History

History 2017-07-17T16:45:36+00:00

Originally a shipping and insurance business, Gray Dawes was founded in 1865 by Scottish entrepreneur Archibald Gray and partner Edwin Sandys Dawes. The company was established as a travel agency in 1927 and in 1958 became a subsidiary of the Inchcape Group.

The company was established as a travel agency in 1927 when, in conjunction with Imperial Airways, it sold the first tickets on the commercial route from London to Cairo and Karachi. Another first was to follow in 1946 when Gray Dawes received its IATA (International Air Transport Association) ticketing licence.

A management buyout in 1988 transformed Gray Dawes into one of the UK’s leading independent corporate travel agencies. Today, Gray Dawes Group is owned by Inchcape Family Estates and operates from offices in Colchester (head office)  London, Jersey, Cambridge and Leamington Spa.

1865

Originally a shipping and insurance business, Gray Dawes was founded in 1865 by Scottish entrepreneur Archibald Gray and partner Edwin Sandys Dawes.

1927

Gray Dawes, in conjunction with Imperial Airways, sell the first air tickets on the commercial route from London to Cairo and Karachi. This signals the birth of the travel agency.

1946

Gray Dawes becomes one of the first companies to receive an IATA (International Air Transport Association) Ticketing Licence.

1967

Archibald Gray and Edwin Dawes are among the original founders of the global Inchcape Group. Gray Dawes became one of two principal subsidiaries of this Group in 1958 with Gray Dawes Travel Ltd, being acquired in its own right by the plc in 1967.

1988

Gray Dawes Travel becomes one of the UK’s leading independent agencies after a management buyout.

1997

Inchcape Family Investment Ltd (based in Edinburgh) re-enters the business and becomes the majority owner of Gray Dawes Travel.

1999

Gray Dawes opens its National Reservations Centre in Colchester.

2002

Gray Dawes launches online booking tool

2005

Gray Dawes online booking tool, gdbookonline, wins an award for ‘Best Bookable e-commerce Business Travel Site of the Year’ at the Agent Achievement Awards. The first of two consecutive annual awards.

2011

Gray Dawes officially launches integrated travel and expense management system, becoming the first TMC in the UK to offer KDS’ unified travel and expense management technology.

2015

Gray Dawes Travel & Expense Management re-establishes London presence with the acquisition of The Business Travel Partnership. The move is part of the company’s core goal to re-establish Gray Dawes as Key player in the UK corporate travel arena. The Business Travel Partnership team and their customers join Gray Dawes as we continue along our path to deliver outstanding service supported through innovative technology solutions.

2016

Gray Dawes Travel joins The Radius network of corporate agencies. Radius Travel delivers global travel programs for multinational companies through a network of best-in-market agencies.

2016

Gray Dawes announce the acquisition of Travel Focus Limited including the trading business of Events in Focus. Gray Dawes CEO Suzanne Horner, said: “I am delighted to welcome the staff and customers of Travel Focus to our rapidly expanding business. “The move fits with our core goal to re-establish Gray Dawes as a key player in the UK corporate travel arena. The Travel Focus and Events in Focus business adds breadth and scale to Gray Dawes and is a natural fit in terms of our strategic aim to continue to develop our Events solutions business.”

2016

Gray Dawes, listed as 29th largest TMC in the UK with annual sales of £46m has acquired TMG, listed as the 36th largest TMC with sales of £38m. The annual sales of CBT have not been disclosed. Commenting on the latest acquisitions, Suzanne Horner, CEO of Gray Dawes said ‘having Travel Management Group and Cambridge Business Travel join Gray Dawes brings 2016 to an exciting and satisfying close. The goal has been to propel our business into one of the 20 largest…

2017

After the acquisition of Business Travel Partnership, Travel Focus, Cambridge Business Travel & Travel Management Group, it made perfect sense to reflect all of these unique brands under one umbrella, renaming Gray Dawes Travel as Gray Dawes Group.

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