Face-to-Face: Alex Stuart, general manager at Novasol UK

What’s the secret to Novasol’s success? 

Alex Stuart

I believe the key to NOVASOL’s success over the past 50 years comes down to our core values: quality, service and reliability.

The holiday home model has been successful for a very long time, testament to that is NOVASOL’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2018. The expansion of our group since its inception in 1968 illustrates the “home away from home” concept continues to appeal to a great amount of people. There are no set breakfast or dinner times, you are not restricted to the space of a small room, you do not have to secure your beach-chairs at 7am… it’s your home, your holiday, and your time.

Furthermore, each of our 44,000 holiday homes has been personally inspected by our representatives, who are based in the 29 European countries in which we are located. Our team visit each property to give it a fair assessment, and are on hand to assist both our homeowners and our valued customers throughout their stay. Our property portfolio is second to one, which is why we’re proud to be Europe’s largest provider of professionally managed holiday homes. Whether you are seeking a chic Scandinavian chalet or a villa with pool in Spain, we truly offer something for everyone – which sets us apart from many of our competitors.

Finally, we are part of Wyndham Worldwide and members of ABTA, which means that our guests can book safe in the knowledge that they’re booking with a tried and trusted company. It comes as no surprise that we took two million customers away with us on holiday last year.

How do you stay relevant in a market that’s evolving so rapidly?

We continually listen to the market and our clients. Initially perceived as a budget means of going on holiday; guests would bring their towels, bedding and cleaning. Nowadays we are faced with a different target market, especially in the UK. These are people who want no fuss, no hassle and tend to fly which prevents them from bringing huge quantities of luggage.

To accommodate these travellers, we have not only incorporated optional bedding, towel rental and an end-of-stay cleaning service but also offer an ever-growing number of what we refer to as “All Inclusive Properties”. Not to be mistaken for an all-inclusive hotel offering, these villas, cottages and apartments include all the possible services and local costs usually associated with a holiday home including electricity, cleaning, bedding etc. in the final rental price.

What current booking trends are you noticing and what’s driving them?

As to be expected, the Brits favour our Mediterranean destinations; Croatia is quickly emerging as one of our most popular destinations. With over 10,000 properties across Croatia, I believe that we’re well-equipped to accommodate for this growing demand. Spain maintains its position as an all-time favourite, closely followed by France and Italy. The weather, sun and atmosphere will naturally be the main drivers here.

We are also seeing the rise in popularity in destinations such as Germany and Denmark. We have found that our customers are increasingly seeking the option of more activity led holidays. With an abundance of picturesque beaches, interesting towns and some of Europe’s most captivating scenery, it is no surprise that Germany and Denmark are natural choices for those wanting to experience new destinations.

How do you work with UK travel agents? Do you offer incentives, commission, etc?

NOVASOL aspires to be as agent-friendly as possible. We offer competitive commission, promised price parity, our best price guarantee and a range of incentives and fam trips throughout the year. We can work with travel agents in a variety of ways, including via XML feeds, our online partner portal or a white label site. Our team is also on-hand should our valued partners ever need any training or assistance.

What booking trends do you predict for the next 12 months and why? destinations/short haul v long haul/corporate/leisure/demographics, etc?

Our early booking figures indicate that Southern Europe is showing no signs of slowing down, and I expect Croatia and Spain to continue to perform well. Destinations such as Denmark and Germany, which benefit from extremely affordable flight prices, are also showing good signs of growth in 2018.

Our holiday homes range from studio apartments to fifteen-bedroom castles, which ensure that they are perfect for couples, families and group of friends alike. I suspect the growing trend for multigenerational holidays will continue to grow, especially as the purse strings tighten in light of the rising inflation in the UK. Multigenerational holidays have the capacity to be incredibly affordable, especially when staying in a self-catered holiday home.

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