Hoseasons boss says acquisitions will bring opportunities for Lowestoft team
- Credit: James Bass
Expansion and acquisition across the country will strengthen the position of Hoseasons' staff in Lowestoft rather than weaken it, says the firm's boss.
Simon Altham was recently appointed to a group role for parent company Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, which sees the 300-strong coastal headquarters as a centre of excellence for its collection of brands in the UK, he said.
Its digital team, which has grown by 25% in the past two years to around 80 people, is already working on group-wide projects, while the Raglan Road site has been chosen as the national base for another Wyndham brand, Landal GreenParks, to roll out its range of forest breaks in the UK.
The group acquired luxury holiday firm Blue Chip Holidays in Exeter last November, adding it to a portfolio including James Villa Holidays and cottages.com.
That means staff in Lowestoft could be working on projects for other brands, just as staff in Exeter could work for Hoseasons – a 'location agnostic' arrangement which offers a potential solution to recruitment challenges.
'In the new era of technology, it should not matter where you are based,' said Mr Altham, now managing director of revenue for Wyndham's UK operations.
'I would love to see more people in more locations working on multiple brands and multiple products.'
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But he admitted the Hoseasons brand was 'wedded to the region', and the value of its local roots were recognised by its owners.
'In my new role, I'm still as passionate about Lowestoft as ever,' he said. 'I hope it can be good for the team here as well, because it means I can give them opportunities.'
Competition for developers and other digital roles had intensified, said Mr Altham, but the company has had success in tempting people away from Norwich to the north Suffolk coast.
'Millennials are a difficult bunch to recruit. They want to know they'll be working with talented people and be able to develop,' he said.
'But our staff are part of a worldwide operation employing 33,000 people, and they could be in calls every day with colleagues in India, Singapore or the US.
'We are not a simple boating company any more: we are a modern digital business.'
Hoseasons' parent company, Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK, has chosen Lowestoft as the base for its latest venture, Landal GreenParks.
Five staff from the company are based at Raglan Road as it prepares for its expansion across the UK.
Its two parks, in Kielder Forest in Northumberland and Matlock in Derbyshire, offer forest breaks with central facilities, but also encourage visitors to explore nearby towns and villages.
'Landal have shown confidence in the Lowestoft team and its location as being a fantastic base to set up and grow its UK operation,' said Mr Altham.
Norwich Airport's relative proximity and its regular connections with Amsterdam, 45 minutes from Landal's head office, were a key factor in the decision.
A further four parks are being lined up to be opened next year, and if expansion proceeds as planned, up to 20 new jobs could be created over the next three to five years, said Mr Altham.