Alumnus Daan Lenderink studied tourism at Tio University of Applied Sciences. Today, he is the director and owner of Schiphol Travel Group, a company that earns an annual revenue of 140 million euros. His company is one of the top-five business travel agencies and Daan has already won quite a few business awards. An interview with a self-made man with a passion for what he does.
Daan: “After graduating from Tio University of Applied Sciences, I first got a job at a business travel agency. Over the past decade, companies in this sector have consolidated and started offering call centre-like services. I quickly realised that this did not satisfy the customers’ needs and that there was plenty of room for improvement.”
Daan focused on personal services and flexibility. “Of course, that is everyone’s goal. How do you realise that, though? To find that out, I studied organisational science. I wanted to know how a business should be organised to provide personal services at a good price and satisfy the customer’s wishes. The answer was that the business should have a flat organisational structure, using only fulltime, experienced account managers who handle every aspect of the business themselves. They would have to manage every project from beginning to end, from booking to invoicing. That concept proved successful.”
Daan’s company, Schiphol Travel International, is a business travel organisation that provides exclusive services to medium-sized and large multinationals on the Dutch market. The organisation has seven offices in the Netherlands and the UK. The two most important ones are located at Schiphol and Heathrow airports. Daan: “Our personal services are really successful and because our account managers are so experienced, they can make extensive use of smart ticketing, i.e. combining different tickets. That requires real skill and saves our clients a lot of money. We offer a knowledge product, rather than a volume product. Schiphol Travel International now employs more than one hundred people at nine locations, including one in the UK. With its annual revenue of around 140 million euros, Schiphol Travel International is in the top five of business travel agencies.”
Another company in Daan’s portfolio is Schiphol Tickets, which lets people easily find, compare and book the cheapest tickets.
Daan has already won several business awards. For example, he won the Financieel Dagblad’s Gazelle Award, the award for the fastest-growing organisations in the Netherlands, a few times. "I was was nominated for the prestigious “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. I am a true entrepreneur. At Tio, I built a solid foundation for a job in the travel industry. I loved my time at Tio University of Applied Sciences. The material was interesting and the courses fascinated me. I got good grades and enjoyed going to school every day. I was always interested in the business travel sector and have never left it since. It is great to do what you love and be a good employer to your people at the same time.”
Follow Daan Lenderink on LinkedIn.