Celebrate with us the
75 years of Universal
2022 is a special year for us for two reasons: not only is the company celebrating its 75th anniversary, but it is also looking ahead to the future with a new brand identity. The business that started off back in 1947 as a travel agency organising air package tours has now evolved into an international tourism company.
In 1947, Dr Alfred Erhart (1918-1998) founded Universal Flugreisen in Switzerland, which was followed in 1955 by Switzerland’s first charter company ‘Swiss Universal Air Charter’. Indeed, the entrepreneur spotted the potential of air tourism long before the boom in this sector.
Dr Erhart first discovered Mallorca during his honeymoon in 1949. Although he organised tours to various tourist destinations, it wasn’t long before he realised that the Balearic Island was way ahead of other destinations, hence the high demand.
The birth of Universal Beach Hotels
Although Mallorca was extremely popular among his customers, Dr Erhart received numerous complaints about the standard of accommodation. He immediately set to work on building and running his own hotels to cater for his guests’ demands.
Universal Beach Hotels began operations in 1963, with the opening of the Aquamarin in Sant Elm. By 1970, there were eight hotels that were extremely popular season after season thanks to the company’s formula of “the sensations of a Mediterranean holiday with Swiss quality”.
Consolidation and a new generation
In 1993, Universal set up a travel guarantee fund to ensure its customers’ complete peace of mind. In 1995, Dr Erhart’s son, Philippe, joined the company and was appointed CEO of the tour operator Universal Mallorca Ferien.
In 2020, the founder’s grandson, Yannik Erhart, took over as CEO of Universal Beach Hotels and today is responsible for the management of 15 hotels that each year welcome more than 100,000 guests from around the world.
Firmly on course for the future
In 2022, its anniversary year, the founder’s successors have refocused the company. Under the Universal Mallorca Ferien and Universal Beach Hotels brands, the company will continue to cater for its mainly Swiss clientele, applying its proven recipe for success.
However, the change of brand has also brought with it the updating and redesign of the hotels. Taking care to retain the family atmosphere, the company is now also opening up to new customer segments and offering innovative concepts.