In a recent poll, consumers in the US were asked to define what British brands stand for and the most frequent answer given was “quality”. Quality is at the core of what we do.’ Huw Beaugié is talking about The Thinking Traveller, the company he founded with his Sicilian wife, Rossella, back in 2002. Voted the world’s number one villa rental company four years in a row by readers of Condé Nast Traveller, the brand offers exclusive access to the most desirable rental properties in Sicily, Puglia, the Ionian and the Sporades Islands and Corsica.
Properties are exclusive to The Thinking Traveller, meaning you will not be able to book them through anyone else, which allows its local concierges to work with villa owners to ensure that when clients check in, everything is perfect. So if quality is truly the definition of a British brand then this, coupled with unrivalled local knowledge and expert personal service, indicates a company that is very British indeed.
Britishness is also about inclusivity, diversity and open-mindedness. Our clients come from over 90 countries
‘Britishness is also about inclusivity, diversity and open-mindedness,’ says Huw. ‘Our clients come from over 90 countries, while our team is a truly multicultural crowd who hail from all over the world, from New Zealand to Russia, South America to South Africa. So this year we’ll be celebrating our Britishness by continuing to embrace our international DNA.’
For The Thinking Traveller 2020 will also be about continuing to develop the ecologically sustainable side of the business. Villa holidays are an inherently sustainable form of tourism, particularly if those villas have solar panels for hot water and electricity, LED lighting and organic kitchen gardens, orchards and olive groves, as many of The Thinking Traveller’s villas do.
Huw says: ‘We invest in local economies, as do our clients who stay in small, off-the-beaten-track communities; we participate in conservation projects – we are, for example, a partner of the Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund – and we raise awareness of the cultural and socio-historic aspects of our destinations. We are also doing our bit in our London and New York offices, where we have initiated several projects aimed at reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible.’
There’s no doubt that this is a brand with many reasons to be cheerful about the future. ‘The strong reputation of The Thinking Traveller, built over years of careful investment and sustainable growth, is allowing us to move ahead with optimism in these uncertain times,’ says Huw.
Finally, the company will be continuing to embrace the trend for unique, tailor-made holidays with world class-leaders in their fields, such as culinary weeks with Michelin-starred chefs, photography courses and luxury wellness retreats, with other exciting partnerships in the pipeline for 2020.