Networking central to the HTRO anniversary celebrations in Diemen

A week ago, the 15th anniversary of the Tourism and Recreation Management (HTRO) programme was celebrated at the full-to-capacity Reinier Paping Patio in Diemen. An extensive programme was organised for lecturers, students, alumni and relations of the HTRO featuring leading names in the field. The central theme of the programme was networking.

'Networking is in the DNA of travel companies. They don't sell products. They sell services in the form of promises, or even a network of promises', said keynote speaker Frank Oostdam, director of the travel organisation ANVR. According to him, the work of travel professionals is definitely going to change: 'In the future, there will be less attention to hospitality and much more attention to data and analysis. This means that four out of five professionals in the travel sector will have to be highly qualified. The business sector must therefore collaborate much more with education, but in a different way. This will require lectures to more frequently take place outside the institutions, and we look forward to realising this together with Inholland.'

'Make yourself visible and show interest'
In line with the central theme, a plenary networking workshop was set up, organised by Daphne Medik, LinkedIn and networking specialist and writer of the free e-book 'Zeven geheimen om klanten te krijgen via je netwerk' (Seven Secrets to Gaining Clients via your Network). She suggests that networking may not be for everyone: 'You have to enjoy it and show genuine interest in others. That's the golden rule.' She also believes many ideas about networking are out of date. 'In the past, people would say "it's not what you know, it’s who you know". However, in today's world, "it's not what you know, it’s who knows you". You have to make yourself visible. For example, I do this via public speaking or writing books.'

Afterwards, students had ample opportunity to put their networking skills into practice and make acquaintance with the work-placement companies and final-project companies attending the event, such as Zanox and advertising agency REDmarketing. 'Although I don't understand a lot of the presentations, as most of them are conducted in Dutch, I often attend these kinds of events with classmates in order to meet potential work-placement companies', says second-year Tourism Management student Bogdan Wyneken. 'I'm currently looking for a work placement, and this is a very useful opportunity to collect business cards. I have already spoken to a couple of big businesses.'

Amsterdam Marketing
Keynote speaker Frans van de Avert, director of Amsterdam Marketing, mentioned a number of issues that have affected Amsterdam in recent years: 'At Amsterdam Marketing, we want to ensure the right relationship between residents, visitors and businesses. Tension between residents and tourists has become a real issue, as is the case with the "disruptive economy" and accompanying initiatives such as AirBnB and Uber. For this reason, together with Inholland, we have examined how we can make Amsterdam bigger. You have to ask yourself whether the neighbourhood or location is "worth the journey", as the Michelin Guide puts it. We also connect and involve nearby regions with Amsterdam. For example, we refer to the Zandvoort and Velsen regions as "Amsterdam Beach", to Lisse and district as "Flowers of Amsterdam", and to the Gooi region as "Amsterdam Castle".' In this way, Amsterdam Marketing is constructing an extensive network of suppliers and locations that help achieve a balanced spread of tourists and realise a better relationship between residents, businesses and visitors. The presentations were received positively by the students. 'I learned a lot from the presentations. I want to work on my self-development via my studies, so it will be very useful to put the knowledge from the presentations into practice', says second-year HTRO student Mikush Faithfull.

The event closed with a short speech by the Rwandan ambassador. In the past, Inholland and the University of Kigali in Rwanda have worked together with regard to exchange projects, work placements and development aid. 'Rwanda's economy currently has the highest levels of improvement in the world, and we have overcome previous crises thanks to friends like Inholland University of Applied Sciences. It is clear that Inholland played an important role in developing the University of Kigali's tourism programme. I would therefore like to thank Inholland, and the late Karin Bras* in particular, who was an extremely important figure in the development of the programme. We look forward to future collaborations with Inholland!'

*In 2014, Karin Bras was one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. The HTRO lecturer, her husband Theo Kamsma and her son Guo all died in the air disaster in Ukraine while flying to Indonesia, a country very close to her heart.

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