Welcome to episode three in the latest season of How I Grew My Brand, the Piper podcast that digs in to the stories behind some of the UK’s most loved and successful brands, or as we call them at Piper, brand legends.
In this episode, we’re speaking to founders from one of our partner brands – Rossella and Huw Beaugié of exclusive Mediterranean villa rental brand, The Thinking Traveller.
Launched in 2002, they reveal that the long success of the brand comes from having a truly authentic purpose. After travelling in Rossella’s home country of Sicily, she and Huw returned to their jobs in rainy Paris and realised that they wanted to create a life where they could combine living and working in Sicily. They never set out to start a business together.
After twenty years, they admit that the difficulty isn’t working together but how you don’t work when you’re together! Every holiday they take ends up a scouting session. Even in a country they don’t operate out of, Rossella can’t help taking photos of hotel fittings and features that would look perfect in one of their villas.
Unlike other villa rental companies, The Thinking Traveller is so much more than a listings site. All of their villas are exclusive, meaning you can only find them via The Thinking Traveller. Going even further, many of them have been refurbished, restored and curated in partnership with Rossella and her team. Often villa owners will approach them with a property they have never rented out but has been in the family for generations.
The Thinking Traveller is the only keyholder to a collection of luxury villas and local experiences with soul. However luxury is not a word that they particularly like. In fact, Rossella takes pride that not all of their properties are glossy, many are unique beautifully restored traditional homes in the heart of communities. They understand that luxury mean something different to each person. Luxury could be an understated location where you can walk out of your gate onto the sand and swim in the ocean with nobody around, but it could also be sleek interiors and a stunning infinity pool. In all cases, it’s about the personalised, thoughtful service from locals who live and love their homes, that creates lasting memories.
Irrespective of the definition of luxury, Huw and Rossella talk about their passion for helping clients discover local communities. They invest in local people and work closely with The Conservation Collective and Sicily Environment Fund to protect the places that the business relies on and that are increasingly being affected by global warming.
With all this thoughtfulness, it’s no wonder the founders have grown the brand so successfully for twenty years. In the full podcast you can learn more from Huw and Rossella about how they survived the travel industry shutting down in Covid through the strength of their team and loyalty of their clients, and how they have been voted Best Villa Rental Company in the World at Condé Nast Traveller ’s Readers’ Choice Awards 8 years in a row, (one more again since we recorded!).
And now that the clocks have gone back and the evenings are getting dark and dreary, it’s time to book a holiday in the sunshine. We are sure you can find your perfect get away here…