Tourism Marketing Plan for Amsterdam










BSc Tourism Management


Year 3


Tourism and Leisure Marketing



Destination Marketing Plan:

Amsterdam 2010-2013



















Table of Contents




  1. Executive summary 3

1.1 Mission Statement                                                                   4

1.2 Corporate Objective                                                                 4

1.3 Financial Summary                                                                  5

  1. Situational Analysis 6

2.1 Macro-environment (PESTLE analysis)                                     6

2.2 Micro-environment (SWOT analysis)                                         7

2.3 Portfolio Summary                                                                   8

  1. Market Analysis 9

3.1 Market Overview                                                                      9

3.2 Market Segmentation                                                               10-11

  1. Target Markets 12
  2. Marketing Objective & Strategy 13

5.1Extended Marketing Mix                                                            14

  1. First year implementations programme 15-16


References                                                                                         17-19

Appendices                                                                                         20-26

Appendix 1                                                                                          21

Appendix 2                                                                                          22-24

Appendix 3                                                                                          25

Appendix 4                                                                                          26













  1. Executive summary



This report was conducted on the basis of a hypothetical three year business plan based upon marketing the city of Amsterdam in the years 2010 to 2013. Since 2008 till today the city of Amsterdam has been a continuous nominee for Europe’s Leading Destination (World Travel Awards, 2010), so it is vital that marketing such a city is of great importance.

The city of Amsterdam was assessed in relation to internal, national and external international competition. The destination marketing plan was pitched to the businesses and councils in Amsterdam in relation to attracting more tourism. Linking businesses to an image of a diverse Amsterdam through a series of trade based brochure campaigns was found to be the best way to reach the already established demographics. The recommendation was then given that the report should use the brochure campaigns throughout the tourist industry to generate a different image of Amsterdam.








Sources used for the completion of this marketing report:

  • mostly primarily secondary research; includes up-to-date statistics and figures until 2009.
  • based on firsthand experience and observations
  • a range of existing reports on Amsterdam
  • a range of different marketing books, journals and websites (more information can be found from the References in this paper)




1.1         Mission Statement


To set up a syndicate in order to attract more tourists to Amsterdam. This is to be done by promoting and realising an image of Amsterdam as a unique and diverse cosmopolitan city, incorporating many different cultures and heritages. This will be achieved by creating a central interactive internet site which extends throughout the city of Amsterdam itself and also different types of promotion strategies which will make the objective of this plan realisable within the next 3 years. The aim is to make this a reality by incorporating a number of locally based communities, business organisations and globally based commercial entities. These seek to embrace a range of business and tourist consumers by creating a technologically sophisticated link between all aspects of Amsterdam based upon the image of cosmopolitanism.



1.2         Corporate Objective


Reports published by the bureau of Statistics and Research in Netherlands (OS Amsterdam, 2010) show that tourism stays in Amsterdam have been increasing steadily. While in 2007 the city attracted a record number of visitors, in 2008 this was not the case as there was a significant decrease (See Appendix 2), mainly due to the recent credit crunch that took place (OS Amsterdam, 2010). This has contributed to the following objective:


  • Promoting Amsterdam’s destination image in order to increase visitor stays by 6% in the next 3 coming years (2010-2013).





1.3         Financial Summary


The Netherlands has the 16th largest economy in the world and ranks 7th in GDP (nominal) per capita (Easyexpat, 2008 & World Bank, 2008). As a founding member of the EU, euro coins and notes have been in use since January 2002; Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands. It is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Europe, more exactly; the 5th busiest, with an average of 4 million international visitors annually and it is expected that it will continue as such if not raise in the next 3 years (Amsterdam City Guide, 2010).

It’s Tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) markets, are the fastest growing industries in the city. They generate 4 billion Euros in gross tourism expenditure for Amsterdam alone. This amount includes tourism and business expenditure by visitors. About 72% of that amount (2.9 billion Euros) relates to tourism expenditure; in terms of employment, that involves 38,000 jobs. The overall economic inflation is 1.3% and is expected to stay low at around 1.5% in the coming years (CCAA, 2010). According to the HVS report (2008), the economic recession has had more of an impact on the city centre than the hotels at the airport.



  1. Situational Analysis


2.1         Macro-environment (PESTLE analysis)




  • There appears to be no current or emerging political problems at present but this could change in light of micro-analysis or developments in the political context.Economic
  • US and European consumer’s confidence has declined dramatically in the last few years owing to the decline in economy associated with the sub-prime depression in the US (Mayor & Tol, 2008)
  • Worries about the US economy have caused further falls in the value of the US dollar which would have a knock-on effect for Amsterdam (Mayor & Tol, 2008)
  • Low cost airlines are continuing to expand destinations throughout Europe, incorporating cheaper and less explored regions (Francis et al, 2003)
  • Domestically, business travel expected to be hit harder than leisure tourism (Wonders & Michalowski, 2001) Socio-Cultural
  • There is a diversification of the population meaning that pockets of youth culture are likely to continue taking holidays and breaks. (OS Amsterdam, 2010)
  • There is a history of cultural diversity and liberalismTechnological
  • Easy Jet has extended to the destination of Amsterdam, expected to be in service from winter 2009 onwards (EasyJet, 2009)
  • Ever expanding modernisation of inter-communication facilities and materials present in the Netherlands. Legal
  • Plane Duty replaced Air Passenger Duty in November 2009 and is rising ever since (Telegraph, 2007).
  • The EU/US Open Skies Agreement is now operational (Mayor & Tol, 2008).Environmental
  • When travelling, climate change is becoming an increasingly important factor in the decision making process of tourists with their desire to minimize their carbon footprint. Ferries are perceived as good alternative to planes; there are many ferries to Amsterdam from Britain and trains providing access to and from other destinations in mainland Europe (Gossling et al, 2005). 2.2         Micro-environment (SWOT analysis)
ü  Capital city

ü  Easily accessible by air

ü  One of the most popular business and tourism junctions in the world

ü  Low business set up costs

ü  Historical city and a multi-cultural city

ü  Multilingual working population

ü  Night life and entertainment

ü  Many festivals and events

ü  Very good hospitality

ü  Clean

ü  Wide range of tourism products

ü  Four season destination

ü  Attracts many types of visitors

ü  Classed as a European short haul destination

ü  Popular destination

ü  High educational level

ü  Known as the knowledge city

ü  Department of health dominates at a national level

ü  A history of cultural diversity and liberalism meaning an ease in opening up to a larger scale of cultural diversity and difference

ü  Passenger numbers arriving from the US into the EU forecast to increase by approximately 1% and 14% depending on the magnitude of price reductions. (Mayor & Tol, 2008)

ü  Nominee for Europe’s Leading Destination in 2008, 2009 and 2010 (World Trade Awards, 2010)

ü  Expensive

ü  Poorly organized

ü  The image

ü  Accessibility/ Local and regional transport (complicated)

ü  Drug destination for many youngsters

ü  Sex Trade (Wonders et al., 2001)

ü  Lack of promotion (on-line, in travel agencies…)

ü  Short stay

ü  Not a ‘green city’ yet

ü  The low cost model motivates airlines to negotiate contracts that significantly reduce aeronautical revenues, leaving airports to compensate by seeking commercial revenues from the increase in passengers (Francis et al, 2003)

ü  Strength of the Euro creating worries and resistance from potential tourists, particularly in the US and UK where the Euro is seen overtly as poor value (Mayor & Toll, 2008)


ü  The history as progressive and free to everyone (attracting more cultural and historical interest in the city)

ü  Become a more attractive business place by coming together with its region

ü  Cheaper deals

ü  Promote the image throughout the world

ü  Generate longer and repetitive visits


ü  Technological development

ü  Development & competition of other leading European destinations

ü  Terrorism

ü  Economical crisis

ü  Low-cost airlines continue to exert an influence in air transport markets and small airports face pressures to compete for their business (Francis et al, 2003)


Sources:      (2010)

Amsterdamtourist (2009) (2010)

  1. (See further SWOT analysis in Appendix 3)




2.3         Portfolio Summary


Key productsMarkets
Cultural and historical tourismUS travellers
European travellers
Promotion of Amsterdam’s cultural + historical tourism to bring international awarenessUS Media
Historical tourismLocal industry
Promotion of all Amsterdam’s assetsFilm and commercial producers (EU+local)
Regional media
European media
Cultural and historical tourismEstablished visitors
Cheap and light entertainment + free historical tourismEmpty nesters
Secure + historical and cultural tourismMainstream families
High accommodation standards+ historical, political and cultural tourismUpper class quality seekers
Entertainment + nightlife + cultural tourismPost-modernists
Status conscious achievers
High accommodation and facilities standards + easily accessible informationBusiness market
Cultural tourismInternational market



The key products mentioned in the previous page were named in such a way to combine the strengths and opportunities from the SWOT analysis in section 2.2 in relation to the targeted markets.

(Please refer to sections 3.2 and 4.0 to have more information on the market terms used and see from where some of the information was gathered from).

Amsterdam’s tourism market includes a variety of products; there are 15,854,000 day-visitors per year and 8,333,000 bed nights by visitors from abroad per year (, 2010) meaning that all the products mentioned in the previous table (2.3) are key to the development of the tourism market of Amsterdam.




  1. Market Analysis


3.1         Market Overview


“Praised for its liberalism, ease of doing business and language skills, Amsterdam has become a popular destination for headquarters of international companies and organizations. The city of Amsterdam currently claims that 9000 more hotel rooms will be needed by 2015 to offset demand” (HVS, 2008).

Please refer to the diagrams in Appendix 2 & 3 to have more information about the market overview of Amsterdam.



3.2         Market Segmentation


Based on an international survey by The Netherlands Bureau of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC, 2010) five divisions were formulated referring directly to Amsterdam, based on people’s values, standards and lifestyles.


  1. “Empty nesters”
  2. People aged fifty and above; who are at the end of their working lives. They are nostalgic and conscientious. They are more likely to orient themselves locally and distract themselves with passive entertainment. The empty nesters have a lot of spare time and an average income. (NBTC, 2010)
  3. “Mainstream families”
  4. Families who lead normal everyday’s lives and for whom security and historical assets hold a big role during their stay. (NBTC, 2010)
  5. “Upper-class quality seekers”
  6. Also families, but for whom quality of life is very important; they seek for high levels of comfort. These families lead busy lives and are interested in politics and history. (NBTC, 2010)
  7. “Post-modernists”
  8. This group includes all ages. They are more adventurous and open to new experiences. They are attracted by immaterial values, have an international outlook and are very tolerant. (NBTC, 2010)
  9. “Status-conscious achievers”
  10. They are very career-driven and are aged from 20 to 30. They are individualistic and open to changes. Similarly to the post-modernists, they are impulsive and adventurous and have an international outlook; they do not restrict themselves to traditions and standards. (NBTC, 2010)




  1. Target Markets



The target markets include US travellers, European travellers, US media, the local industry, domestic and European film and commercial producers, regional media, European media (particularly Britain) and established visitors as well as creating a diverse image across these terrains (Amsterdamtourist, 2009).

Focusing on psychographics (interest of the individual) and demographics (characteristics of the individual such as gender, age, income and occupation), this plan aims to both continue attracting the groups referred to in the market segmentation paragraph in section 3.2 of this plan and also attract further interest from the business market and international market.



  1. Marketing Objective & Strategy


Marketing Objective

The marketing objective of the destination marketing plan is to generate more income from a greater influx of tourists to the city by increasing public awareness of Amsterdam as a vibrant and cosmopolitan city immersed in local and European tradition, incorporating new and globally integrated industry and communities. This is to be accompanied by a functioning tourist industry in Amsterdam that is knowledgeable and able to interact to the consumer’s needs in relation to its image. Hereby to emphasise a diverse image to a range of demographic groups across the European and domestic demographic spanning ages and specific interest groups within the travel industry. The image will focus primarily on technological and localised hospitality culture.

Marketing Strategy

The strategy for the destination plan includes the introduction of holistic approaches to technology. This is marked by an implementation of the technologies in place across the hospitality and tourist industry in Amsterdam as well as embracing local talents from a range of localities and different cultural backgrounds. Others include better generations of information regarding the new image of Amsterdam through their placement in films and commercials. Tours to all regions of Amsterdam will be continued and local service and hospitality businesses will be urged to benefit from these avenues. Furthermore, finance will be gathered through commerce from these local and specific businesses by the advertising of their establishments in a region specific context via holistic websites. This will also increase the identity of a diverse and far spanning Amsterdam. Different languages will be used on the internet and information sites as well as multi-lingual interfaces. However, global English will be used to extend the reach and universality of the associated web sites due to the wide spread use of English throughout the international service industry and its prominence as a second language. Campaigns and seasonally determined promotions will be accompanying the web site and encourage groups to participate in the city. More relaxed excursions will be replaced by more vibrant attractions depending upon the season. By relating this across the domains of industry, including transportation and regions, the diverse aspects of the city can assist the theme of the campaign, whilst emphasising diversity within the theme itself.

Referring to the Ansoff Matrix (1968, cited in Middleton et al., 2009) the above strategies follow the Product Development section of the Matrix; indeed, the marketing strategies of this plan relate to a newer diversification of the tourism product of Amsterdam.


Extended Marketing Mix


  • Products

It must attract the visitors by their wants and needs. This can be done either by promoting the business tourism, entertainment tourism, cultural tourism, historical tourism, nightlife tourism and any other target markets. (Please refer to the Portfolio Summary)

  • Price

The price varies, depending on the type of accommodation in which the visitors will stay. Depending on the group of visitors staying, the strategy involves promoting the styles of accommodation available and prices associated to them, targeting different areas of the tourism market.

  • Place

Easily accessible by air but less by other means of transports such as regional trains and general transport facilities. Moreover, a trip to Amsterdam can easily be booked. The strategy here would be to facilitate local transport and provide more information to visitors about it prior to their stay.

  • Promotion

The promotion side will be made via brochures, literature, and websites, through a variety of Medias, through a holistic approach to technology, campaigns and seasonally determined promotions.

  • People

Attracting people by different methods of promotions, depending on their classification within the targeted markets.

  • Process

It begins from the moment where the potential visitor will come across one of the promotion methods mentioned further up (In the objective and strategies section) and continues throughout the booking and decision process until the actual stay within Amsterdam. Throughout this plan, the strategies elaborated were made with the intention to facilitate the whole process which the visitor will need to go through.

  • Physical evidence

This strategy would include promoting to the visitors in the best way possible, in a way in which they will be able to feel more how it directly relates to the experience they wish to live during their stay.

  1. First year implementations programme




Within the city, it was proposed that brochures could be distributed to potential visitors both within the Netherlands and abroad. The literature and art could be produced with local art communities in mind, incorporating the traditional as well as the youthful aspects of Amsterdam. This change in emphasis, away from the established loutish youth culture of excess, could be brought in to replace the most visible aspects of Amsterdam’s already established promotions (Mudie & Pirrie, 2006). Brochures are said to be one of the most expensive aspects of tourism marketing and shifting the focus to emphasise the three year period of change would be threatened by this (Abson, 1999). However, in relation to the business plan, the majority of these brochures would be financed through the advertising generated from the local tourist industry and other regional businesses, such as museums, transport and retail outlets (Middleton et al, 2009). Brochures could also be expanded to incorporate the pre-existing aspects of Amsterdam and the already established trades within it so as not to be harmed by the new cosmopolitan emphasis of the 2010-2013 direction.


In other areas of marketing, work has achieved the implementation of a global and local brand identity. Partnership work and attraction groups alongside the Dutch national heritage consortia and the local tourist industry and trade are represented through travel trade fairs in the Netherlands and in the neighbouring EU where business relations have already been established. Shows and fairs also occur alongside trade events in the US. The promotional work in this matter is already supported by many of the activities relating to the distributing of guides and brochures. Further, some projects are directly funded by the tourism marketing budget and some are jointly funded in partnership with the local tourism industry. This can be incorporated by the action groups involved.


By establishing a new form of brand in these brochures, that spans a number of commercial terrains, the image of Amsterdam can be traced across all the necessary domains. The demographic consumer groups and their values and preferences can be realised and preserved, while the producers can have a chance to integrate a more diverse tourist (McDonald & Payne, 2006; Lumsden, 1997). This is crucial in that it expands upon the already existing notion of consumer diversity that has marked the global city for some time. However, there are a number of inter-related customs associated with each pre-existing and changing demographics. The focusing upon the influx of youth culture in a way that combines the traditional aspects of Amsterdam with the more global aspects of global tourism mat reconcile the gaps resulting from the decline in loutish youth culture. However, this is not to overlook the number of problematic areas, including the socio-economic climate forecast of the next three years.


Table to show the tasks that will be carried out for the brochures
TasksStart dateEnd date
Making up and brain storming for brochure28.03.201004.04.2010
Design brochure06.04.201002.05.2010
Print brochures08.06.201010.08.2010
Distribution of the brochures around Amsterdam20.09.201010.12.2010








Abson, D. (1999) ‘Strategic Marketing Planning’ In L Pender 133-151 Marketing Management for Travel and Tourism. Stanley Thornes: Cheltenham. (2010) Basic figures from Amsterdam. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2010) (2010) City of Amsterdam – Choosing Amsterdam: Brand, concept and organisation of the city marketing. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2010)


Amsterdam City Guide (2010) Main Page. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2010)


Amsterdamtourist (2009) I Amsterdam. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 01 February 2010)


Blythe, J. (2008) Essentials of Marketing 4th ed. FT Prentice Hall: Harlow


Borg, J., Costa, P., and Gotti, G. (1996) Tourism in European heritage cities Annals of Tourism Research, 1996 Volume 23, Issue 2, 1996, Pages 306-321


Brassington, F. and Pettit, S. (2006) Principles of Marketing 4th ed. FT Prentice Hall: Harlow


(CCAA, 2010) Amsterdam Tourism Congress Bureau. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2010)


Easyexpat (2008) Amsterdam Economy Overview. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2010)




EasyJet (2009) EasyJet confirms extra winter flights. Available at: (Accessed on 26 January 2010)


Francis, G., Fidato, A., & Humphreys, I., (2003) Airport–airline interaction: the impact of low-cost carriers on two European airports Journal of Air Transport Management Volume 9, Issue 4, Pages 267-273


Gössling, S., Peeters, P., Ceron, J, P., and Dubois, G. (2005) The Eco-Efficiency of Tourism. Ecological Economics Volume 54, Issue 4, Pages 417-434


HVS (2008) Space For More? Market Analysis – Amsterdam, The Netherlands. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 01 February 2010)


Lumsdon, L. (1997) Tourism Marketing. International Thomson Business Press: London.


Mayor, K., and Tol, R, S, J. (2009) Aviation and the environment in the context of the EU–US Open Skies agreement Journal of Air Transport Management, Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 90-95


McDonald, M. and Payne, A. (1996) Marketing Planning for Services. Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford


Middleton, V. et al. (2009) Marketing in Travel and Tourism 4th ed. Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford.


Mudie, P. and Pirrie, A. (2006) Services Marketing Management 3rd ed. Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford.


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OS Amsterdam (2010) Research and Statistics Service. Publications: City of Amsterdam – Fact Sheets. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2010)


Telegraph (2007) Air passenger duty to be replaced with a tax. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 26 January 2010)


US Department of State (2010) Background Note: The Netherlands. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.[Online] Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2010)


Wonders, N, A., & Michalowski, R., (2001) Bodies, Borders, and Sex Tourism in a Globalized World: A Tale of Two Cities— Amsterdam and Havana, Social Problems, Vol. 48, No. 4, Pages 545–571.


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World Travel Awards (2010) Europe’s Leading Destination 2009. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 21 January 2010)
















Appendix 1


Used terminology (Definitions):


Ansoff Matrix: is a product-market growth tool that allows marketers to expand their current range or introduce new products in existing/new markets. In which there are four possible product/market combinations: Market Penetration, Product Development, Market Development and Diversification.

Corporate Objectives: is for stakeholders to measure the organisation’s success, reflecting its mission statement.

Marketing Objective: is a precise statement which outlines what is to be accomplished by a company’s marketing activities.

Marketing Mix (7Ps): the seven areas of activity with which marketers are most concerned; product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.

Market Segmentation: the process of categorising consumers into groups with similar needs

Marketing Strategy: is the means by which a marketing objective is achieved.

Mission Statement: A brief description of your organisation’s purpose, answering the basic question “Why do we exist?” Coupled with a vision statement, a mission statement can serve as a baseline for all business planning.

PESTLE analysis: stands for Political, Economical, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Legal and Environmental. A framework of macro-environmental factors used in strategic management.

Primarily secondary research: involves the collection of first-hand existing research material.

SWOT analysis: stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Measures and compares the internal factors of an organisation against the external environment.

Target markets: is a market segment to which a particular product is marketed to; it is usually defined, analysed and lastly evaluated before the final decision is made for that product to enter the market.




Appendix 2











































Appendix 3