Soho House, a private members' club network, plans to go public. The company submitted its S-1 filing for its IPO, which could value the company at up to $4 billion. Soho House will also be receiving a $770 million loan from Goldman Sachs ahead of the public offering.
What is Soho House?
Soho House is an international club network it describes as "a place for our diverse membership to connect, grow, have fun, and make an impact." Started in London in 1995, Soho House now has 27 Houses in 10 countries and plans to expand in Europe, Asia, and North America in the near future.
Soho House has been slowly building to this point. Founder Nick Jones opened the first location above his restaurant on Greek Street in London. That location above Cafe Boheme inspired Jones to turn it into a members' club for the regulars of the restaurant, who were local artists and actors.
Three years later, Jones launched Babington House, a Georgian manor on 18 acres in the countryside designed to create a relaxed getaway home for London members. Soho House then launched its second London house in 2002 and expanded into New York in 2003.
The company has continued to expand its brand, location, and offerings since. Soho House also has restaurants, studio spaces, event spaces, co-working spaces, theatres, and other amenities for its members.
An Eater article described what the "vibe" is like: "Visiting a Soho House club is like taking a trip to your ubercool aunt's place -- if she charged you for her (reportedly excellent) chocolate chip cookies. To create the spaces that thousands of people clamor to work, eat, and sit in, Soho House designers prize timeless comfort over contemporary trends."
Eater explained that Soho House is known for "its selective club membership policy. A membership committee, composed of club members, decides who is and isn't granted access to each specific club."
Soho House offers four different types of membership:
- Two types of "House" memberships that offer access to Soho Houses around the world, plus an under-27 membership
- "Cities Without Houses" membership for folks who don’t have a Soho House in their home city but want access when they travel
- The "Soho Friends" membership, which is essentially a “lite” version of the “House” membership
- A "Soho Works" membership gives access to Soho House co-working spaces
Soho House is a perfect case study on what many economists have pointed to as a microcosm of the K-shaped recovery we're facing, a recovery in which one part of the economy recovers quickly while other parts struggle and decline. In this case, wealthier people are trending further up. To this point, as a luxury membership and hospitality brand, Soho House is much better positioned than other hotel brands. Even though Soho House was forced to close many of its venues during the pandemic, the company reportedly saw just 10,000 of its 110,000 members cancel their memberships.
The Millionacres bottom line
Although the hospitality industry is reeling, luxury brands like Soho House seem to be holding their own. Hopefully, this initial bounceback for higher-end hospitality is a sign of things to come for the rest of the industry.