Lars has always been driven and hard-working, as well as incredibly social and outgoing.
While he was attending university to get his degree in Management, Economics & Law, he also worked full time as a Truck Driver for a fresh food products delivery service, which often entailed long and unconventional hours.
After receiving his Bachelors, he was one of few people in the Netherlands selected to participate in a highly exclusive and competitive sales traineeship with the ING Bank. During this time, he spent eight months undergoing intensive education and training full-time, which allowed him to provide high-quality advice and assistance to clients regarding mortgages, pensions and insurance.
Towards the end of the traineeship, he was given a great opportunity to become a co-owner of one of the biggest real estate agencies in the region, AB Makelaars, which he immediately accepted.
He managed an entire downtown office with staff, where he was responsible for meeting with prospective clients, advising developers, providing appraisals for mortgage purposes, and generally overseeing the entire process of selling homes, or larger projects, from start to finish.
Additionally, Lars succeeded in selling a very unique project, which involved over 60 homes which were going to be converted from pre-WWII housing into modern living spaces, which he was able to sell in the poor original condition with little indication of what the finished product would look like. This was the first time this had ever been done in the Netherlands.
Later, once the recession hit in the Netherlands, he decided to step back in his responsibilities and became a manager.
Then in 2009, after a trip to Barcelona to visit his sister who was living there, he decided he wanted try living in the city and enjoy the sun and community that was there.
Once there, he immediately found a job working for Sell-By-Tel working in the HP IT-department and assisting Heineken employees with basic IT issues.
However, since assisting clients over the phone wasn’t a passion and since Lars has an entrepreneurial spirit, he began looking for other things he could be doing in Barcelona that would provide him more of a challenge and enjoyment.
He quickly discovered La Mosca, a Belgium based software company that wrote the code for Android-based games which individuals could purchase and utilize wherever they were. After purchasing nearly 10 smartphones and creating a website marketing his business – which he named GPS City Games - he immediately found clients.
The first client was a large festival in Israel, which flew him into the country to organize and coordinate the game for thousands of people, and provided him with a staff and support to do so. The event turned out to be a huge success, with GPS City Games being the main attraction.
From there out the games continued to grow in popularity, and Lars quickly needed to purchase more Android phones and find additional people to assist him with the execution of the games themselves.
He also decided to leave his job at Sell-by-Tel and supplemented his free time guiding tours for the Dutch bike rental & tour company, Budget Bikes, and then was also asked to work in the shops from time-to-time as well.
It was here that he met Kristina and asked her to help him out with some of the GPS City Games groups that were coming in, which she did enthusiastically.
It didn’t take long for them to realize they were a great team together. Their groups and clients loved them, and together they were able to expand the business, each having their own talents that complimented each other well.
Soon after they had expanded the website to offer more activities, assistance planning accommodations, restaurants, transportation, etc. Then, after receiving numerous requests for a more ‘educational’ activity in the city, they conceived of and created Barcelona Trivia – a GPS-enabled trivia tour throughout the old-city, which later expanded to include additional tasks and objectives.
In order to accomplish this, Lars had to teach himself how to write Android applications (since nothing like this currently existed) and Kristina wrote the text for the tour. The game turned out to be a huge success.
During all of this, Lars & Kristina had also moved in together to a beautiful flat in the city center, and decided to try out renting out their two extra rooms to guests visiting the city through AirBnB.
They had their first booking within one week, and had both rooms full for the remainder of the summer and fall, which continued through their entire time in Barcelona. They also quickly realized that their passion was definitely in tourism, working with visitors traveling to a new place and helping them to have the best experience possible while there, since at this time, they were running GPS City Games, leading tours and working in the shop, as well as coming home to tourists staying in their home in the evening – but they never tired of it.
Lars was also really great at getting the details right – from predicting guests needs while traveling, to ensuring he responded to every request or email nearly immediately – he was always attentive to guests’ needs.
In 2013, Lars & Kristina moved to California, where they immediately began hosting through AirBnb in Davis and began seriously considering the possibility that they would like to operate their own inn someday.
The idea continued to grow, and after briefly working for Apple providing language and quality control services, he decided to get back into tourism and found a job as an expedition leader for a large, popular tour company based out of San Francisco. Then, in order to help with the commute, Lars and Kristina moved to Berkeley.
As an expedition leader, he was not only required to learn the history of various destinations and be able to provide an engaging and informational tour, but he also needed to be able to do this while driving a commercial vehicle with over 40 people.
The company helped him get his commercial drivers’ license – which was easy since he’d already driven trucks during his time in university – and within a short amount of time, he was back working with tourists and given the opportunity to make their holiday more enjoyable.
Aside from loving the job and quickly learning all the tours they offered, he also frequently obtained ‘Top-Dog’ status within the company for receiving the most positive reviews from customers who’d taken his tour.
Finally, Lars and Kristina decided that they not only missed working together, but also wanted to finally pursue their dream to run an inn together!
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!