Since Veroniek graduated she had different jobs. When she got involved in a project managed by the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) she noticed that there were not a lot of accessible holidays in the Netherlands. So Veroniek decided to start her own company. Watch the video to get a glimpse of a day in the life of her work. Or read the full story below.
Since you graduated, what kind of jobs did you have? "Since I graduated I worked on different jobs and projects. I was involved in a European project called eAccessplus, managed by ENAT. This project aimed to educate people with regards to accessibility of online and digital information. As a result, I was sent to different conferences to represent ENAT.
I met travel agents who wanted to organise accessible holidays to the Netherlands for people with limited mobility or using a wheelchair. I noticed that we were missing that in the Netherlands, so I started with the company Accessible Travel Netherlands.
During the first years, I also worked as a front-office employee, reservations officer and marketing for Conscious Hotels in Amsterdam. The past years, I have worked on several projects funded by the European Commission and national projects aiming to make tourism more accessible."
What do you do with Accessible Travel Netherlands? "Currently, I’m the owner of and work full-time for the company Accessible Travel Netherlands. The office is located in De Baarsjes in Amsterdam and we are with a team of three. We have established partnerships with trusted suppliers.
Our customers come from all over the world, but we also have more and more clients in the Netherlands. As an inbound tour operator, we offer accessible transport, accommodation and tour options for FIT’s (fully independent travelers) and groups.
Additionally, customers can hire mobility equipment and organise caretakers. We aim to enable everyone to visit the Netherlands, which includes people with a variety of abilities."
Could you tell us how your time at WUR helped you to get where you are now? "The master's gave me the opportunity to learn more about eco-tourism, which I was initially most interested in. Also, I acquired a strong interest in accessible tourism. This happened during my research internship at the NZTRI in Auckland, New Zealand. I’m still in contact with my mentor from NZTRI (she is also director of Access Tourism NZ). This new interest and the new contacts lead me to start my own company."
And how does a week in your life look like? Monday: "We start the day with a coffee and short catch up. My colleague starts working on the new requests that came in during the weekend and I start with administration. Throughout the day we work on bookings and we receive calls from customers or people who are already in Amsterdam and want to book one of our services."
Tuesday: "Time to visit one of the sites, for example, a hotel or a meeting with a supplier. Around noon we have a short meeting about the business development and the marketing and sales planning. During the day we also work on bookings and requests, which we do on a daily basis. This means being in contact with customers and suppliers by phone or email."
Wednesday: "Is mostly similar to Tuesdays. The current intern works on Wednesdays and Fridays and her task is to manage the website- and social media content. Additionally, she works on the newsletter and assists with mobility equipment hire requests.
I’m always working on Wednesdays and I’m busy with bookings, requests or meetings. About once a month, I meet customers who are in the Netherlands to speak to them about their experience or to assist them. We also work with a number of bloggers who I meet in Amsterdam."
Thursday: "Free time! I’m not working on Thursday as I’m home with my daughter. My colleague is working and available to our customers and suppliers."
Friday: "Back in the office and the morning is for business development. I work according to the business planning and carry out the tasks, such as speaking with new suppliers, speaking with new clients or working on product development.
On request, I give presentations about accessible tourism for example at universities, tourist boards or tourism conferences."