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Sykes Holiday Cottages

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Self-catering holiday agency

Sykes is one of the largest self-catering holiday property lettings agencies in the UK, providing holidaymakers with handpicked cottages in the UK and Ireland. Its properties range from romantic cottages for two and contemporary properties for large groups to pet-friendly cottages and luxury builds with hot tubs and saunas.  It offers pricing, merchandising, marketing/distribution and bookings management services to UK property owners.

Founded in 1991 by Clive Sykes, the business has nearly 25 years’ experience in matching customers to their perfect holiday home. Our investment is supporting the business as it looks to further increase its coverage and portfolio throughout the UK and Ireland. Daniel Smith from Livingbridge commented, “Sykes Cottages is a fantastic UK success story, delivering a superb service to property owners and holidaymakers alike. We are very excited about working with the leadership team at Sykes to fulfil our collective ambitions.”

Feeling at home with organic and acquisitive growth 

  • Since our investment, we have worked with Sykes Cottages to develop a corporate development strategy. This has included the acquisition of West Country specialist operator, Cornish Cottages and Devonshire Cottages, in 2017. This acquisition is one of a number of significant acquisitions forming a wider strategy to strengthen the business’ presence and portfolio in strategically important regions.

  • Our customer acquisition and retention team have worked with the management team to create scalable PPC campaigns, optimize other channels such as SEO, and develop greater brand awareness. Bookings at Sykes increased by over 20% year-on-year by October 2017, and in the same year the business launched mobile app My Sykes as well as their first TV advertising campaign to support continued expansion of their customer base. 
  • In 2018, Sykes celebrated a record year with bookings up 36 per cent year-on-year and the number of travellers served hitting the 1.5 million mark. In addition, the number of new owner enquiries also rose by 37 per cent during 2018.
  • Sykes took its first step in growing the business internationally after investing 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.

 

“I am delighted to welcome Livingbridge into the fold. We remain committed to providing an outstanding service to our owners whilst offering great value for money for holidaymakers. We look forward to working with Livingbridge to make Sykes Cottages even more successful over the years to come.” 

Clive Sykes, Founder and Group Chairman

 

Timeline

1991

Founded by Clive Sykes

2015

Investment by Livingbridge. Executive team strengthened with the appointment of a new CEO,  planned to allow Clive Sykes to step back.  Additional appointments include a head of HR, and a head of customer operations

2016

Voted best large UK holiday cottage booking company for the fourth year running at the British Travel Awards 

2017

Recognised at the Northern Tech Awards as one of the fastest-growing tech-based companies in the country

Named as one of the top 1000 firms to inspire Europe  

Sykes acquire West Country specialist operator, Cornish Cottages and Devonshire Cottages

Launch of mobile app

2018

Finalist at The Amazon Growing Business Awards

Recognised in GP Bullhound's ‘Northern Tech Awards Top 100 Companies’

2019

Sykes invest in New Zealand based Bachcare