trip4real is a p2p* platform offering a unique service to travellers and local residents in a number of major European cities. Long gone are the days of enduring a prepackaged excursion courtesy of your friendly tour operater.
Founder and CEO Gloria Molins herself an avid traveller is well placed to have launched such a business. Over a decade Gloria has travelled across Europe, Asia, Africa and America. On her return home to Barcelona she seized the opportunity to offer travellers a real experience of the city with real people, local people.
January 2015 saw the expansion of trip4real to London and Gloria has kindly agreed to answer some questions. Who knows, maybe after reading this article you may consider becoming a local, certainly sounds like fun!
1. What do you enjoy most when developing new ideas?
I love that moment when you are brainstorming and every idea counts, where it is not allowed to criticize or give negative feedback and everyone is just saying amazing, big, crazy things and thinking outside the box! That moment when dreams turn into big thinking, when you start to visualize it and everything is possible!
2. Were you inspired to create an online p2p platform from personal experience?
I have always travelled a lot, and I’ve always felt very entrepreneurial so it made sense to combine these two elements into a business concept! I think the most magical moment when you travel is connecting with a local who can take you somewhere unknown. That’s when you really get to know a place. I decided to create trip4real as a way for travellers and locals to have a community to connect and discover the underbelly of a city together.
3. Has the growth of the company met with your expectations?
We are very pleased with the amount of growth that we have experienced since launching in 2013. We are already selling activities in the UK which is incredible considering we haven’t done any marketing or PR until now. Since launching in January we have over 100 activities on our site running the gamut from a supper club in a Michelin-trained chef’s home to visiting the National Gallery with an artist for an afternoon of sketching and we are on the hunt for many more! The best is when our locals and travellers write to us and tell us how trip4real is providing a bridge to new friendships and cultures. We love to hear about all of the amazing histories behind the scenes!
4. trip4real is available in five major European cities. Do you have a blanket approach towards recruiting locals or is it tailored to the specific location or culture?
The trip4real community has more than 22,000 locals and travellers and this is growing every day. Our p2p experiences are offered in 55 Spanish cities and five European countries. Our model for expansion is simple, we work with city managers and ambassadors in new cities to lay the framework and enlist the first 100 to 500 activities. Once our team completes the quality and validation process we go live! We have our eyes set on all the major European cities with Amsterdam and Berlin soon to lead the way.
5. Do you foresee any changes to your business model to accommodate developments within the industry?
We are disrupting the tourism economy by empowering local residents to take part in the travel eco system and we are making it possible for travellers to experience new places through the perspective of a local – it’s experiential travel and we will continue to improve our platform to provide the best service. Like any business operating in this new ‘sharing economy’ there are frontiers that still need to be explored, and we are ready to evolve and adapt as need be to keep up with local trends and legislations.
6. What does the future hold for trip4real?
I have a lot of hopes! I want to grow the community because I believe so much in the concept. I want it to become a positive impact for everyone who wants to travel as well as for the local communities! I hope that people will say: “Let’s go on a trip4real” – meaning authentic, experiential, off-beat and unique experiences with locals. We are making travellers happy and helping locals earn some money along the way. I hope we continue on that path and grow our community across Europe and attract travellers from all over the world. Once people discover us, they tell us it’s impossible to go back to the old way of travelling like a tourist!
7. Many entrepreneurs mention social pressure from friends and family who don’t understand their journey. What advice would you give to anybody launching a start -up?
I would say in my first two years with trip4real I had to give 150% and it was crazy but as time goes on and we grow, I get to relax a bit and return to normal. Thankfully! I’m super positive so I try and see everything optimistically. I’ve found that even mistakes can have some good side effects! I don’t want to look back on decisions, I want to keep looking forward. In every failure, there’s the opportunity to learn which is really important for a start-up. It’s really enriching to work with a team like mine, we celebrate the little achievements just as much as the big ones and then the day after, we say ok, “time to get back to work!” I would tell future entrepreneurs out there to follow their passion, recruit the best talent to execute the vision, and maintain a positive and forward thinking attitude at all costs!
8. How do you market and promote the platform?
The majority of our marketing strategy is organic, in Spain it helped to have Ferran Adria as one of our top investors since he is so well known and he led a campaign in Spain calling for one thousand new micro entrepreneurs to sign up and become locals on our site. Making good relationships with other brands and start-ups has impacted our success as well, for example last year we partnered with Airbnb Barcelona. There’s so much power in word of mouth marketing and reviews and in the end our greatest advocates are the people who have travelled with us!
9. If you had the opportunity to launch a start-up in a completely different industry, what would it be and why?
Great question! To be honest I am absolutely in love with the tourism sector; travelling, the tours and activities market where I am now, so it is hard for me… However if I had to change industry I would probably go into entertainment or health and it would definitely be starting directly from mobile! Entertainment because I think great moments are always better than material things and with the rise of mobile there is still lots to explore. Wellbeing is an industry I love and I would be really passionate about helping people live a better, happy or healthier life! In parallel to all of this, including the start-up I have now, I’ve always been devoted to helping women around the world having the same opportunities women in rich countries have!
For further information please visit: www.trip4real.com
*Person to person