My Life’s Work | Huw & Rossella Beaugié, Founders, The Thinking Traveller
In this regular series, we meet a Walpole member to discover what makes them tick, how they define success, and what keeps them awake at night. This week we meet Huw and Rossella Beaugié, founders and managing directors, The Thinking Traveller.
When we founded our luxury villa operator The Thinking Traveller back in 2002 it was a complete change for us. We were working in Paris when we met in 1998. I was an engineer, and Rossella a cell biologist. I’d always dreamt of starting a business, and it was during a holiday in Rossella’s native Sicily that we spotted an opportunity to raise the profile of that region amongst clients looking for quality accommodation and service. Since then we’ve expanded our award-winning brand of exclusive villas and class-beating service to several other Mediterranean destinations.
What does British luxury mean to you?
Sophistication, and an understated quest for perfection and new trends. And these are the words of an Italian!
What’s your vision for The Thinking Traveller?
To continue to grow, whilst continuing to develop the quality of everything we do so that our clients continue to tell us that they wish they never had to use another travel company.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Creating a brand that is recognised as a leader in its field by people in the know all over the world.
How do you define success?
When our clients return with us year after year and tell their friends to book with us too.
What’s your greatest extravagance?
Fabulous, adventurous holidays with our three children.
What do you like most about your job?
Meeting so many fascinating people.
Disappointing anybody by delivering below the high standards they expect.
What’s the smartest business idea you have ever had?
Our smartest business decision has been to work with our villas on an exclusive basis. If the villas were also available through other companies it would be impossible to control the quality.
What was your big break?
We wouldn’t say we’ve had a single big break. It’s been a long, steady stream of mini breaks and hard work.
What is your guiding principle?
Quality and honesty.
Which living person do you most admire?
We would never agree on that one, and there wouldn’t be just one person anyway.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Quality, exclusivity, luxury, “tidy up your room now”.
What keeps you awake at night?
The thought that clients and villa owners might not be completely happy with our work.
What do you most value in your friends?
In a parallel life, what would you be doing?
Huw: starting again knowing what I know now.
What piece of advice would you give someone entering the luxury industry now?
Decide exactly what product or service you want to offer, and focus on every detail of the delivery.