The history of a warm family business starts thirty-five years ago at a simple campsite on Lake Garda. Today, Vacanceselect is an internationally operating holiday provider. What has remained is that "personal touch", the hospitality with which we already welcomed our guests to that first Italian campsite.
In the summer of 1976, Loek van de Loo - founder of Vacanceselect, then sixteen - had a side job at an Italian campsite. After that summer, young Loek has one big dream; to own his own campsite. That dream became a reality in 1982, when Loek became co-owner of a new campsite in an olive grove on Lake Garda: Camping Weekend campsite.
Two years later, in 1984, Loek van de Loo started renting out holiday accommodation on Lake Garda. In addition to running the campsite, Loek created a booking office that grew rapidly and spread throughout Italy.
In the more than 30 years that followed, the company has grown to become an internationally operating organization. In May 2018, a takeover by the French company Vacalians was realized, after which the entire company will continue under the name Vacanceselect. Thanks to this new collaboration, Vacanceselect is growing into one of the largest European outdoor and camping organizations. Now more than thirty-five years after the very beginning, we as Vacanceselect have more than 31,000 accommodation options available at more than 1,200 top campsites and holiday parks in 16 European countries. All campsites and holiday parks with the same philosophy: first-rate hospitality.
30 years of Campingselection
Founder of Campingselection, Loek van de Loo, flowing entrepreneur which is in his blood. At just 12 years old he already had his own business with violins.
The roots of the company are very much located in Italy. Loek also married a Italian woman and immigrated to Italy in 1984 and laid the foundation for his company there. This is the story of a passionate entrepreneur who understands and is able to meet each guest's needs.
"In 1976 I was 16 years old and I went to Italy as a student to work at a campsite on Lake Garda. It was then my dream of owning my own campsite. And the atmosphere should be equally welcoming and lively as the space I was working. This all had something to do with the Dutch owner, my first boss. From the first meeting, I was a great admirer of him. To the delight of the guests, there was a lot animation. Through a megaphone, he announced every day in the pool, what activities were on the program. In the reception worked an Italian girl, Chicca. I helped her with English, German and Dutch, and she me with Italian. We fell in love, and I have now been married to her since.
"My dream of starting a campground in 1982 became reality. I borrowed money from my mother and bought a small campsite in an olive grove on Lake Garda. With my wife Chicca and our sons Alessandro and Leonardo lived with us and we worked during the summer at campsite. The winter was spent in the Netherlands where I am from. I bought some used some used mobile homes, which I rented out. I made 140 bookings for the first year. Every Friday I switched ads on Advertising pages of "Tele Graff" and the magazine "Kampioen" from the ANWB. On Saturday, the phone rang continuously and the whole family helped out"
"The biggest advantage was that I could be there for my guests directly at the campsite in the summer, which had previously booked by phone with me. I have always listened to my clients. I heard that coffee was wanted in the house, so each residence was equipped with a coffee maker. When our boys went to school, we moved. In Holland, I met regularly with a growing group of employees for Campingselection. Today I am only in Alkmaar once a month. We have offices in 12 countries and we rent more than 15,000 homes in 15 countries. Last year we had over 65,000 bookings - and I am very proud!"