Superbreak’s Brand Development Director takes a short break to discuss his current position and past history
Ray Jones joined Superbreak as a Brand Development Director in 1997 following a varied and successful career in the travel industry. After a period working as concierge and travelling the world Ray developed a keen interest in the performing arts while working for Edwardian Hotels in Covent Garden. This interest soon developed into enterprise as he formed his own company Centre Stage - a specialist tour operator packaging theatre and concert tickets with overnight accommodation.
From this point Ray’s career developed further before finally joining Superbreak where his main responsibilities include developing the Theatrebreak theatre and concert break program. The following interview charts Ray’s career progress and provides some excellent industry insights from one of the UK’s leading experts in both travel and theatre.
What was your first full-time job and how long did you work there?
I have always worked during school holidays. My first job was as a Page Boy at The Selfridge Hotel where my father was head concierge. It was a wonderful way to earn pocket money.
When and how did you first get involved in the hotel business?
As you can see from above my father was in the business. Head concierge is a fascinating job in a top London hotel, and I followed in his footsteps. I have worked as a concierge in several London hotels including The Selfridge, The Royal Westminster, The Royal Angus and as head concierge at The Cadogan, The Kensington Palace and The Mountbatten.
As a concierge, who was the most famous person, whose bags you’ve carried?
I think I would have to say it was not a bag, but I carried the FA Cup on two occasions when I looked after the Liverpool Team after victories at Wembley. I have pictures of myself drinking from the FA Cup surrounded by the biggest names in football of that day. I had the pleasure of serving many famous people.
What first lead to your involvement in west end theatre breaks?
My most vivid memory is of seeing Jesus Christ Superstar at The Palace Theatre - not once but many times. Between this and The Rocky Horror Show on The Kings Road, I was hooked. Since then I have had the pleasure of being at many wonderful evenings at the theatre including the opening and closing performances of Cats and the amazing tenth anniversary performance of Les Miserables at The Royal Albert Hall. Theatre has given me many highs.
I started packaging shows and hotels to enable others to experience the shows and because I hated the way black markteeers were charging high prices for tickets. I often sell a room and ticket for less than they charge just for a ticket.
What is the greatest challenge of being Superbreak director?
Growing the business in a rapidly changing market is my greatest challenge. Our competitor set has changed totally in the time I have been with the company. It used to be brochure based but is now all online. It’s a tremendous challenge, but I am “up for the fight”
If wanted to go on a theatre break, what show would you recommend and how would you go about blagging me a pair of tickets?
At the moment I fancy Monty Pythons Spamalot at The Palace, but the ladies are going mad for Dirty Dancing, and my mum says The Sound of Music by that nice man Andrew Lloyd Webber is top choice. So take your pick and don’t ask me how I blag the tickets. That’s my secret!
Superbreak short breaks is the internet division of Superbreak Mini Holidays Limited, the market leader for short breaks throughout the UK. Superbreak and Hotelnet are part of Holiday break plc, a publicly quoted leisure company whose share price can be found in most major UK newspapers.
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