Helping travelers with disabilities find their own way

Question for Daman Wandke ('12, '13)

Daman Wandke (B.A., Business Administration – Management Information Systems; MBA), second from the left, is the CEO and founder of AbiliTrek, a travel booking website designed for people with disabilities—and featuring their reviews and feedback. Wandke and his team, WWU business senior Jeremy McLaughlin, Dean Verhey (’17, B.A., business administration) and computer science senior Travis Heller, recently made it to the Sweet 16 of the University of Washington’s 2017 Business Plan Competition. Their website,, went live in April.

Why did you start a new travel website?

While I was a student at Western I created Disability Awareness Week and helped launch the Associated Students Disability Outreach Center. I knew then that I wanted to build my own company that would advocate for people with disabilities.

Now as a national disability advocate, I travel a lot, most recently to San Francisco. Reflecting on my own experiences, a lot of hotels don’t typically have what they say they have in terms of disability accommodations. I always call the hotel to confirm that my needs will be met, but there have been multiple times when I arrive at a hotel and the room I booked was unavailable or did not even exist.

Actually, anyone can book travel arrangements through—they don't have to have a disability. But my hope is to make the process of traveling a lot easier, thanks in large part to the reviews from other travelers.