A Story of enabling co-creativity

  With Gloria Andersson

Gloria´s exciting story has the creativity skill as signature, since she was a little girl.

I only remember myself as being creative. From imagining (and writing, but never published) a whole sailing adventure novel for kids, around 1994 to starting the travel agency, Experience Transylvania in 2012, which is still rolling.

One of Gloria´s insights regarding the moments her creativity blooms the most relates to her humble attitude welcoming advice and feedback with gratitude.

It is difficult to put the finger on an exact moment. Maybe there is no big revelation moment at all, I think it is more like gradual moments generating one another and leading to growing creativity.

Working hard helped a lot in realizing how to deal with my customers and how to manage contacts to create business opportunities. Every day, handling the situations for creating better travel experiences for my guests, I realize how creative one becomes when being concretely involved in the everyday customer contact.

Still, I can name some moments that I am very grateful for, that aren’t because of my creativity, but thanks to people in my life who really cared about me and my business that gave me good advice, advice which I inspired me enough to transform into action.

Which moments do you remember getting advice or feedback that kicked off your creativity and action?

One such moment is when both my mother and my grandmother recommended to apply my knowledge from the tourism industry to create tours to my own home country and my region, Transylvania.

Another great moment I am thankful for is when I met my mentor, who run a successful travel agency, and from mentorship, we got into business and into a fantastic friendship.

A relevant moment in my life where creativity and opportunity kicked off was for 10 years ago, when I got married with my husband Peter.

We had a total of 200 wedding guests, of which 50-60 from Sweden, Finland, France, Spain, Austria. Many of them had never been to Romania or Transylvania before.

They wanted to take the opportunity to visit the country as well and they took several days off to travel around after our wedding.

We helped them with booking hotels, with tips and itineraries. Then the idea popped up that we simply had to start a travel agency to market Transylvania as a destination, this place needed to be discovered by more people!

Together with my sister, who was also my wedding planner, I applied my knowledge and experience to start our travel agency.

So, the conclusion is that my wedding in Transylvania founded both a family and a company at the same time.

Finally, recently when my husband gave me the idea to post our virtual tours on Airbnb, a whole new world opened for us. 

Gloria´s journey as entrepreneur started as a learning process from all procedures she learned from her mentors, colleagues, and previous work experience as a cruise manager on river ships. Today, her remarkable capacity to re-create and adapt to challenges can be seen with her deep reflections about the current situation and positive mindset.

The most important learnings came from my customers, while serving them. The dream came true only partially for now because the dream grows with every day a new booking request is made.

I try to not make a fuss about things that I cannot control. I try to focus on what I can do. That is why I avoid complaining about the pandemic, about the loss of income, about all things that are quite abstract.

How are you trying to adjust to the reality of the pandemic and how are you planning after the pandemic?

Now it is time to also think long term. Online experiences are fun, and they do put us in touch with wonderful people. However, we need to plan for a changed travel pattern, and for different travel routines than those we are used to, as with a more complex checklist, and process to even get out of the door. But I am ready, and so are my colleagues.

What would be your three recommendations to adjust to challenging changes?

  1. Focus only on what you can do about a situation that is beyond your control. Do not overwhelm yourself with ”macro” suppositions and angriness on state authorities, on restrictions of whatever kind. Instead, think ”micro”: what can I do inside of my family/house/company to make this better?
  2. Do not overthink and over plan. Try instead to take little steps, but tangible ones.
  3. Always ask your loved ones (family, friends) for a second opinion. But be selective of that, too.

What is your next step?

My next step is making it safe for my customers to travel to my wonderful destinations: Transylvania, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, hopefully soon even Serbia and Montenegro, as well as other destinations outside the EU.

Currently we try to be realistic of what travels can be done without risks. But we want to be prepared too, making sure everything is safe and smooth for our customers to enjoy a trip with us.

In the meantime, together with my family, we are restoring a wonderful interbelic house in Transylvania, heritage from my great grandfather, who fought in WW1.

We intend to transform it into a peaceful retreat of cultural relaxation. This is the most exciting project I think I am part of, after starting our company.

You can follow Gloria´s journey via: