Marktlink
Mountain Residences wants a future-proof partnership with Oasis Premium Resorts

Company Name
Mountain Residences

Website
https://www.mountain-residences.com

Transaction
Sell-side

Types
Strategic

Market
International

Mountain Residences wants a future-proof partnership with Oasis Premium Resorts

Blue skies, white mountains and Milka-like alpine meadows: the Austrian landscape is phenomenal. It is a place where countless people satisfy their hunger for wide open spaces with a week of winter sports in the Tyrol; but Marc de Vocht and Mark Smits are taking a more resolute approach. The entrepreneurial duo started Mountain Residences in 2011, concentrating on the development and construction of high-quality chalets and apartments in prime locations in the Austrian Alps. They quickly set up their own hotel label for the rental and operation of the locations: “PURE Resorts.”

“In the first years, we only worked with franchisers for PURE Resorts,” says Mark Smits. “We made a brand book with all the protocols, quality requirements and trademark rights. We then selected a suitable entrepreneur for each new resort. This worked well in the smaller resorts, up to approximately 80 beds; but above that everything increases in size and the organisation had to be adapted accordingly.”

Every detail counts

“We wanted to establish and develop a strong and consistent brand,” continues Mark. “In recent years we have invested a lot in the organisation and operation, and we have entered into rental of a number of resorts in collaboration or in-house.” Both men noticed that this took a lot of time and energy and put extra pressure on the activities. Marc de Vocht: “The hotel industry is a 24/7 business. The guest is king and every detail counts. You must deliver top quality in all areas at the same time, guarantee continuity, and ensure everything works properly. We are perfectionists. The interests of (co)investors must also be assured.”

Given the strong growth in construction and development, the operation is growing and this is accompanied by “pressure” and responsibility. “As an entrepreneur in a healthy and rapidly growing company, you have to make considerations and choices in order to continue to maintain quality in all areas,” says Marc. Marc and Mark wondered whether splitting the company up or expanding it with a separate operating branch would be an idea. But their hearts both lay with development. Developing high-quality hotel concepts is what they are particularly good at, and above all what they like best. Marc: “We came to the conclusion that we eventually wanted to find a professional partner who could exploit and further expand the PURE label for us.”

Personal and professional click

In 2019, Mountain Residences had already been approached by a party with an interest in both the development company and the PURE Resorts label. Mark: “This forced us to think about it. Do we want to sell and why? And what do we actually want in the future?” Under the guidance of Marktlink partner Remon Lustenhouwer, the entrepreneurial duo entered into a discussion with the party. Marc: “Mark knew Remon as they studied together. But I felt an immediate personal and professional click. Marktlink mapped out our company, came up with a good deal, and also thought about whether the company suited us personally. Remon guided us throughout the entire process. In the end, it turned out the interested party was not a good match. However, the idea of a partial sale stuck in our heads.”

No intermediate route

Mountain Residences delivered a number of large new resorts in 2021, and a number of large projects were planned; as a result, PURE Resorts began to demand more and more energy and attention from the entrepreneurs. For Marc and Mark, this felt like the perfect moment to make agreements for the future. Marktlink therefore made a list of parties that could be of interest as a professional partner in the operation for Mountain Residences. Mark: “We made a selection together. The choices included Oasis Premium Resorts. They were already taking care of the operation and rental of PURE Resort Ehrwald, and therefore definitely had an advantage. The project with Marktlink offered us the opportunity to explore this further. Marktlink worked closely and objectively with us: who is this organisation? Can they handle the growth? Their role was indispensable in ensuring important agreements were laid out on paper and setting and monitoring our boundaries.”

“Selling a label is not your average thing to do, but Marktlink was able to determine the value of the brand flawlessly ”

– Mark Smits, Mountain Residences

“The communication at Marktlink is excellent, and they excel in providing guidance. You can tell they have a lot of experience,” says Marc. “And more important: nothing is ever too much. They took a lot of the work off our hands.” Mark adds: “They are also enterprising and think creatively in structures. Selling a label is not your average thing to do, but Marktlink was able to determine the value of the brand flawlessly.” Oasis turned out to be the right match. Marc: “In the past, they had also focused on development and operations. But we found one another because Oasis now wants to specialise in operations and we want to focus on development. They have officially owned the ‘PURE Resorts’ label and organisation since 1 December.”

Mutual trust

The fact that this deal in the travel industry took place during the corona crisis is special to say the least. Still, according to the men, the pandemic only had a minor impact. Marc: “The fact that the travel world came to a standstill was not due to the fact that people did not want to go on holiday, it was purely down to the travel restrictions.” Mark states: “This is why both we and Oasis had the confidence to go head-to-head with each other from the start. The structure of the deal takes account of the financial settlement. Fortunately, the transaction was completed before the end of the pandemic. As a result, we are ready for the future now travelling is allowed again.”

Rest and space for new steps

The men are now looking at the future with confidence and energy. “I will continue to focus on the finances and contractual matters, Marc on the locations and contacts with investors and concepts. As a result we can concentrate exclusively on developing new projects,” says Mark. “In addition, we have joined Oasis in an advisory capacity. This means we can stay involved. Knowing that all the processes are in the hands of professionals gives us peace of mind,” says Marc.

There are plenty of plans for Mountain Residences in the future. Mark: “We are going to complete two small-scale luxury boutique hotels in Lech. The construction of a new PURE Resort is being prepared in Serfaus. We are now also looking at Germany and the Netherlands. We definitely wouldn’t have had time for that if we hadn’t taken this step.” Marc concludes: “We can now be very selective in picking up the best projects to broaden our brand further. The focus is back.”

This story is just one of the numerous dealfiles published in the 15th edition of the Marktlink Magazine.

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