Decisions: Andrew Dunn

Founder and MD of luxury travel company Scott Dunn on his best decisions - and his regrets.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

My best decision...

... was not calling the company 'Ski Skint'. I started up after I went to visit my sister, who was working in Verbier, Switzerland as a chalet girl. I had never skied before, but I fell utterly in love with it while I was there and I thought, I want to do a lot more of this.

I was a student with no money whatsoever and the only time I could afford a ski pass was in the afternoon. It was natural for me to think about starting a travel company for people in the same situation - and, at the time, there were a lot of students out there with no money.

However, one of the people I discussed my plans with was my grandmother, who said: 'You can't possibly call it Ski Skint - you'll never do well selling things cheaply. People always want to buy the best.'

She definitely had a point - aiming for the premium market means that we do have a phenomenal number of returning customers. When you have an aspirational brand, there's a natural confidence - which is always going to be an advantage.

My worst decision...

... was to start chartering our own planes in 1992. It wasn't great timing - it was the last time the world fell to pieces: sterling went to pot, oil prices went through the roof, but I had a dream about that black Scott Dunn plane. Sadly, the surcharges were too much and it didn't work out.

The other bad decision I made was not buying more property in Courchevel 1850, one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world. I was given the opportunity a few years ago to buy several plots and I had a big debate with the finance director about it - he said we shouldn't and I knew we should. Since then, it has become the ski resort of choice for Russian billionaires and prices have gone through the roof. If we had bought land and built on it, the value would have increased a hundredfold. Forget tour operating - it would have been an absolute fortune. These days, it's not just the land that costs a fortune - people charge silly money for everything in that particular resort. Even eating there is perversely expensive now.

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