SocialFam ‘5 minutes’ with The Little Voyager, family travel agency

Xavi and Ilonka during one of many travels

Xavi and Ilonka during one of many travels

Thank you for joining us Ilonka. We are really interested to know more about
The Little Voyager travel agency

First, tell us where you guys are from and what brought you to Barcelona.

I was born and raised in Germany but have now lived in Barcelona for almost 19 years. I initially came here to study Spanish and fell in love with the city and so I started to study here and worked for many years in the event sector, organising corporate events and incentive travels.

I met my husband in 2006 and we have two wonderful children (2 and 5 years old) together. He is originally from Barcelona and works as a consultant which means he cannot always come along on our travel adventures. But when our "big voyager" manages to join, he loves our holidays as much as we do!

We think that The Little Voyager is a great idea (Family travel agency). Why did you set up the agency?
Thank you, I’m very glad you like the idea! The inspiration for The Little Voyager came when my son was a toddler and we went on one of our first trips as a family. We booked a so-called “child-friendly” apartment that looked beautiful on the website but when we arrived the reality was quite different. The bed was too small to co-sleep and a steep staircase was a constant danger to my son, who was just about to walk. We weren’t able to relax or re-charge our batteries at all, a holiday we’ll never forget, for all the wrong reasons!  Browsing the internet I found it really difficult to find beautiful and suitable places for parents traveling with small kids so my search for truly family-friendly hotels, guesthouses, villas and apartments began.

So how does The Little Voyager work and what differentiates you from other travel agencies?
I offer a very personalised and attentive service and my family and I personally visit every place I list, so that I can recommend these accommodation options with complete confidence and share my experience and tips with other families. Most of my clients call me to hear more about the accommodation they would like to book and I love having that personal contact with them. I remain their main contact before, during and after their holiday and am there for them for whatever they may need.

Last but not least, I charge no booking fee, so making a reservation through me costs families no more than if they browsed the internet for hours and booked direct with the owners or hotels. I do the legwork, so they don’t have to.
Currently I offer 28 different accommodation options in 10 different countries. I prefer to offer quality over quantity.

What challenges have you faced in starting your business and has having a family impacted the way that you work? 
After quite some initial work and struggle with the Spanish legal system on how to set up a company without having to invest too much money I wanted to finally launch the business but then just got pregnant with my daughter and had to reconsider the timing. The first year after she was born I did not actively look for any business as I did not want not to lose our precious time together. Working from home and having two small children is not always easy and my biggest challenge is to try and separate both which is almost impossible as I have to check on e-mails or calls constantly. My solution is to work as efficiently as possible when they are at nursery or when they sleep so that I can focus on them once they are home/awake! 

You are very active on social media, tell us how important that is from a 2018 business perspective
Social media is very important for my business and I really enjoy connecting with other parents and sharing our travel experiences with them. It is a great way to show your network who you are and what you stand for. I have had many enquiries thanks to social media. Instagram is my favourite, I find a lot of inspiration and interesting people there.

What is the future for The Little Voyager?
I have some exciting new travel destinations on my list for next year and some very promising collaborations coming up, which should help me to improve and strengthen my brand. At the same time I am currently brainstorming more interesting ideas which could change the course of my journey in the future …follow me to find out more!

Thank you so much and we look forward to seeing the growth.
Visit the The Little Voyager page here and Instagram here