The new owners of Loveholidays will seek to take a bigger share of the short-haul beach holiday market, expand to other source markets and launch new products.

Private equity investor Livingbridge acquired a majority stake in the online travel agent this week following its rapid growth since launching in 2012.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, partner Dan Smith said: “The majority of Loveholidays product is dynamically packaged beach destinations and this has grown quickly, but they only have a small overall share of this market so we think there are things we can do to grow that.

“Another area (we want to grow) is long-haul and there are other products which we are not doing yet which we will look at (launching).”
Smith would not be drawn on specific products but said cruise was unlikely.

He said Loveholidays’ “discovery search” technology was more intuitive than its competitors and went beyond just date and destination criteria.

“It was obvious they were different to their competitors,” Smith said. “Their site is more intuitive and helps customers. They are an online travel agent, not just a booking agent.

“People use the site when they haven’t decided where they are going yet so they’re attracting customers at an earlier stage of the process.”

Smith also said Loveholidays’ “innovative” team and its customer and tech-focused approach attracted them to the business.

He stressed that Loveholidays had not been “sold” and the senior management team was still in place and held “material” shares in the business.

Livingbridge will hold two places on the board and play a strategic role in Loveholidays as well as oversee recruitment as it grows.

The firm also owns Sykes Cottages and is a former investor in rival OTA On the Beach, which floated on the stock exchange in 2015.

This week Livingbridge sold their stake in travel management company Key Travel to private equity firm Elysian Capital.

Livingbridge has around £2 billion worth of funds under its management and invests in four sectors, including consumer where travel sits.

“We have huge funds and think there will be continued opportunities to invest in travel.”