Our history

“I first started offering villa holidays in 1978 with my Greek wife Yianna. Inspired by the idea of sharing the kind of authentic travel experiences we enjoyed ourselves, we set up Simply Crete.

Back then, this unspoilt island was on the ‘road less travelled’ in the most literal sense. Today some of our villas and Simpson Hotels are quietly secluded, while others sit near the finest beaches in Europe and certainly no longer off the beaten track, yet our approach remains unchanged. To us, the road less travelled is about going the extra mile; making the effort where others might take shortcuts.

Four decades after the creation of Simply Crete, we remain committed to offering the kind of holidays we like to take ourselves, and in May 2018, Yianna and I celebrated this 40 year milestone by taking our three children and seven grandchildren for a family holiday at the Kalkan Regency Hotel in Turkey. If you'd like to see us all 'off duty', take a look at the family video one of the UK staff kindly made for us as a memento.

Like Kalkan, our company has grown and adapted to the wishes of its guests over time, but I'm proud of the fact that Simpson Travel remains so true to our original values; here's to the next 40 years!"

Graham Simpson
Chairman

 


 

Timeline... 1978   1999   2002   2008   2010   2012   2014   2015   2016   2017    2018

 

1978

As a favour to his Cretan brother-in-law, Graham Simpson and his wife Yianna start renting out a number of villas in Crete, which leads to the creation of Simply Travel. In 21 years, 80 customers grows to 40,000.

1999

Thomson Holidays buys Simply Travel and Graham begins a ten-year sabbatical, supporting an orphanage in Tanzania, backpacking around the Southern Hemisphere and becoming Chairman of Watford Football Club.

2002

Simpson Travel is born after several members of Graham’s Simply Travel team approach him to set it up. It recreates the personalised service of his former company and introduces the idea of 'the road less travelled', to represent a willingness to go the extra mile for our guests. Graham remains as the Chair of Watford FC for another seven years.

2008

Graham becomes the Managing Director of Simpson Travel and takes an active role in the business, supported by his two sons, Mat and Dan, who joined the company in 2004. His daughter, Hannah, follows on a part-time basis in 2011, along with husband Kirk in 2012. With Yianna continuing her invaluable involvement in the intricacies of Greek contracting, the family business goes from strength to strength. 

2010

The first Simpson Hotel launches, offering personalised service, comfortable beds, delicious home-cooked breakfasts and inspirational sea views across Turkey's Turquoise Coast. Simpson Secrets, chosen specifically for the more adventurous, independent traveller, and the luxurious Simpson Exclusive Collection launch in the same year.

2012

We win The Guardian & Observer Travel Awards for Best Online Booking Service and come second in the Best Small Tour Operator category. Included in Condé Nast Traveller’s World’s Top 100 list. Other awards follow.

2014

Building on the success of our Simpson Crèche at Periyali Villas, we open a second at Mousses Villas. Our ongoing partnership with the charity Together for Short Live begins, with £1 donated for every Customer Service Questionnaire completed to help terminally-ill children and their families.

2015

We acquire Cottages to Castles, the Italian holiday specialists, and France experts Dominique’s Villas – both family-run businesses like our own. In December, the company moves from Mortlake to new offices within the Bank of England Sports Ground in Barnes, home to the Wimbledon and Junior Wimbledon qualifying matches.

2016

The France programme launches. Simpson Travel is listed in the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, and Graham, soon to take up a new role as Simpson Travel's Chairman, wins Silver Travel Advisor's Exceptional Achievement Award.

2017

We begin our programme in Italy, opening with Tuscany and Umbria, then expanding into Puglia in preparation for summer 2018. As the company grows, we keep an obsessively close eye on service, and are rewarded with a Silver Award for Best Holiday Company to East & Southeast Europe at the British Travel Awards 2017. At the end of a busy year, we launch our new website.

2018

A big year for our Chairman Graham Simpson, celebrating 40 years in the travel industry. The occasion is marked with a three-generation Simpson family holiday to Kalkan in Turkey, and a party in our London office. Further causes for celebration come from our second Silver Travel Advisor Award, taking runner up position in the Best Villa Holiday Company category, and the acquisition of Alternative Escapes, expanding our France portfolio with a superb range of family-sized properties near the Aquitaine coast.