Investment: Multi-award winning villa brand, The Thinking Traveller

We are excited to have invested £7m into The Thinking Traveller, the world’s most thoughtful villa brand, backing founders and joint-CEOs Huw and Rossella Beaugié and their team in the next stage of growth. They will be joined as Executive Chairman by Ian Simkins, former CEO of Audley Travel, who helped to grow it into a £250m global business.

Founded in 2002 by Huw and Rossella Beaugié, The Thinking Traveller began with seven villas in Sicily. Today it has 220 highly curated properties priced at £3-£50k per week, all 100% exclusively available to rent through The Thinking Traveller. This includes 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 aristocratic hilltop Rocca delle Tre Contrade in Eastern Sicily.

Sales grew to £20m in 2019 with more than half of clients from outside the UK and especially popular with US travellers. The business currently covers seven destinations: Sicily, Puglia, The Greek Ionian and Sporades islands, Corsica, and the Minor Italian islands. Most recently The Thinking Traveller announced its expansion 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.

Having spent the last two years getting to know each other, we have been impressed by their obsession of seeing everything through the lens of their clients and villa owners. It is an obsession that we share wholeheartedly! Impressively, the company’s customer satisfaction NPS is 87, validated by the business being voted Condé Nast Traveller readers’ Best Villa Rental Company for the last five years running.

The team also impressed us with their understanding of the needs of their villa owners, many of whom had been with them exclusively for over ten years and half of whom had never rented out their villa with anyone else. Above all else, owners chose to partner with The Thinking Traveller because they were proud to be associated with a brand that attracts the highest calibre of clients.

Piper’s minority investment will see Huw and Rossella continue to run The Thinking Traveller, remaining joint CEOs and majority shareholders. Our investment will help the business curate a broader selection of exclusive villas in new destinations around the Mediterranean through strategic acquisitions and partnerships as well as marketing the brand further in its core markets including the UK, Europe the US and Australia, and scale the team to ensure clients and owners continue to experience excellent service and support.

The Thinking Traveller has a great opportunity to exploit a hugely fragmented property rental market, made up of a longtail of small destination-specific operators alongside bigger marketplace aggregators, to grow a highly-curated pan-European villa brand. Although the travel industry has been badly hit by Covid, the research we did with their clients showed that they are as eager as ever to travel with them. The Thinking Traveller’s combination of home comforts and five-star services are exactly what clients will look for as we emerge from the pandemic.

If you want to escape this miserable lockdown, we would highly recommend clicking here and browsing their beautiful website. Enjoy!