Breaking News: Hyatt to Acquire Mr & Mrs Smith--Exclusive Quote from Tamara Lohan, Co-Founder + CEO
Love it when a female co-founder and CEO has a big win, certainly the case with today's announcement of the sale of Mr & Mrs Smith, a London-based direct booking platform offering access to a carefully curated and growing collection of over 1,500 boutique and luxury properties in some of the world’s most desirable locations. Hyatt will acquire 100 percent of the asset-light Mr & Mrs Smith for £53.0 million (around $66 million).
The deal is expected to close in June, and the planned acquisition of Mr & Mrs Smith will build on Hyatt’s leadership position in luxury and further strengthen Hyatt’s distribution capabilities, especially across Europe – through forging relationships with additional hotel owners and more than 1 million loyal Mr & Mrs Smith members.
Reflections on the Entrepreneurial Journey
On LinkedIn, Tamara Lohan, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr & Mrs Smith, reflected on how people doubted the concept, "20 years ago, James Lohan and I were told we were crazy – that the world didn’t need another travel guide, that we’d never find a distributor or make a success out of hotel curation if we insisted on such rigorous standards. Sending reviewer couples out to make sure each and every hotel was perfect? Nuts! They said."
We made it up as we went along, made plenty of mistakes, picked ourselves back up, and carried on.
And the struggles along the way of building the company, "Back then, we didn’t know how to publish a book, build a website or run a 24/7 travel team. We weren’t sure how to raise money or recruit a team of curators to seek out the very best hotels around the world. We made it up as we went along, made plenty of mistakes, picked ourselves back up, and carried on. There have been times when things have been very challenging indeed, but we’ve always been able to adapt and survive – and now those two decades of working, learning, and winging it have paid off."
By email, Tamara shared exclusively with hertelier, "For me, luxury is having the time and space to do something I wouldn’t do every day. It has to be memorable, perhaps a little bit indulgent, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant – it could be as simple as curling up by the fire after a day out walking. Checking into a special hotel should embody those feelings: whether it’s a celebratory weekend away, an impromptu ‘why not?’ trip, or the holiday of a lifetime."
For me, luxury is having the time and space to do something I wouldn’t do every day. It has to be memorable, perhaps a little bit indulgent, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant – it could be as simple as curling up by the fire after a day out walking. Checking into a special hotel should embody those feelings: whether it’s a celebratory weekend away, an impromptu ‘why not?’ trip, or the holiday of a lifetime.
How perfect that she created and built a business embodying this definition of luxury and with the sale to Hyatt, the company will continue to scale. She continued, "That such a heavyweight global business as Hyatt would see what we have built and want to take our brand and nurture it into its next stage is thrilling and unbelievable to me. I know that, under their stewardship, this business will get better and better – we share strong values, and both companies are strongly purpose-driven."
Continued Growth for Hyatt
The acquisition of Mr & Mrs Smith builds on a transformative growth period for Hyatt in the last 12 months, which included the recently completed acquisition of Dream Hotel Group’s lifestyle brand and management portfolio and the conversion of a portfolio of over 30 franchise agreements with Lindner Hotels & Resorts and me and all hotels, as well as substantial organic growth of Hyatt’s global portfolio. As a result of Hyatt’s expanded brand portfolio and ever-growing offering for every stay occasion, membership in the World of Hyatt loyalty program has more than tripled during the past five years.
“We are excited by this planned acquisition and to explore bringing guests and World of Hyatt members even more global luxury offerings across hundreds of geographies – including over 20 countries where there are currently no Hyatt hotels such as Fiji, Croatia, Iceland and Anguilla,” said Mark Vondrasek, chief commercial officer, Hyatt
Following the closing, Hyatt plans to unveil direct booking access to properties within the Mr & Mrs Smith platform through Hyatt’s distribution channels, including Hyatt.com and the World of Hyatt app. The anticipated move will have the potential to unlock access to more than twice the number of global boutique and luxury properties within Hyatt direct booking channels, and Hyatt is exploring ways to enable World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points across eligible hotels in the Mr & Mrs Smith collection.