the first broker to offer fully-inclusive pre-paid car hire.
In our first year we achieved a turnover of £1 million through UK sales. What followed was one of the fastest and largest expansion programmes the travel industry has ever seen. holiday autos soon became the number one low-cost car hire company across Europe.
For a guide on our history, simply drag or use the arrows on our interactive timeline and select a year to learn more.
1987 - Birth of holiday autos
- 1987 saw the birth of holiday autos.
- We revolutionised the car rental industry by introducing the first pre-paid fully-inclusive car hire packages.
- Originally established by Clive Jacobs as a broker to the travel trade, holiday autos grew rapidly within the UK. We achieved a turnover of £1 million in our first year.
1988 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in Germany.
1991 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in Sweden.
1994 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in France.
1995 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in Belgium, Austria and Ireland.
1996 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in Holland, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Spain and Dubai.
1997 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in Norway, Australia, New Zealand and Portugal.
1998 - Joint venture with Ofran
- In September 1998, holiday autos signed a joint venture with Ofran in Israel.
1999 - Website launched
- In December 1999 the holiday autos website was launched.
2000 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in South Africa.
2002 - New HQ and sister site
- New headquarters were opened in Russia.
- We also launched our sister site, holiday hotels - a leading online provider of accommodation only.
2003 - Bought by lastminute.com group
- holiday autos was bought by lastminute.com in March 2003 for £43m, with car rental joining the online lifestyle giant's growing portfolio of travel merchandise.
2005 - Bought by Sabre Holdings
- In 2005, Sabre group - which already owned Travelocity Global in the US - bought the lastminute.com group. lastminute.com group then became part of Travelocity Global.
2006 - New HQ
- New headquarters were opened in USA.
2007 - New innovations
- In 2007 holiday autos launched, and won an award for, our interactive Favourite Drives feature.
- Hybrid car hire was launched in selected locations worldwide in November.
- In December we launched our Carbonwise scheme - enabling you to offset your carbon emissions with each booking.
- holiday autos celebrated its 20th birthday with a competition to win a Vauxhall Corsa.
2008 - New innovations
- In March of this year we introduced chauffeur-driven car hire in India and re-launched holiday autos Ireland.
- In April we introduced the industry’s first all-inclusive waiver to our booking options.
- Our fantastic Route Planner tool was launched on the website in May 2008.
- holiday autos was voted Best Online Car Hire Website by Which? Holiday magazine in May of this year.
- Van hire was launched in October of this year across selected UK locations.
- Motorhome hire was launched worldwide.
- In June of this year holiday autos won Best Car Hire Website in the TravelMole Web Awards.
- Launched over 200 car hire guides.
- In September 2009 we launched our exclusive range of Travel Extras.
- In June of this year holiday autos won Best Car Hire Website for the second year running in the TravelMole Web Awards.
- In February 2010, we rolled out a redesign of the booking flow on our site.
- We launched the holiday autos Twitter account in April of this year.
- As part of the British Travel Awards in November 2010, we were awarded the Bronze award for Best Car Hire.
- In October of this year we launched our own glossary page.
What we do
Our aim is to make your car hire experience as easy and stress-free as possible. We search the world for the best car hire companies and the best prices so that you don't have to. We offer fully-inclusive pre-paid car hire - so our price is the price; no add-ons, no hidden extras.
We only work with the most renowned global suppliers and the best local operators worldwide; ensuring you the highest level of service. Alamo, Avis and Hertz are among our top suppliers.
We are always looking at ways of enhancing our product and service offering to partners through site enhancements, new tools and increased functionality.
This last year alone, we have launched van hire, chauffeur-driven car hire and implemented the industry's best route planner to our site.
holiday autos is proud to have won all the UK's major travel industry awards for leisure car rental. On the international stage we have won awards in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. In May 2008 we were awarded Best Online Car Hire Website by Which? Holiday magazine and voted one of the top car hire sites by The Telegraph newsreaders.
Take look at all the other awards we have won over the years.
Need to get in touch?
Call us on 0871 472 5229 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras), anytime between 7am and 10pm every day of the week. We also have a 24hr helpline should you need to contact us whilst you are away - 01483 263 380.
You can also email us or send us a letter in the post. Have a look at our customer support page for more details on how to do this.
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