1. How did you end up working in the tourism industry?
I got my degree in Philosophy and then travelled to Germany to perfect my German skills. To get my costs covered I started working as an escort guide in the area. After the first season visiting Germany, Austria, Poland, Czeck Republic and more, it was clear to me that it was exactly that what I loved to do for the rest of my life: visiting countries and getting to know interesting people.
2. What inspired you to start this company?
After being employed almost 10 years in both small and big tour operators, I thought there was still plenty of things to be done differently and I was still young enough to try them…
3. Describe your first sale/customer.
Six months after the launch of my first web, we had not received the first customer. One day the telephone rang and a voice at the other side of the line requested a trip to Rome. That was not any of the destinations we had listed in our portfolio, so I thought it was any of my friends trying to pull my leg: I was almost rude to the gentleman, but to my surprise he ended up giving me his credit card details! You cannot imagine my excitation when the machine hit almost 2.000 EUR…
4. What was your first tour like – and what has changed compared to your most recent?
At the beginning it was just a question of adding more and more pins on a map. Trying to cover as many sights as possible, getting to any possible corner in each city was the goal. With the time, my tours just try to concentrate in special moments that make you feel something different: it might be simply sitting in a café looking people go by, or learning how a Spanish guitar is hand made during hours.
5. What part of the company are you most proud of and why?
The quite unique experiences we provide, all of them being authentic expressions of the Spanish soul. Be it a tapas tour or an insider Holy Easter excursion, they all depict a complete image of our country and our travellers get very much involved in what they learn.
6. What do you feel sets your company apart from other DMC’s?
We treat everyone the same way: as persons. It means that we dedicate the time, the effort and the patience to understand their exact needs so that we can perform very much the way they would expect. I personally meet many of my travellers when they are in Madrid and love to sit for a while with them. I am still curious enough to get personally involved in their trips and tastes, so many times I end up joining them for a quick coffee or glass of wine.
7. What does a standard working day look like for you?
I live quite in the old town in Madrid, so in the morning I visit some hotels or locals, see some customers. I reach office, review mails and do paper work. Have lunch with my staff, get feedback from them about day-by-day issues, and extinguish any fires… Evenings are my planning time, when I think of any future projects or try to get new ideas.
8. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My phone ringing? 🙂
9. What keeps you up at night?
I’m a late owl, so its very common to see me work from home until midnight or more…
10. What other CEO’s do you look up to and why?
I have never been a fan of anyone or anything. Likewise I have always admired those who talk about their favourite book or film… I have nothing of that. When I started my own company, I never checked what the others were doing, so today I am still concentrated in my own things.
11. where do you see the company in 5 years?
I think we still have some field to grow, so I see us achieve that in the next 2-3 years. Once we get the muscle we are looking for, we will settle and concentrate in doing our operations even better year after year. We try to be a boutique concierge company, so it is not in the plans to count the travellers in so many thousands