Back in 2000, Christiane Schwaß was working at a destination management software company of around 30 people, driving innovations in the world of online bookings at the time when the internet was still emerging as a source of travel inspiration. When the company ran into financial problems, she was given the opportunity to take over the business at the age of 27 - and with great success: overseeing a period of tremendous growth, she grew the business and secured investment in 2006 to fuel further expansion. She went on to found Lohospo, a property distribution agency with over 5,000 accommodations worldwide that has partnered with Booking.com for more than six years.
Click.: What were the key moments in your career that defined your position now? Schwaß: When I founded my first company. I left Holidayinsider in 2011 to go to Jakarta, where my husband was running an international hotel chain. After a short period I founded Lohospo with two of my friends, a job that allows me to work from anywhere I want. Our philosophy is to have both a family life and jobs that we love. It was a coincidence – I did not plan to be a manager or tell other people what to do. I planned to be a biologist in school. But I just took the chance and decided to do it.
Click.: What have been your major successes? Schwaß: When we signed with Booking.com in 2013 Lohospo was still a small company with a vision, specialised in accommodation content and supporting local tourist companies. The partnership was really a success we celebrated. After that, things were easier for us. When you say your partner is Booking.com people are interested in you.
Click.: What have been the challenges? Schwaß: The birth of my son. You have to find a balance between family life and your business. I love working – and I love my son too. What I learned is be nice to yourself. In the beginning you have a lot of expectations of how you should be, but in the end you just have to calm down and it will work out.
Click.: What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career? Schwaß: Nothing. I was naive – I didn’t think about the future or responsibilities or finances. So I just went for it. If I would have known everything in advance I would have said no. But I’m glad I didn’t because I’m happy to be where I am now.
Click.: What has been the most surprising moment of your career? Schwaß: I’m never surprised, because I don’t have expectations. I have a plan and think ‘this would be nice if it works out’, but if I don’t expect something you can’t surprise me. Even in my personal life I’ve never been surprised.
Click.: Did you have anyone that mentored or inspired you? Schwaß: My husband. He gives me advice and we discuss business decisions. We are a good match.
Click.: What one piece of advice would you have for someone starting out in the travel industry? Schwaß: Enjoy it! The tourism industry gives you lots of flexibility. If you want to do the same job for the next 20 years in the same place, then it’s not for you. But if you want to see the world and try different things, it’s the right industry.
- Christiane Schwaß is the CEO of Lohospo, a property distribution agency with over 5,000 accommodations in its portfolio
- Throughout her career she has combined tech and travel, working for destination management software company and vacation rental platform Holidayinsider among others
- She founded Lohospo in 2011, aiming to create a business built on a philosophy of balance between work and family life