Making the world accessible to everyone - GrootTravels is an online travel platform that helps people with physical disabilities and their caregivers to see the world by giving them the accurate and up to date accessibility information of hotels and other accommodations. People call it the of accessible travel.

Sonia Groot
Global school for entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Over het initiatief / About the initiative


In welke fase zit jouw initiatief? / In what stage is your initiative?


Heb je jouw initiatief al gevalideerd? / Did you validate your initiative?

Yes, I have build the platform together with my customer segment and the decisions that were made are supported by multiple researches done by the European Union.

Meer informatie over jouw initiatief / More info about your initiative

Imagine booking a hotel, first you google hotels at your destination, maybe you want breakfast and free wifi. After that you choose your room, you book it, receive the confirmation and that’s it! easy right? 

Except for when you are in a wheelchair, or the caregiver.

As a care giver myself, let me take you on that journey. My mom has MS which means she uses a mobility scooter to get around. Our search for a suitable hotel starts 6 months before we go on vacation. We filter on hotels that say that they are wheelchair accessible, We call them, we ask our extensive list of questions, with the most important one, is there a accessible entrance without a step, With luck we get someone that answers all our questions in detail, but more so we get someone that will only tell us that the “hotel is wheelchair accessible”. We eventually make our decision and book the hotel.

To confirm we call to let the hotel know my mom uses a mobility scooter.

We arrive at the hotel and we see STAIRS in front of the only entrance of the hotel. 

All this work and it still went wrong.

This might seem like an exception, but it’s not. This happened so many times that every time we need to stay in a hotel room my mom panics. She never wants stay in a hotel again, but she is not alone.

There are 5 million known wheelchair users in Europe.
Because of this recurring issue they decide not to travel, stay close to home and shorten their stays which results in a 142 billion euro loss in Europe per year. 

Only 9% of the tourism services in Europe have accessible offers, but even these services have different levels of accessibility and uses in-accurate accessibility information to promote themselves.

The in-accurate accessibility information or lack of.. is the issue. 

by using the term “wheelchair accessible” companies forget to mention what makes them accessible, which is the information people need to make the right choice for their needs.

To change this, I have build GrootTravels.

GrootTravels is an online travel agency where we help people with physical disabilities and their caregivers to see the world by giving them the accurate and up-to-date accessibility information of hotels. 

Our hotels have been visited by accessibility experts, wheelchair users and care givers.
They measure, take pictures and videos. This way you know exactly what the accessibility amenities are in a hotel and you get to decide if it fit YOUR NEEDS, not the other way around. 

GrootTravels is on a mission to create a more accessible world. To do this we will become the number one accessible travel platform in Europe. 

Let’s build it together! Only together we can make this world more accessible, not just for my mom but for everyone that needs it.

Wat zijn jouw volgende stappen om het verder te ontwikkelen? / What are your next steps to develop the initiative?

A two sided platform creates the chicken and egg problem. To overcome this problem we are focussing on building a community of travellers that have extensive experience with accessible travel.

This community of scouts and accessibility experts will help us speed up the process of collecting accessibility information of hotels. Parallel we are building a booking system so that people can book directly in instead of being send to Expedia which is happening right now.

Our next step is to make a marketing campaign to get these people in the community and work together with developers to create the booking system to improve the booking experience.

Wat heb je nodig om (nog meer) impact te maken met dit initiatief? / What do you need to make (more) impact with this initiative?

I need a marketing expert to help me make this marketing campaign a succes. Budget for this campaign is 2500,- for now. We are looking into getting subsidy so the budget could become higher.

And I am looking for a developer that wants to work on GrootTravels for a long time in a CTO position. This in return for shares.