This week we want to introduce you Raquel Consul, the co-founder and CEO of Lifestyle Experience Group. We are proud to present one of our team members and let you know a little bit more about us and what we do.
How did you come out with the idea to set up the business?
It was a bit random. My partner and I were having a lot of friends coming to visit us from other parts of Spain and United Kingdom. They all wanted to do something that locals do, something special to bring home with them. Because of the language barrier it was hard for them and there was not that much internet 15 years ago. We were helping them and now we help the others, as well.
What do you like the most about your work?
I am a control freak. At work, we build puzzles, get all the pieces together. For me, everything has to be perfect – perfect itinerary, logistics, timing etc. It is stressful but I get my joy from it.
LifestyleDMC has been operating for more than 10 years and when I asked Raquel about her greatest accomplishment, she needed time to think. “In 2010 we had a company from Poland that was let down by another DMC. They came to us and we had only few hours to put the proposal for 60 people for five days together. At the end, everything went well and the client was happy. I think that was a breaking point. I felt like if I can do that, I can do anything. I got pushed to the limits but overcame the challenge.”
I asked Raquel if she made some mistakes during these years and a well-known fact came out– you learn from your mistakes. “The biggest mistake was that we didn´t say “no” to some of the offers. We had opportunities that were really appealing and we put resources in them. We were doing things apart from our business and the main business suffered. Later, we realized that we have to analyze things and if they are not profitable, we don´t do them.
How do you stay motivated?
We grew, we shrank and now we are growing again. It was hard to stay motivated when the crisis hit but when we compared ourselves to other companies we understood that it could be worse. We should not only share the bad experiences but also the good ones. We need each other (providers, hotels, restaurants) to keep growing and having clients. In general, getting positive feedback is what motivates me. When we get complains, I take them personally. I don’t want them and that’s why I perform as best as I can.
The industry is changing all the time, competition gets harder. How has Raquel experienced the changes?
Individuals have different trends. Before it was driving cars, then water sports, and now everyone is doing scuba diving. With corporate clients it is more complex. Before, the events were booked years in advance and they had bigger budgets. Now, even though they are not doing that great, they still need incentives, conferences, and team buildings. We just don´t have the same amount of hours or money to prepare everything. Companies are also having objectives for their events nowadays. It can be team building, motivating the personnel, increasing the sales…
Our clients want to see the service they pay for. They are more demanding now. We can´t just give them something from a shelf, they want events with a twist. We need to add value for their money. We do simple things, like when we speak on the phone, we smile. The client doesn’t see us but they sure feel it. We provide information even for the clients who don’t book with us. Afterwards, they may come later or recommend us to their friends.
Raquel was born in Barcelona, lived and studied in London but did come back. “I just love the people and the possibility to be outdoors. I can go to a café and watch them coming and going, meeting on the streets, smiling, talking on the phone. Barcelona offers lots of activities outdoors that don´t cost you anything. And I need the sea and the beach.”
A lot of events have been organized during these years according to the wishes of the clients but I wanted to know what Raquel would put together if only her imagination was the limit. “It would involve a lot of production, like the launch of a new car. I would have the press, manufacturers, and a lot of guests. The program would include a huge show, performances, music. There would be a lot of details in this puzzle and I would love to put it all together. It would be even better if it was outdoors. That would definitely be a WOW-event!”
Are you an adrenaline junkie?
I get my adrenaline from numbers. I know it´s weird. When I look at my tax return or my bank account, I get excited. For me things have to make sense. I´m very organized and if there is a mess I cannot function. When it comes to adrenaline packed activities, I want to make sure I´m not the one who is responsible for doing it. I wouldn´t do bridge jump but I did parachute jump. There was no need to tell myself I´m going to jump off the plane, the instructor did it. I just closed my eyes and God knows where I was going.”
Since 2003, Lifestyle has been organizing corporate incentives in Spain working with some of the leading names in the industry. The company is continuously searching and producing fun and exciting experiences for their clients.
Where does Raquel see herself in five years?
I hope I will be still organizing events. Barcelona is still growing and lots of conferences and fairs are being organized. People love the city but I must admit there are other cities that are cheaper. So, maybe in five years we will be providing our services in other cities, as well.
What advice would you give to the companies planning starting a business in Barcelona?
Make sure you have a clear goal of what you are planning to do. It is very easy to be pulled away along the way. Let´s say you decided to sell bread but someone says why you don’t also sell sweets. You have to say “No, I will sell bread.” Ask for advice from a lawyer and accountant, and make sure you belong to an association. In Spain, laws change all the time and you have to keep up with the updates. Don´t cut corners on that.
Thank you Raquel for helping the visitors of Barcelona to have memorable experiences and being so great to work with.