LONDONERS James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy got the idea for their online hotel directory business after enduring a night in a dud hotel.
They resolved never to let it happen again and set about finding hotels that they liked and knew like-minded people would enjoy. They could be different, boutique, even quirky, and able to deliver a memorable experience for the right reasons.
Today their site, Mr & Mrs Smith, attracts 350,000 visitors a month and the glossy accommodation guide books they've published are best sellers.
Mr & Mrs Smith launched a dedicated Australian section last week.
Former Lonely Planet publisher Simon Westcott has gone into partnership with the couple to develop an Australian-New Zealand arm to the site.
Westcott, who helped drive Lonely Planet into the online era, says the site differs from other hotel directories in a number of ways.
"Hotels have to be invited to join," he says. "We have a very strict criteria of what we want."
Like in London, Westcott has a team of reviewers in place. Smith's spies are savvy and sassy well-travelled people who check out the hotel anonymously. (The "Mr and Mrs Smith" comes from the pseudonym often used by couples needing to cover their tracks.)
"We ask them to look for that added extra that will make the difference, so we can tell you not only that the hotel has a fantastic restaurant but which is the best table in that restaurant. It's that level of detail that makes the difference."
Westcott is also using a team of celebrity reviewers whose reviews will appear under their own names, including chefs Neil Perry, Christine Manfield and Andrew McConnell, as well as television personalities Chris Brown and Sigrid Thornton.
The site guarantees best rates and teams with various other travel-related companies to offer special deals.
Westcott says the site is not just about luxury products.