Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Soho House Founder to Retire From CEO Role; Company Cutting Back Growth Ambitions

2 months ago

Nick Jones said on Wednesday that he would step down from being CEO of Membership Collective Group nearly three decades since he founded the original Soho House that eventually led to the creation of the public company and owner of the Soho House chain.

Andrew Carnie, president of Membership Collective Group, will succeed Jones as CEO.

Jones battled prostate cancer earlier this year successfully but said he now wants a change of life priorities.

On Wednesday the company cut its guidance for this year’s adjusted earnings from between $70 million and $80 million to between $55 million and $60 million. The company also said it would scale back on its growth ambitions by cutting costs across all its operations, refocusing the business back to its core of Soho House properties vs other extensions such as Ned, Scorpios, its digital memberships, and most importantly cutting back on plans to open nine properties this year to instead only opening between five and seven, including delaying planned venues in Mexico City and Bangkok until next year. It is also cutting down its in-house digital content unit by 40 percent, it said.

More on its cuts, from its earnings call: ” To give members the best possible experience and to ensure reduced pressure on the organization, we are returning to our previous target of five to seven new houses a year, and this is in line with our already signed pipeline for the next three years. At the same time, our cities at houses offer will continue to provide a clear path for longer-term growth at a minimal expense to the company. As part of prioritizing the right investments for our business and our members, we are no longer pursuing the external digital membership…We are reducing our in-house operating expenses. Post COVID, we rush to get all our houses open as quickly as possible in the manner we were used to operating them. In addition, it was a tough and unpredictable labor market, which means our costs increased significantly. What we’ve learned is our members are using our houses just as much, but at different times, so we’re adjusting our cost base accordingly….we’re refocusing our G&A with targeted reductions on content, digital and other corporate expenses, without impacting the member experience. For example, we are reducing our editorial content spend by about 40% going forward. We can raise prices, but the real opportunity is to run a more efficient business.”

The group went public in 2021. Its shares lost about two-thirds of their value this year after the company’s post-pandemic recovery ran up against the pressure of inflation, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, and sudden layoffs in the tech sector.

In the third quarter, revenues at Membership Collective rose 48 percent to $266 million, while the company’s net losses widened from $77 million to $91.7 million. Its net debt rose from $326.2 million to $462.6 million.

The news of the company scaling back its growth trajectory helped to send Membership Collective shares down by roughly 18 percent.

The company owns dozens of Soho House clubs, plus The Ned hotel in London and New York, and the Scorpios beach club in Greece.

Travel Booking

Hapi Travel Launches Subscription Service for the U.S. Market

5 months ago

Subscription travel platform Hapi Travel Destinations has launched in the U.S.

More brands are building paid travel subscriptions, powered by shifts in traveler priorities and work-life flexibility, but Hapi Travel also wants to expand by offering “additional income in the new gig economy.”

A subsidiary of direct-sell specialist Sharing Services Global Corporation, it plans to add more “promoters” and says it lets users earn points when they book a vacation for their next trip, but also earn them when they refer other people.

It also claims to offer travel savings, which come at a cost: its Explorer subscription involves a basic monthly membership fee of $50 a month, while its Elite+ package costs $2,500 to join, and then $244 a year.

It offers discounts on hotels, resorts, cruises and condos, as well as car rentals, activities, flights and shopping, leveraging its direct-sell business.

“This new and unique membership-based travel club is designed for everyone to enjoy maximum savings and travel perks on the most luxurious vacation getaways throughout the world or save money on ordinary daily personal or corporate travel,” said John Thatch, CEO of Sharing Services Global Corporation.

In July, membership-focused travel tech firm Mondee went public. It mainly offers cloud-based tools to so-called “gig travel agents,” a category of independent workers it claims is growing. But the 1,000-employee company also offers direct-to-consumer subscription travel sales, rewards-based business travel programs, wholesaling services, and other offerings.

Hotels

Soho House Parent Touts Waitlist and Retention Rates at Pre-Pandemic Level

5 months ago

The company behind Soho House remains on track to meet its forecasted membership targets while opening nine properties this year. Membership Collective Group, which runs 36 Soho House venues, said it had 142,250 members for Soho House.

The company generated revenues of $243 million in the 13 weeks ending July 3. It has never made a profit, but in good news, it produced $15.3 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization — a sign that net profit may be in the offing.

Investors punished stock shares of Membership Collective Group, however, after it announced that it would trim its revenue and adjusted earnings forecast for the year. The stock closed down 16 percent by the day’s close.

To offset inflation, the company has been boosting prices. But that hasn’t deterred interest. Retention has stayed at about 95 percent. The company had a record waitlist of about 82,000.

In June, the company brought its Ned brand to the NoMad district of New York, where it has welcomed about 700 members.

The earnings presentation is embedded below.

Meetings

Soho House Membership Revenues Keep Strong Growth

8 months ago

Membership Collective Group is best known for its Soho House member’s clubs and being unprofitable for decades. The company reported earnings on Wednesday, continuing its unprofitable streak.

But Soho house membership grew 17.6 percent to 130,919, year-over-year. The waiting list to join is at an all-time high.

Our promising revenue growth in the quarter was led by rising membership numbers and increased demand at our existing Houses, which accelerated in February and March and grew in-house revenues by over 400% vs. the same period in 2021”, said Nick Jones, Founder and CEO of MCG.

Above, a good overview of its business progress this last quarter, above, from the earnings presentation.

It plans to add nine new Soho Houses this year:

Read the Soho House parent company results

Hotels

Soho House to Launch Digital Membership

9 months ago

Private membership club Soho House aims to debut a digital membership for people to get to network and otherwise get to know one another before meeting at one of its properties.

Soho House founder Nick Jones confirmed that tidbit this week, according to Hospitality Insights.

“Lots of businesses, friendships, relationships have been created by a Soho House in a city. It’s only natural that we want to do that digitally as well. We want to become properly hybrid so members can digitally connect before physically meeting in one of the Houses,” said Jones, who spoke at the International Hospitality Investment Forum in Berlin on Thursday.

Jones also said Soho House would reverse its net losses into net profits in the near future.

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