INVESTMENT YEAR
2015
SECTOR
Consumer
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Leading independent holiday home provider

Sykes Holiday Cottages is the UK’s leading and fastest-growing independent holiday cottage rental agency with over 25 years’ experience in the business. Based in Chester, they offer a fantastic choice of holiday homes across the UK, Ireland and New Zealand – from cosy cottages for two to larger properties that sleep 20 or more.

Founded in 1991 by Clive Sykes, the business has nearly 25 years’ experience in matching customers to their perfect holiday home. At the time of Livingbridge’s investment in January 2015, Sykes managed 5,000 properties in the UK and Ireland and generated £17m revenue. By 2019 the business manages over 17,500 properties with sales of £68m*, having delivered market leading organic growth and completed 12 acquisitions underpinned by a highly effective digital transformation strategy. 

Building the best

  • Best large UK holiday cottage booking company 2016 – British Travel Awards
  • Recognised at the Northern Tech Awards as one of the fastest-growing tech-based companies in the country 2017
  • Named as one of the top 1000 firms to inspire Europe 2017
  • Finalist at The Amazon Growing Business Awards 2018
  • Recognised in GP Bullhound’s ‘Northern Tech Awards Top 100 Companies’ 2018
  • Large Management Team of the Year at the National BVCA Management Team Awards 2019
For now and for the future

We reinvested in Sykes as a minority shareholder in 2020, enabling us to continue to support Sykes and its management team as it embarks on the next stage of growth.

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The right tools for growth

M&A
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We supported Sykes to develop its M&A strategy, making 12 acquisitions during our investment to strengthen the business’ presence and portfolio in strategically important regions.

Customer acquisition and retention
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Our team have worked with the management team to create scalable PPC campaigns, optimize other channels such as SEO, and develop greater brand awareness with the business launching mobile app My Sykes as well as their first TV advertising campaign to support continued expansion of their customer base.

Internationalisation
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We guided the international growth of the business with the investment in the leading holiday rental firm in New Zealand, Bachcare, in 2019. The move marked a new avenue for further expansion for the business, with plans to enter other new markets around the world.

Talent
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We sourced talent for a succession CEO to allow for the planned step back of Sykes’ founder, Clive Sykes. We also facilitated the appointment of a new Head of HR and Head of Customer Operations to support the company’s growth.

Tech enablement
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We helped with the planning and development of the Sykes Holiday Cottages smart phone app, allowing customers to interact with the business wherever they are.

Sykes Holiday Cottages timeline

1991 Sykes Cottages founded
2015 Livingbridge invests
2015 Appointments new CEO, Head of HR and Head of Customer Operations
2016 Won best large UK holiday cottage booking company at British Travel Awards
2017 Recognised as one of the fastest-growing tech-based companies in the country at Northern Tech Awards
2017 Named as one of the top 1000 firms to inspire Europe
2017 Acquires Cornish Cottages and Devonshire Cottages
2017 Launches mobile app
2018 Finalist at The Amazon Growing Business Awards
2018 Recognised in GP Bullhound's ‘Northern Tech Awards Top 100 Companies’
2019 Invests in New Zealand based Bachcare
2019 Wins Large Management Team of the Year at the National BVCA Management Team Awards
2019 Successful secondary sale
2020 Livingbridge reinvests as a minority shareholder

Case Study: Sykes Holiday Cottages