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At full speed ahead

"Digital technology is not an end in itself for us, but it helps us to know exactly what is going on in the company."

David van de Runstraat, Cascade Shipping Company

LIOF is helping this entrepreneur with:

a subsidy from the Innovation Project. This is part of the LimburgTourism program. Through our LimburgTourism program, we can help you take your innovative idea or process a step further and thus help your company grow. At LIOF we always do this with a view to a smarter, more sustainable and healthier Limburg. With this program we focus on entrepreneurs in the tourism & recreation sector.

About Rederij Cascade

Rederij Cascade did not start in Maasbracht, where the 2 ships now lie. It started 40 kilometers south in Maastricht at Rederij Stiphout. David's parents came from the commercial shipping industry. In 2000, they sold their ship, but sitting still was nothing for David's father. He wanted something to do. In 2002 he and David started Rederij Cascade. For father partly a hobby, for son an opportunity to build up something for himself. At Rederij Stiphout in Maastricht they had a ship they could buy. Mr. Stiphout offered not only his ship, but also his knowledge. "Mr. Stiphout was inspiring. He showed that there is real potential in the Maasplassen." David took care of the catering, his father sailed the ship. Neither had a marketing background. But the success speaks for itself. They had the wind in their sails and bought their second, even larger ship in 2005. 

Op de foto: schipper Wim van Komen

LIOF and Shipping Company Cascae

 

From skipper to pioneer

Entrepreneurship pleased David very much. He quickly noticed that hospitality, but certainly entrepreneurship, really is a profession. "I found that I really enjoyed writing policy. How could we make it not only better, but more efficient? Where are the opportunities?" Discussing ideas with his father, David elaborated on the ideas. 

David was ready for more: investment, growth, innovation, challenge. In this, David and his father differed. Together they came to the decision in 2013 that David would continue on his own with Rederij Cascade. "I am very grateful to him. We can be proud of what we have accomplished and stayed with both feet on the ground." 

Fortunately, David doesn't have to do it alone now. Since 2004, his partner Bianca has been working in the company. Since 2023, they have run the shipping company together. She supports him in all his plans. "Fortunately, because the growth and investment plans of the past ten years were far from self-evident," David says.

Around the time Bianca started running the shipping company with David, the economic climate was less favorable. And at the same time, competition was also increasing. An awkward time, but David felt the pinch: "that development had to come now." This started with automating processes. The first step in this what having an online booking portal built with a new website. A big expense that people didn't understand he was doing. But David knew better: "This will benefit us indefinitely. And it really turns out so."

Pictured: Marcel de Reuver (left) and Nigel Kok (right)

Experiencing the Maasplassen 100%.

David knows that not everyone is waiting for an app. "They mainly want to enjoy the view that is there for them to see. For them, the explanation of the view is very important. This is why we included this in our project. Using GPS, a digital captain automatically tells a nice story about the surroundings. But how nice would it be if you deployed the screens on board? That you see the captain when you hear him speak." Of course, the captain's voice and the mouth on the screen have to be in sync. This system is called the narrow casting system." 

David doesn't hobble after anyone. He prefers to sail his own course: "The focus on surprise and experience fits into the strategy that we want to compete more on distinctiveness than on price. With many shipping companies, you always hear the same drawling voice with classical pieces of music interspersed throughout the audio tour. We have dared to move away from that stereotypical image with our captain."

"Daantje, pleasant."

Cruising with Rederij Cascade is for all ages. "The app also includes a game. With this, children fish from the Maasplassen. They then collect these in their own little pond, which they can project into the room via the app. This way they walk around their own fish pond on the floor." With this game, Cascade also created a character. "That became our Daantje. The nice thing is that Daantje also plays a physical role at Cascade. In fact, he walks around the ship as a mascot. So you run into Daantje everywhere and we create a theme." 

They brought these 2 innovations into a separate company: Cascade Projects BV. Cascade Project supplies Rederij Cascade. "So Rederij Cascade is actually the testing ground of Cascade Projects." David hopes to make this piece of technology scalable and thus market it to other parties. Although David himself is at the helm of these developments, he draws a lot of inspiration from his children. "They are the perfect test subjects for Daantje. But they can also take a critical look at what else can contribute to the unique values of Rederij Cascade."

Photo: Lucas of Run Street as Daantje

Greener than green

 

Also for a dignified farewell

During the corona crisis, of course, there were no parties to host. Still, David welcomed guests, but in a whole new way. "We organize ash scatterings over the water. That's really very special. For people who have something to do with water, or where it fits into their faith to give the deceased a resting place via water. We now have a permanent team for this. That creates recognition and trust. We are there to provide for possible rituals, although we are by no means always familiar with them. We really want to align with the client. Meanwhile, we know how to create a unique setting. People need a beautiful and dignified farewell. It's wonderful to be able to provide that."

A glass at the last minute

David also certainly has some tips for tourism and recreation entrepreneurs. For example, he reveals that it is also nice to have a winter dip. "Then you have time to unleash your creativity. Do you think you can't cope on your own? Then talk to a third party: to a bank or to LIOF. There is often someone there who can give you just the advice you need. Build on your own strengths and focus on distinctiveness. Then, in my opinion, you are doing business." And we like to toast to that.

Photography: Ron Wiersma (www.ronwiersma.nl)
 

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A magazine full of inspiring stories

The LimburgTourism program has given a strong impulse to the growth and innovative power of this sector in Limburg over the past three years. In this magazine, the Morgen, you can read some of the many stories of entrepreneurs we have had the pleasure of supporting from this program.

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