Founded in 2002 by Huw and Rossella Beaugié, The Thinking Traveller began with seven villas in Sicily. Today it has 220 highly curated properties, all 100% exclusively available to rent through The Thinking Traveller, including some of the most sought-after villas in the Mediterranean, such as the 16th Century former fortress Forte San Giorgio on the island of Capraia and the hilltop aristocratic Rocca delle Tre Contrada in Eastern Sicily. The business has been voted Condé Nast Traveller readers’ Best Villa Rental Company for the last five years running.
Sales grew to £20m in 2019 with the business currently covering seven destinations: Sicily, Puglia, The Greek Ionian and Sporades islands, Corsica, and the Minor Italian islands. Most recently The Thinking Traveller announced the expansion of its portfolio of destinations to Mallorca with a range of stunning and exclusive villas on the Balearic island.
Popular with multi-generational families, couples and groups of friends, the brand is renowned for its award-winning personal service and the expertise of its in-destination local managers. They provide clients with a 24-hour concierge service and a range of curated experiences to help make their holidays truly memorable, booking guided cultural tours and excursions, in-villa culinary experiences and chefs, yacht charters and yoga teachers. As a result, the company has an industry-leading client satisfaction Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 80.
The investment from Piper, the leading specialist investor in consumer brands, will help the business curate a broader selection of exclusive villas in new destinations around the Mediterranean through strategic acquisitions and partnerships and expand the brand further in its core markets including the UK, Europe, US and Australia.
Huw & Rossella Beaugie, co-founders of The Thinking Traveller said: ‘Over the past two years we have developed a close partnership with Piper who have consistently demonstrated how their expertise and advice can help propel our growth in the future. We have a number of strategic opportunities ahead and are delighted to have a partner alongside us who shares our values and ambitions for The Thinking Traveller’.
Dan Stern, Piper’s Investment Director, who led the deal, said: ‘We are very excited to be backing The Thinking Traveller team for the next stage of growth. Although the travel industry has been badly hit by Covid, our consumer insight work shows that people are more eager than ever to see new countries and experience new cultures. As a brand that is unrivalled in its satisfaction levels among both clients and villas owners, The Thinking Traveller is exceptionally placed to benefit from this pent-up demand as we emerge from the pandemic.’
Ian Simkins, former CEO of Audley Travel, which grew to a £300m business, will join the business as Executive Chairman.