Luz Alvarado Zaiz, Maribel Esparcia Perez and Idoia Herrero lead the Spanish community at our WHTT Barcelona chapter and back up our mission to advocate for a more diverse culture in hospitality and travel-tech organizations in all of Spain.
Meet the chapter leaders
Luz Alvarado Zaiz is an entrepreneur in the travel tech sector, co-founder of the startup ChartOK.
Maribel Esparcia Perez is a University Professor, keynote speaker and Trusted Advisory Board at the European Sustainable Hospitality Club.
Idoia Herrero is a freelance consultant and aims to discover how to improve business results for small and medium companies, associations and start-ups.
Get to know Luz, Maribel and Idoia better in the following blog interview and learn more about WHTT Barcelona chapter plans.
What was your first travel job and what did it teach you?
Luz: Telephone operator and “jack(ie) of all trades”, in the Sales department of a 5-star Urban Hotel. I’ve learned to manage my hours to be more efficient; to be patient and decisive, and to make up good excuses.
Maribel: I was a Receptionist at a train station-located property with 400+ rooms, thus I learned about multitasking and teamwork.
Idoia: It was as a Guest Experience & Front Office Trainee at a five stars Resort Hotel. It gave me the foundations of service excellence by a well-known brand. I also gained confidence and empowerment.
Which company in hospitality / travel tech you admire and why?
Luz: TravelgateX. Their speed to adapt the company in terms of technological solutions in the sector is impressive, maintaining a global vision and constant results orientation. During the pandemic they have been able to quickly adapt their services, they also value really well their people & talents. Head offices are located in Palma de Mallorca, a city that I like for many reasons, and an important hub for travel tech companies.
Maribel: Accommodation services such as Sleep N’ atocha & Artiem Hotels for their social and environmental values. Also Bouteco, a great company for design-led hotel enthusiasts like myself.
Idoia: I am a fan of companies that have innovated and created positive impact with limited resources. Some of those are Ekolsenegal (small travel agency and cultural association), Hotel Gran Bilbao, Nomad Hotel Javea, Ideas for Change… I also follow bigger travel companies like Expedia, Mews, TravelPerk, Cloudbeds, as they set an example in the fields of digitalization and automatization of processes.
What’s one book / movie every tourism professional should watch / read and why?
Luz: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: A World Tour Underwater by Jules Verne. Although it is not a proper book in the sector, rather a fictional classic, for me it reflects a lot what it takes to work in the industry. Resilience, imagination, creativity, empathy and above all the desire to meet our goals no matter what.
Maribel: Leaders eat last by Simon Sinek. It is a great book for learning/working on leadership skills.
Idoia: I recommend reading books which are about different cultures/opinions/beliefs from yours. Empathy is key for being a good tourism professional and always aware of society. On my list there are various authors like: Xavier Aldekoa, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Naguib Mahfouz, Toti Martínez de Lezea...
Why did you become a WHTT Barcelona chapter leader?
Luz: I went to the first WHTT event in Barcelona in November 2019, I got hooked on the community and the values we share. At the beginning of 2020 I was already so involved that I needed to do more, give more to the community. That's when I started collaborating as Chapter Leader.
Maribel: I found myself drawn into Rita’s vision, and it supports my purpose.
Idoia: Last year when I was finishing my Bachelor I came across WHTT because of a University project and became very much involved without being aware. The fact is I felt I could give a lot to the Chapter and learn even more from Luz and Maribel.
What are the current hospitality and travel tech challenges in Spain? How do you plan to address them?
Companies must adapt to the expectations and needs of young talent as soon as possible. We are working together with the universities to reinforce the concepts of entrepreneurship, innovation and equality in students of the Tourism career. So that, at the end, they can start their own businesses, or they can identify the companies that share these values. For companies, we give them the opportunity to explore new talents via our career pathing platform.
Promote female digital talent in both sectors. We have made agreements with schools that have technology-oriented courses. We constantly seek to offer information, discounts, scholarships, and grants so that our members can transform their profiles into technological roles.
What are your chapter plans for 2021?
Continue gaining Spanish-speaking members
Establish strategic alliances to create achievable actions aimed at the platform professional growth
To improve industry standards and give visibility on diversity & gender equality
To hopefully create onsite events closer to summer season
How can members get involved with WHTT Spain?
Of course! We always need help!
Content for our blog and social networks
Speakers for our Micro Learning and Vis a Vis Entre Talentos sessions
Agreements with companies to increase equity and inclusion in their workforce
Support for internal organisation and strategy/structure
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