The parent of Hoseasons and James Villas has revealed a new corporate identity and senior leadership team.
The firm has been known as European Vacation Rentals since it was sold as a group to Platinum Equity by global hospitality giant Wyndham Worldwide for $1.3 billion last May.
From today the group will be known as Awaze, reflecting its ‘everyday amazing’ tagline although its individual brands will remain prominent in consumer and trade promotions and marketing.
The group also includes cottages.com, Novasol and Landal GreenParks and is Europe’s largest self-catering accommodation supplier with annual revenues of €1.8 billion, 110,000 individual products in 36 countries and eight million annual guests.
Speaking today at ITB Berlin chief executive Henrik Kjellberg, who was appointed after the sale, also announced that Alvaro de Nicolas has been appointed group chief technology officer, and Liliana Solomon chief finance officer.
De Nicolas previously oversaw digital transformation at Hotelbeds and Solomon has over 20 years’ experience in the telecoms and technology industries with Vodafone, Cable & Wireless, and Deutsche Telecom.
Kjellberg also revealed that a new head of B2B and B2C supplier James Villas will be joining the team. Andreas Nau will join on April 15 taking over from current managing director Alan MacLean who is due to leave the business in April.
Nau previously worked with Kjellberg at Expedia and has also worked at Tui, so brings both a B2C and B2B background to the specialist supplier. James Villas will remain separate to Hoseasons and cottages.com and Nau will report directly into Kjellberg.
Kjellberg said while having a new parent branding will not change the way the brands deal with its trade partners it was important to give the business a public corporate identity and a platform for growth.
“The Awaze portfolio includes some fantastic brands, but the creation of a new corporate identity and leadership team will enable us to share learnings, develop group-wide technological solutions and accelerate the pace at which we grow.
“The market for self-catering breaks is strong and we are incredibly well-placed to take advantage of that demand. We intend to stay close to the trade in how we work.
“As we move behind one brand I would hope we can offer better technology solutions and more inventory and make is easy for our customers and trade partners to find great properties and make a booking.”
Kjellberg said as many as 20 corporate names had been considered but that it had come down to a choice of around four or five that were given serious consideration.
Awaze will continue to be headquartered in Hammersmith but will move into larger offices at it expands in central team from around 10 to 30 with a new chief security officer and digital product head due to be recruited alongside more staff in central functions like legal.
However, Kjellberg said he wants the main focus to remain with the local brands in the business. In the Hoseasons business Simon Altham will continue as chief portfolio officer as well as leading acquisitions for cottages.com.
He will head up the Lancashire-based division alongside Geoff Cowley, who was managing director of Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK.
Kjellberg said when it comes to acquisitions the new corporate identity and website establishes the company as a credible buyer in the M&A sector and Altham will be leading the acquisitions strategy.
“He is very well-known in the UK and is passionate about being out there meeting hosts, meeting the trade and meeting the parks owners. With this phase behind us we are going to be able to do more of that and that’s good for all of us.
“All of our brands have been carrying on as normal since we were sold but clearly this process has been a distraction. When you are being bought and sold a lot of things are happening to you.
“The announcement of our new corporate identity, to me, marks the end of the distraction. It’s behind us, so now it’s heads down, focus on execution and trying to be a good partner to the trade and our hosts and offering amazing experiences for the guests who come and stay with us.”
Awaze will be working towards a five-point development strategy focused on building its brands, adopting leading technology, increasing its reach through acquisition and organic growth and working collaboratively between the brands and developing a corporate culture across the group.
“No other managed vacation rentals business offers our blend of international reach and on-the-ground knowledge, expertise and support. Owners want the same personal approach whether they are in Croatia, Cornwall or Copenhagen. That’s why we remain committed to providing genuine local support alongside our central group structure,” said Kjellberg.