We chat to the co-founder, coo and cmo of HotelQuickly.
The challenge for the industry is… to rethink old habits. Technology has evolved quickly since the dot com years and is now omnipresent, which opens new business opportunities for innovative hoteliers and entrepreneurs.
The things I like about my job… are many, including that I’m able to influence the (travel) behaviour of many by providing them with a tool to live more spontaneously. As an entrepreneur I love that I’m able to create jobs, to provide a platform for my team members to grow and develop personally and professionally, and to build a company that delivers value to shareholders.
And the frustrations are … mostly based around time-constraints. Development can never be fast enough in a startup, especially if you’re on a fast growth trajectory like HotelQuickly.
If I didn’t work in travel I would be… running a high-growth tech startup in another industry. I’ve built companies in IT, publishing, food delivery; the challenges you face as an entrepreneur on your journey to build a sustainable company are mostly based on the stage of the venture you are at, and personal experience, and to a minor extent the industry itself. The more experience you collect over the years, the faster you’ll overcome similar challenges in other industries.
Favourite airline? Whenever possible I fly with Star Alliance, to make use of the loyalty status perks. Luckily, many of the globally leading airlines are part of that network, such as Singapore Airlines and Swiss. I also like the Middle Eastern airlines, such as Etihad or Emirates.
My proudest moment was… I have been lucky to experience many highlights throughout my life. I focus on the positive things, and work hard to achieve my goals. It makes me proud to find myself in a better place as a result of my actions.
The naughtiest thing I ever did was… not really something I can disclose!
I try to relax by… working out. On average, I spend 13 hours per day in front of the computer, so being physically active is important to compensate for the lack of movement throughout the day. Working out energizes my body, relaxes my mind, keeps me healthy and helps me sleep better at night.
The last time I feared for my life was… when I was paragliding in Switzerland and got into bad winds. My parachute folded multiple times and I wasn’t very far above the ground, luckily I managed to land safely!
If I can, I always try to avoid… eating fish. It’s unsustainable and irresponsible how we deal with our seas, and almost 90% of all fish species are endangered. As a passionate scuba diver I care about the oceans and hope for a behavioural shift in regards to eating seafood.
I really wish I had… a time machine. Not to jump around the decades, but to be able to slow down time. While it can’t go fast enough for a startup, I would love to have 60 or 70 hours in one day.
The best advice I’ve ever received was… to not listen too much to others, and to trust in your capabilities, experience and gut feelings. If you can live with the consequences if your decision is wrong, go with what you feel is right. There are too many naysayers and pessimists, who will slow you down and talk you down. They’ll stand on the sidelines and watch while you celebrate your successes.
I don’t understand why people… still book hotels ahead of their trips. Last-minute hotel booking is cheaper, more convenient, faster, and more fun. This is 2015, people!
My greatest weakness is… forgetting people’s names. I meet new people continuously, and I have a hard time remembering names when I have been out of touch for a while. I’m working on memory tricks, and try to take notes when tagging people in my directory, but this of course doesn’t help with unexpected encounters.
And my greatest strength is… staying calm in stressful situations. I’m quick at analysing situations and prioritising tasks, which helps when a situation escalates.
If I won a $1 million lottery (aside from travelling), I would… invest in new startup ideas.
If I was prime minister I would… lower taxes.
If I could be someone else for one day I would be… an astronaut at the International Space Station. I’d love to see Earth from orbit.
I’ve always wanted to travel to… Iran. I’ve attempted to travel there twice already but both times I didn’t get my visa in time, so I couldn’t go. It is high up on my bucket list!
My favourite holiday was… my first trip to the US West Coast, about 20 years ago. We visited world famous national parks such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Arches, Yosemite, and many more. The diversity of nature combined with a country that is perfect for road trips left a lasting impression on me.