Gloria Molins is founder and CEO of experiential travel start-up Trip4real. Gloria speaks several languages and loves to travel the world, having lived in five different cities and travelled to all five continents. Gloria created the platform to connect travellers looking for extraordinary and tangible experiences, with local guides who provide a real sense of the destination and encapsulate its spirit. The start-up is committed to putting the experience back into travel, one trip at a time.
“…We are a team of 12 and ten of us are women! It isn’t on purpose, I swear! It’s just that when I am recruiting talent, I look for the best, and the most passionate people out there and in my case, the majority of the best candidates have been women. Even our founding CTO [Chief Technology Officer] is a woman! Imagine that…”
Gloria – you’re a truly global citizen. What first gave you the travel bug?
I have always loved to travel and study different languages. When I was a kid I spent time in Chicago which kick-started my love for experiencing a new place and culture. From then on I always looked for opportunities to study abroad, take jobs abroad, and meet new people from those distinct places.
I think everyone should take a sabbatical at some point in their life, and at Trip4real I want to encourage my team to do so. In the next year, we’ll start making it a reality! And we are going to begin taking work vacations too, so we can team build, and grow our brand while away from our desks at HQ. Maybe in a place like Berlin or Istanbul, where we can take advantage of being on the ground to launch a new city while we are at it!
How did you come up with the idea for Trip4real?
I am a wanderlust at heart 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 and discover the culture.
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. It’s a much more intimate way to travel and see the world! Try a Trip4real the next time you go exploring, I promise the experience will change your perspective and introduce you to a local world you never would have expected!
Can you tell us a bit more about what is meant by collaborative consumption / the sharing economy?
The idea of collaborative consumption is increasingly becoming more prevalent in the world of technology and the internet. It is a cultural and socioeconomic movement, empowering people to take part of local tourism economies to make money, while leaving a personal mark on the tourism sector.
It’s so much more positive than the old mass tourism model! There’s a hunger out there and the market is growing exponentially which is great for us! We play in this space by providing a platform for locals and travellers to connect and create meaningful, unique experiences like meeting a friendly Parisian for brunch and vintage shopping in Bastille, or seeing the sunset on board a classic sailboat in Lisbon with a Portuguese sailor.
Unlike a traditional tour, you won’t be with herds of people, it will be you and other like-minded travellers, looking to swap stories, and share a travel moment together, all with an unlikely guide. Trip4real is forging the path – people just don’t know that they can tour with locals. That’ll change soon. Businesses such as Airbnb and Uber are household names now – we envisage Trip4real having the same long term appeal.
There’s much talk about a shortage of women in tech, but you seem to be bucking the trend. How many women work at Trip4real and what are their roles?
We are a team of 12 and ten of us are women! It isn’t on purpose, I swear! It’s just that when I am recruiting talent, I look for the best, and the most passionate people out there and in my case, the majority of the best candidates have been women. Even our founding CTO [Chief Technology Officer] is a woman! Imagine that.
We’ll keep growing and diversity is our backbone, so expect more men to join the team soon, but in the meantime women definitely dominate, from marketing to PR to product and creative, we have a place in everything!
What makes the culture different to other tech companies?
Barcelona is a great city to grow a company like ours, the culture is inherently open and its multicultural residents are very receptive to innovation, so it’s a great city to start-up in.
I suppose Trip4real is a mix of Mediterranean heart and international ingenuity… and having a team from all over the world helps! I’d say we are different too because of our familial vibe, you wouldn’t want to be a part of our whatsapp group… We can chat for days!
What were the greatest challenges you faced starting the business?
Two years ago the peer to peer business wasn’t as understood as it is today, especially not in Spain, and we had to put a lot into explaining our mission as supporters of the ‘microeconomy’ and why we were a compliment to the tourism sector as opposed to a threat.
Whenever a new company enters the scene it’s typical for the old school players to get nervous and there aren’t so many regulations established to protect and support companies like ours so we are part of a group of start-ups and companies forging the path and making the industry bend to our business model.
People weren’t always familiar with the concept of experiential P2P [peer-to-peer] travel but that is changing! Trip4real is forging the path, people just don’t know that they can tour with locals. That’ll change soon.
What is your advice for women who want to set up a tech business?
I just wish there were more women in business, in travel, in tech and I have found myself in plenty of places where I’m the only female speaker. 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 trust the team I’ve created has everything under control.
Learning to delegate and trust the expertise of others is key, and hiring the best talent is non-negotiable!
You’re based in Barcelona. Where else do you plan to target?
I have a lot of hopes! I want to grow the community because I believe so much in the concept. We’ve just launched in London, Paris, Rome and Lisbon – next up will be Berlin and Amsterdam. We have our sights set on every major European city and beyond!
I feel the Trip4real concept will work in every location around the world. Soon we’ll have made it possible for everyone in the world to have unique, memorable and authentic experiences with locals when they travel.
What is next to grow the brand?
The Trip4real community has more than 20,000 travellers and locals and this is growing every day. Our bespoke experiences are offered in 55 Spanish cities and five European countries.
Our model for expansion is very 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 are also in talks with several major potential partners which is extremely exciting – watch this space for our next development, it will be super exciting with big partnership soon to be announced! That’s all I can say for now!