Sykes Holiday Cottages secures fresh investment

UK: Sykes Holiday Cottages has announced it has secured fresh investment from private equity firm Vitruvian Partners to fund its plans for increased domestic and international expansion.

As agreed within the transaction, Vitruvian replaces Sykes’ existing backers Livingbridge, who had worked in partnership with the company for five years.

When Livingbridge first injected funding into Sykes in January 2015, the company was managing 5,000 properties across the UK and Ireland, and this has now risen to over 17,500 properties in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand respectively. In that time, Sykes has grown organically and completed 12 acquisitions, including brands such as Coast and Country Cottages and Menai Holidays.

In April, it made its first international venture into the short-term rental space, by purchasing a majority stake in New Zealand-based holiday rental firm Bachcare, which counts over 2,000 properties in its portfolio.

The partnership with Vitruvian Partners is set to allow Sykes to continue its investment in enhancing its technology and growing its team. The company is already setting goals to serve more than 3.5 million holidaymakers a year by 2023 and reach a workforce of 1,000+ people by the same time.

In a press release, Sykes Holiday Cottages chief executive Graham Donoghue said: “We’re excited about this next phase in the Sykes story. We’ve transformed the business within the last five years with the unwavering support from the Livingbridge team, and we are now in a strong position to scale further in what is a booming staycation market.

“Vitruvian are an excellent cultural fit for our business and bring with them a history of successful investments in technology and travel businesses around the world. Investing in our people, our service and technology platform will help us attract more holidaymakers and property owners, as well as helping us to continue our acquisition plans both in the UK and overseas,” he added.

Ben Johnson, partner at Vitruvian Partners, said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages has gone from strength to strength, growing from a trusted family-run business to one of the largest holiday home rental platforms in Europe.

“In Sykes we have found a team with a mission to become a global category leader and we hope to support that with our experience and capital. We back exceptional high-growth technology-enabled businesses with proven leadership teams and are excited to partner with Sykes Holiday Cottages during its next phase of growth,” he added.

Adam Holloway, partner at Livingbridge, said: “Sykes Holiday Cottages is a fantastic business and we are delighted to have supported its development and growth.

“In Sykes we saw a wonderful opportunity to transform a business by maximising its digital potential in a fast-changing consumer landscape. Sykes has succeeded in driving the use of digital technology to deliver outstanding service to property owners and customers.

“Sykes ranks favourably against any holiday home rental business we have seen globally, and it’s great to have a UK-based market leader with a rapidly growing and highly skilled workforce,” he added.

For more information, visit the Sykes Holiday Cottages website here.