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The Thinking Traveller announces global brand redesign

UK: The Thinking Traveller has announced a global brand redesign that will reposition the London-based firm as a ‘keyholder to places with soul’, and no longer as a ‘villa rental company’.

In a bid to “be different and set themselves apart from an overcrowded and monotonous market”, The Thinking Traveller worked to create an inspiring ‘window’ for clients in which to showcase its villas and unique way of working. Unlike most villa rental companies, which share portfolios, The Thinking Traveller says that its collection is “truly exclusive” and only available through them, with guests being supported by local experts throughout their stay.

With the input of brand design studio Without, The Thinking Traveller observed that its key asset of genuinely ‘exclusive’ Mediterranean villas was being interpreted simply as a byword for ‘luxury’, and was getting lost in “a generic, functional market dominated by a sea of infinity pools”. In an era where luxury is increasingly defined by unique experiences [rather than material goods], The Thinking Traveller said that it had chosen to “replace function with emotion; sweeping luxury statements with real stories of people and place”.

One such company story includes as part of the brand redesign:

“A house in the clouds.

A gate to the sea.

The vase by a local artist. That little-known piazza.

The Thinking Traveller is a luxury villa rental company inspired by places with a soul: individual in design, connected to location and community.

We’re the only keyholders to this family of unique houses in special locations.

Until we hand the key to you.”

The brand refresh aims to redefine special places in language far removed from “estate-agent speak of ‘exclusive villas'” – a ‘stunning penthouse’ became ‘The House in the Clouds’ while ‘a villa with stunning views’ became ‘The House with the Church Bells Playlist’.

Working with photographer Lavina Cernau, The Thinking Traveller’s archive of villa photography was complemented with new work that emphasised the emotion of escaping to special places: from human interaction and idiosyncratic details within the villas, to romantic, sensual evocations of the destination beyond.

Elena Fotiadi, head of brand and partnerships, The Thinking Traveller, said: “This redesign finds and articulates our point of difference – our soul – in a beautiful and emotive way. Whilst streamlining the layout of our website to offer clients a more seamless experience, it also reaffirms our mission in an increasingly homogenous market.

“It has proven to be the perfect way to celebrate our 20th anniversary as we continue to inspire tomorrow’s luxury traveller,” she added.

Roly Grant, creative director, Without, said: “The Thinking Traveller know and love the places they travel to unlike any other villa company. Uncovering the real stories – from the founders renting diving gear to clear rubbish from the sea, to the family history at a villa like Don Arcangelo all’Olmo – inspired a language that’s more emotional, specific and immersed than the rest of their category.”

The global brand redesign is rolling out from May across Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Founded in 2002, The Thinking Traveller operates villa rental properties in European destinations such as Sicily, Puglia, The Greek Ionian and Sporades islands, Corsica, the Minor Italian islands, and the Balearic Island of Mallorca.

In December, the brand named former Corbin & King managing director Zuleika Fennell as its new CEO, with founders Huw and Rossella Beaugié stepping back but remaining involved with the business.