For episode #29 of the Frictionless Innkeeper podcast series, we speak with Christa Freeland, who is an entrepreneur, former tech venture studio executive, and the manager of the Founder House Austin. Based in Austin, Texas, this innovative lodging approach shares a portion of an existing Bed & Breakfast to create a co-working and co-living space for entrepreneurs.
Known for its South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festival, as well as its thriving music, food and culture scene, the city of Austin is a dream for young entrepreneurs, musicians and creatives.
Though just as the COVID-19 pandemic upended the entire globe, Austin was also heavily impacted with SXSW being cancelled in early March, with travel restrictions making it difficult for people to visit this vibrant city.
For the Adina Austin Bed & Breakfast, this was a challenging time, since the property officially opened in March right before SXSW – in anticipation of having full bookings during the festival and beyond.
With the cancellation of SXSW, the owners of Adina Austin decided to get creative and partnered with entrepreneur Christa Freeland to offer a portion of the property as the Founder House Austin, which is a co-working and co-living place for entrepreneurs that opened in May.
Following are highlights from our interview:
About Christa’s background as an entrepreneur. (1:26)
How the idea of the Founder House Austin came about during the peak of the pandemic in Austin. (3:48)
The types of services and activities that take place for entrepreneurs at the Founder House Austin. (9:00)
How Christa and her mentor Ying McGuire were able to move quickly, and still maintain revenue for the property through the co-working and co-living offering. (11:36)
Christa’s perspective on how the state of the workplace has changed due to the pandemic, and about her company ATX Kit. (20:15)
How other innkeepers can learn from the Founder House Austin when it comes to pivoting quickly to provide new offerings. (25:58)
We are very thankful to Christa for sharing her insights with us! You can learn more about the Founder House Austin here. And, please stay tuned for part two of this podcast series, where Christa shares her insights into the mindset of the Millennial traveler.