Ever since traveling on the tours led by her grandparents travel agency, Giselle’s Travel, Kristina has had a passion for travel, meeting new people and being part of an amazing and memorable experience.
During high-school, she began working in customer service positions – golf shop attendant at the Summit Hills Country Club, Hostess at TGI Fridays and Front Desk attendant at the Airport Hotel Marriot – during which time she was constantly complimented for her positive attitude and friendly demeanor.
During her studies at Seton Hall College in New Jersey, she continued to travel and meet new people, as well as discovered her love for Spain. After completing her Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Diplomacy, she found an editorial assistant position with Pearson Education, where she worked closely with her editor in all aspects of content, marketing, sales, administrative duties, event planning (for two large sales events in Las Vegas, NV and Ft Lauderdale, FL) and much more. However, she still longed for travel and finally moved to Barcelona, Spain in 2009 to get her certification as a teacher of English as a Second Language.
She completed the Cambridge CELTA at the top of her class and quickly found a job teaching at a school in Terrassa and then moved to another school in Barcelona. During the summer, she was fortunate to find a job managing a very busy bike tour and rental shop, Fat Tire Bike Tours, where she was able to manage all aspects of the shop – confirming reservations via email and telephone, processing payments online & in-person, creating guide schedules, paying salaries, ensuring bikes and shop were clean and maintained, and much more. She worked closely with the guides as well as clients to ensure everything ran smoothly, and it was then that she realized her love for working in tourism.
She also had a passion for Barcelona’s history and learned a lot from her guides, as well as read numerous books about the city, and eventually decided she also wanted to be a guide. It wasn’t possible to fully manage the shop and also be a guide, so she accepted an offer from a competitor (& friend) who owned a Dutch Bike Tour & Rental company, Budget Bikes, where she could work in the shops and would still have administrative duties (creating new tours for the company, training new guides, writing articles) and would also get to guide tours.
During this time she also met Lars, and began working with him operating GPS City Games and working with large educational and corporate groups coming to the city to not only play the game, but organize the rest of their visit as well (restaurants, hotels, transportation, etc). They also noticed that many of the groups were looking for a more ‘educational’ activity, so Lars & Kristina set out to create and develop Barcelona Trivia.
Lars wrote the code and developed the Android application for the game, and Kristina wrote the tour itself, which they continued to develop as a game that everyone enjoyed and which grew in popularity.
Around this time, Lars & Kristina also moved in together to a sunny, charming flat in the center of Barcelona’s Born neighborhood which had three bedrooms and a stunning view. Since they had two extra rooms, they decided to try out a ‘new’ website at the time, AirBnb, to invite travelers into their home, and maybe make some extra money.
Unsure of what this was going to entail or whether they would even like it, they invited the first guest into their home within a week of listing, and immediately felt they had a good friend visiting and were hooked.
They also loved how they could share their knowledge and experience of the city with people who were visiting, and enjoyed creating a memorable overall experience for travelers – including everything from attention to the details of the room and flat itself, to sitting down and finding out what they wanted to get out of the trip.
During this time they made some very good long-term friends, as well as solidified their love for hospitality and began thinking that they would enjoy running their own inn someday.
This seed was still growing when they moved to Davis, CA in 2013 and immediately began hosting through AirBnb again.
Kristina also began working at W.W. Norton publishing as the College Representative for the Northern CA territory. During this time she oversaw a vast territory and honed her efficiency and time management skills, became familiar with utilizing CRM systems, improved her ability to think quickly and pro-actively under high-stress situations, as well as problem solve quickly to address clients immediate needs, and much more. She also consistently increased territory revenue, volunteered in a peer mentoring program after her first year and was elected to the Leaders’ Council, a small group of successful college representatives who are asked to work with and advise the in-house department regarding changes in the market, as well as improve our strategies to be more efficient, productive and successful in their sales and marketing efforts.
Now, Kristina & Lars have decided that it’s time to pursue their true passion and finally begin managing an inn themselves!
They’re excited to be taking this step together and know that they will not only enjoy it immensely, but also look forward to learning more about the business, as well as bringing their own unique talents and expertise to wherever they end up – as well as, of course, continuing to provide special and memorable experiences for their guests!