Sykes Holiday Cottages has taken its first step in growing the business internationally after investing in the leading holiday rental firm in New Zealand, Bachcare.
The business, which is already one of the UK’s largest independent holiday rental agencies with almost 14,000 holiday properties across the UK and Ireland, was backed by mid-market private equity investors Livingbridge in 2015.
This move gives Sykes Holiday Cottages a foothold in the southern hemisphere and it also supports Bachcare’s ambitions to expand beyond New Zealand, where it currently manages over 2,000 properties in more than 150 locations, serving more than 150,000 customers a year.
Bachcare will continue to target the domestic New Zealand market, operating under its existing brand which founder Leslie Preston – now CEO – first established in 2003.
Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said:
“It has always been our ambition to scale into new markets and, working together with Bachcare will enable us to take our first step towards further international growth.
“There are huge synergies between our business and the one that Leslie has built over the past 16 years.
“Like the UK and many other markets globally, staycations are a huge and growing part of the leisure sector in New Zealand. Bachcare has grown to lead that market through its laser-like focus on delivering an excellent experience for holidaymakers from the moment they land on the website to leaving the property at the end of their holiday.
“By working with Leslie and her team, and by learning from each other’s expertise, we are confident that Sykes Holiday Cottages can continue growing in the UK, that Bachcare will maintain its growth in New Zealand, and that together, we can enter other new markets around the world.”
Leslie Preston added: “Competing with large multi-national companies in the past has helped make Bachcare what we are – an honest, independent business that is absolutely committed to giving customers the best, full-service experience possible.
“That fits entirely with what Sykes is doing in the UK and we’re confident that, together, we can retain all that makes us unique while also benefitting from the backing of a company that is capable of helping us achieve our long-term ambitions.”
Sykes Holiday Cottages employs more than 500 people and last year and served more than 1.5 million holidaymakers from its head office in Chester.
Last year, it saw bookings rise by more than a third while growing demand from second home-owners to make the most of their properties saw enquiries from new owners rise by around 37 per cent.
Bachcare employs around 50 people at its head office near Auckland and works with around 100 contracted holiday managers across North and South Island.
Livingbridge has worked with Sykes in expanding its portfolio both organically and through acquisition. The firm, which opened an office in Australia 2017, has significant experience in the leisure sector having invested in loveholidays, rhubarb and On the Beach.
Matthew Jacobs at Livingbridge, said:
“Sykes has been on a terrific growth journey over recent years and has established itself as a leading player in the UK holiday rental market. We’re excited by this investment which takes the business global, opening up a new avenue for further expansion.”