How Dutch Theme Travel Startup Tripaneer Helps People To Grow Personally & Professionally

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Tripaneer's founder Robert den Hollander has not only settled for one but nine different projects. Where the need for themed travel comes from and how the experiences made influence careers:

How would you describe Tripaneer in a few words?

Tripaneer is a global travel company that enables travelers to easily find, browse, and book theme travel packages located all over the world. So, if I were to describe it just by using a few words, I would describe it as enriching, global, theme travel.

How Dutch Theme Travel Startup Tripaneer Helps People To Grow Personally & Professionally

Tripaneer’s founder Robert den Hollander

What inspired you to create the travel platform? How did it all start?

Back in 2011, I was practicing Kung Fu and was seeking to further my study in the discipline by training with Shaolin monks in the mountains of China.

However, when I did my research to look for such an opportunity, it was very challenging to find a website that offers an overview selection of martial arts training camps located worldwide.

In the end, all I was able to find was websites of individual Kung Fu schools or training camps. Even so, it was challenging to find the necessary information I was seeking (details on training programs, accommodation, reviews, etc.). Funnily enough, this ‘dilemma’ actually sparked the idea for Tripaneer.

After putting together a small team and working with this idea in mind, in 2012, I started the company (formerly named eBookingServices) by launching 3 theme travel websites:,, and Currently, we have grown our roster to a total of 9 theme travel sites and are set to further expand to other themes in the near future.

Talking about experiences: remote work is a lifestyle people become more interested in by the day. Given people make experiences working remotely – how do you think this will impact the way of traveling?

I believe that the increasing interest of working remotely makes traveling more accessible. By being able to work from anywhere, people are not tied down to a desk job in a certain location. Instead, they can be as flexible as they want to be.

This means that more people will have fewer constraints when it comes to planning their next holiday destination. They don’t necessarily have to fit their travel within a certain (holiday) schedule as they have the ability to take their work with them while they are on vacation. Perhaps, due to this, there’s a likelihood that travel will increasingly become a year-round activity and that the demand for travel packages – including theme travel – will less likely to be affected by seasonality.

Tourism is an industry with numerous players. Apart from the themed travels – what makes Tripaneer stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

Though it’s true that we’re not the only travel company that offers theme travel experiences, what sets us apart from our competitors is that we provide platforms that enable anyone, with access to the Internet, to find, compare, and book a comprehensive selection of themed travel experiences to help them do so. We offer a ‘one-stop’ shop when it comes to theme travel. So, if you were to visit any of our websites, you can instantly find hundreds, if not thousands, of options for the particular theme travel you’re interested in.

Many other travel companies or websites have some sort of restrictions – for example; they only offer general sightseeing trips and/or offer a single theme travel experience – whereas we seek to become the ‘go-to’ company for theme travel as a whole.

Last but not least, as a company, we have a mission to enrich lives through travel. We intend to inspire people to use their travels as opportunities to further explore not only the world – but also themselves. In short, through the travel experiences we offer, we aspire to help them to grow personally and professionally too.

Are you using Tripaneer internally? How does that affect the viewpoints of the team?

Though we certainly do not mandate our team members to use Tripaneer’s services, we highly encourage it. This is because we truly believe that a happy and meaningful life is simply not something that one can acquire in books – rather, that it can only be gained through experiences. Some of our team members have booked theme travel packages through our platform(s) and they have personally found the experience to be life changing.

Through experiencing the travel packages that we are offering to our customers first hand, they shared that they are even more convinced that theme travel, which offers the opportunity for people to learn and grow while they’re on vacation, is something that everyone should really experience!

What’s the most considerable pivoting maneuver that the team has undertaken throughout the journey so far?

I believe that the biggest pivoting maneuver happened when I started the company. After much deliberation, the team and I decided to not only create and launch 1 website but to launch the three sites simultaneously instead.

It’s safe to say that our company would look significantly different today if we had held on to the original plan of only launching just

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

We have encountered more than a few challenges throughout our journey but one thing that has always been a challenge is to find the right people.

This challenge was most evident when I had to make my first hires. I had used my own capital to start the company, which means I had to be very cautious when it comes to expenses and this includes employee salaries. Since it’s quite expensive to hire local (Dutch) team members, I decided to look for high-quality remote workers with relatively lower compensation. After some research, I decided to focus the recruitment in South East Asia – particularly Indonesia and the Philippines. It took quite a bit of time and effort but I eventually found the company’s three ‘original’ team members – two of them are still very much active members of the team!

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Tripaneer?

The most memorable moment for me happened in January 2016. This is when I finally met up with 9 of the company’s most senior (remote) team members in Bali, Indonesia. By then, we had already worked together for nearly 4 years but this was the first time that all of us actually met each other in person! Though I had daily contact with most of them it was an entirely different experience to be able to spend time with them face to face. To meet them in person was not only one of the most memorable moments in Tripaneer’s history – but also one of the most memorable weeks of my life.

If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem – what would it be?

Aside from it being my home country, I genuinely have found the Netherlands to be a great incubator of startups.

Here, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know various entrepreneurs all over the globe who are also growing their own companies. At the moment, our headquarter is located at TQ, one of Amsterdam’s co-working spaces that cater to startups. In this space, we’re able to meet even more inspiring and innovative startups to collaborate and learn from.

Perhaps something that I would like to see more of are platforms that make it easy for startups across Europe to connect with each other. This way, we all have the opportunity to support and nurture each other as well as assist in making more startups to not just survive – but also to thrive.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

We perceive our team members as our greatest asset and when recruiting, we are only looking for people who share our core values and willing to grow with the company. Even so, as of the end of April, Tripaneer has over 170 team members working in 16 different countries (26 nationalities). And seeing how we only started with four people (including myself) back in 2012, it is quite a feat!

Though this sounds rather restrictive, I believe that it’s important to be selective when hiring new team members. Pay close attention to the candidate’s motivation & character in addition to their skills and competencies.

It will certainly take more time and effort to find the right people in the short-term, in the long-term, however, you’ll likely to reap the rewards. As John Doerr, a renowned Venture Capitalist, said, “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything. It takes a team to win”.



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