Vacancéole, a proven business model

The Savoyard operator of tourist accommodation wants to develop in the diffuse and in the build-up to consolidate the sector.

When it was created in 2009, Vacancéole, which based its business model on the operation of tourist accommodation whose co-owners had been abandoned by their managers who were unable to pay them rent after the financial crisis, was a pioneer. And he intends to keep doing that. From now on, the Savoyard group operates a heterogeneous fleet 103 tourist accommodation, hotels and holiday towns rated three and four stars in France – the equivalent 6,300 housing units – against 6 homes in 2013 and 65 in 2018. The turnover amounted to 65 million euros in 2022 with a gross margin of €5 millionand should reach 70 million in 2023 to 350 employees (95 work at the head office, at Alpespace).

According to Éric Journiat, its co-founder with Nicolas Braymand, “401,000 customers trusted Vacancéole in 2022 and to date our activity volume has registered +60% over the winter compared to a year earlier, thanks to the return of foreign customers. »

It must be said that Vacancéole has made its roots in each territory its strength, to offer its customers “an authentic, local and sustainable experience.” Thus, 26 of its residences are labeled Clef Verte and six others Refuge LPO (League for the Protection of birds), at a time when it is necessary to preserve the planet and advocate more responsible tourism.

Vacancéole, which has just modernized its website, offers more than 1,800 apartments in 30 ski resorts, 13 of which are located in Savoie Mont Blanc.

Grow internationally

On a strategic level, the tourist hotel specialist has also chosen to move towards other models and is showing its ambitions in France and internationally. Faced with a decline in tourist accommodation in resorts, Vacancéole invests the diffuse and now offers individuals the opportunity to market their items by adding a Concierge service. A test phase had been underway for two years in Les 2 Alpes – where the operator, already present with two residences, had taken over the management of 300 apartments (including 90 under management mandate) from the Compagnie des Alpes in 2020 – in Orcières Merlette and in Cap d’Agde, where he bought the portfolio of a real estate agency.

“This model is promising and we will expand it to the thirty mountain destinations (including 13 in Savoie Mont Blanc) where we operate to meet the demand for flexibility from customers.”confirms Éric Journiat, pointing to an occupancy rate of 82 to 85% in winter.

To do this, Vacancéole has created a real estate agentwhich applies to one 25% fee on each owner’s annual net turnover corresponding to the property’s management and marketing. If currently the apartments in management mandate represent 2% of the fleet, i.e. 250 units, the group aims for 1,700 mandates in 2025. This development will also go through Corsica, where the will open a Corséole travel agency in early 2023which will market two Vacancéole homes (245 apartments) and combine offers from other housing providers.

In addition, the operator aims to implement iinternational next year. It is aimed at Spain, Portugal and Italy based on one of the two models, but does acknowledge that“It is difficult to find blocks of flats to manage. »

Beyond that, Vacancéole plans to grow in build up, “by buying existing companies in our business, specialized in traditional management of tourist accommodation or in management mandates, or even both. »

Its president ensures that he has sufficient equity and financial capacity since Garibaldi Participations and Crédit Agricole Alpes Développement entered its capital in 2020. The group can always resort to bank debt, if necessary, depending on the opportunities that arise.

Patricia Rey
Featured photo: ©Vacancéole

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