fvw Kongress 2019

Holiday homes leader Awaze presents growth plans

Hendrik Kjellberg is CEO of holiday homes supplier Awaze.
Cathrin Lührs
Hendrik Kjellberg is CEO of holiday homes supplier Awaze.

Freshly rebranded Awaze is Europe’s largest supplier of managed holiday homes, a market with big growth potential. Swedish CEO Hendrik Kjellberg will outline the group’s ambitions and his views on the future for vacation rentals at the fvw Kongress.

With more than eight million bookings a year for 110,000 properties marketed through brands such as Novasol, Landal Green Parks and British firms Hoseasons, James Villa Holidays and Cottages.com, Awaze is a giant in the fragmented holiday homes sector but also a new name. The company, previously called European Vacation Rentals, was sold last year by hotels group Wyndham to US investor Platinum Equity.

“We needed a new name following the sale of the brands by Wyndham to Platinum Equity,” Kjellberg explains. The artificial name Awaze stands for a mix of ‘Away’ and ‘Amazing’.

The Swedish manager, who worked for Expedia for many years, took over as CEO last September and has restructured the former group division into a proper company with a management board. Kjellberg is also acting as interim CEO of Novasol “hopefully until the late summer when a new person will arrive for this position”.

Backed by Platinum Equity, Awaze has embarked on a growth journey. “Our owners are investing strongly in the company and are pushing it,” he says. A department with several hundred staff to win more properties for the different brands and to support property owners has been built up. Expansion primarily means more properties for the different brands, including a possible Landals Green Park in southern Germany where it is not yet present.

Awaze is not the only big player in the vacation rentals business, of course. Booking.com, Airbnb and Expedia (through subsidiary Homeaway) are all expanding their portfolios, while Indian hotel group Oyo recently bought @Leisure Group. “It’s normal that there is a lot of interest in a market that offers so much potential. That will continue,” Kjellberg predicts.

For its part, Awaze may streamline some of its minor brands, such as Dansommer or Fincaollorca. “Not all of them are clearly positioned,” the CEO admits. In addition, he can foresee closer cooperation between the five main brands, possibly through a common database rather than a single platform.

At the fvw Kongress in Cologne on September 17 – 18, Kjellberg will speak on ‘The individual traveller beyond the package holiday’ as part of a session called ‘The winner takes it all. The strategies of Online Travel Agencies’.

The new-look fvw Kongress will feature a wide-ranging programme of presentations on key issues for the travel industry, including changes in technology, digitalisation, latest developments in tourism and aviation, and how to make the industry more sustainable.

There is one single ticket that gives entry to the entire event on both days, including the presentations on all three stages, documentation and the Kongress party. The ticket costs just 349 euros as a special early booking price until 14 July. Travel agency owners and staff pay only 99 euros, while start-ups (no older than three years) pay 129 euros. All prices are liable to VAT.  

You can find more information about the travel industry event under: www.fvw-kongress.de