About this episode

Tamara Lohan MBE says even amid the lockdowns and restrictions of the past year, she couldn’t think of a world without travel and the possibilities it brings to discover different cultures. But the Mr & Mrs Smith founder and CEO believes the pandemic is an opportunity to reset and make the industry fit for the future: “I think we can learn from this to travel in a better way, in a way that is kinder to the planet and kinder to ourselves as well.”

Today, Mr & Mrs Smith is a brand synonymous with luxury and comfort. But this tech-driven travel club began life as a book sensation that took hotel lovers and industry experts by storm. Tamara shares her founding journey alongside husband and business partner James, from the ‘Great Escape’ that inspired the guide book, to its pivot to a technology platform, to adapting to a new and uncertain world in 2020.

Tamara Lohan MBE

Tamara Lohan is an entrepreneur and technology strategist who co-founded the boutique hotel travel specialists Mr & Mrs Smith with her husband James. As CTO, Tamara was responsible for evolving the company’s digital infrastructure. She became CEO of the company in 2020. Today, Mr and Mrs Smith operates from offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore and Ibiza and has more than 1.5 million members world-wide. In 2014, Lohan was awarded an MBE for services to the British travel industry.

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Scrapbook

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Tamara co-founded the boutique hotel travel specialists Mr & Mrs Smith with her husband James in 2002

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In 2014 Tamara was awarded an MBE for services to the British travel industry

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Mr & Mrs Smith has over 1.5 million members world-wide

Lockdown scrapbook

WHAT IS A BOOK THAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

100 Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I read this in my late teens and knew I had to explore South America. It led me to spend a year in Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, to study South American literature at university and I still feel a draw to that part of the world.

Book 2
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WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING IN LOCKDOWN?

Lots and lots of nature, rewilding programmes, David Attenborough’s Witness statement, The Biggest Little Farm and as a family we love Ed Stafford’s First Man Out.

WHAT IS YOUR LOCKDOWN SOUNDTRACK?

Feel Like I do – Disclosure Al Green – just a really cool toe tapping remix of the great Al Green that I’ve only recently discovered; Lonely – Dim Zach – discoey vibe that’s actually really uplifting despite its lockdown title; Blinding Lights – Weeknd – it’s just so damn catchy; Greentea Peng – Hum Man – thought provoking lyrics for the times we live in and Wish I didn’t miss you – Angie Stone classic for all my friends!

Have a listen to the Change Makers Lockdown Playlist here

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IN ONE SENTENCE, DESCRIBE YOUR NEW NORMAL.

Changing plans continuously!

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?

I think in these times this has to be my team at Smith. What they have managed to achieve and overcome over the last few months is incredible and they inspire me every day to keep fighting and to do better.

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WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIP FOR LIFE ?

Celebrate the highs and know you’ll always get through the lows.

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