Amsterdam Marketing is the city marketing organisation of the Amsterdam area. Its ambition is to make the metropolitan area of Amsterdam one of the five most attractive areas in Europe for citizens, visitors and companies. With the well-known slogan ‘I amsterdam’, Amsterdam Marketing promotes the metropolis as a dynamic living and working area, an attractive travel destination and a testing ground for innovation.
Maintaining the soul of the city
Partially due to the success of I amsterdam, Amsterdam is an increasingly popular destination for visitors from all over the world. Visitors have a great positive impact on the economic prosperity of the area and the rest of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the growth in number of visitors results in a city centre which can, at times, become too crowded.
This development has an increasingly disruptive effect on citizens, visitors and companies in Amsterdam, threatening the soul of the city.
The soul of the city is created by the balance between citizens, visitors and companies in a city. It’s the whole atmosphere of a city and the feeling you get when being there. When this balance is disrupted, the city will lose its charm and pleasant feeling. When there are too many visitors at the same time, citizens become unsatisfied. Unsatisfied citizens result in lower productivity, a less attractive city, displeased companies and a decline in the overall attractiveness of the city as a travel destination. Without the soul of the city there is no future for Amsterdam.
Therefore the main focus for Amsterdam Marketing is maintaining the soul of the city. Keeping it a pleasant city to live, visit and work.
How to achieve this
Amsterdam Marketing has changed its marketing strategy to maintain the soul of the city. The two pillars of this strategy are:
1. To keep visitors (and locals) happy we need to spread visitors over time and space
2. Proud locals are great ambassadors
This meant we needed to shift our focus in the customer journey (awareness, reputation, consideration, sales, loyalty).
Prior to 2015 we put in considerable groundwork to change the reputation of Amsterdam (awareness). Now we want to change the behavior of people coming to Amsterdam, making the visitor consider doing more than just the obvious.
Changing the image
Our international visitors will not consider venturing outside of the city centre when they don’t know what they can see or do there. In order to spread visitors out over time and space we needed to change their perception of Amsterdam.
10 years ago visitors associated Amsterdam with drugs and prostitution, yet now visitors think mainly of beautiful canals and museums. Going forward, we need people to also think of beaches and flowers when thinking of our capital.
Amsterdam is a pretty small European capital. We needed to expand the product to host more visitors and avoid a crowded city centre. The way to achieve this is to make Amsterdam bigger by branding its metropolitan area as Amsterdam.
Zandvoort (beach town near Amsterdam) is now being branded as Amsterdam Beach to our international visitors, and the same goes for Keukenhof (flowers) and Muiderslot (Amsterdam Castle). This way we remove any thresholds and encourage visitors to go beyond the city centre.
Campaign – digital strategy
A logical next step in implementing these changes has been to shift our campaign focus to spreading visitors over time and distance. This means creating campaigns around neighbourhoods and areas of Amsterdam, and a focus on winter events instead of summer.
One of the ways to do this within our digital strategy is to make use of bloggers in order to give the different parts of Amsterdam a voice and a unique story. We showcase a different Amsterdam on our social channels, and are experimenting with live streaming.
We also focus a sizeable amount of our campaign efforts on locals, since proud and happy locals are good ambassadors. For locals we will start a campaign with the focus on all the cultural events in the city of Amsterdam and around it.
Like any other DMO, Amsterdam Marketing has limited resources. That’s why it is important to work together with other stakeholders in the city.
Some of the parties we cooperate with are the CTO of Amsterdam, Ubideo (local live-stream startup) and Universities.
All these efforts have not been without positive results for the city.
• Our ‘Visit Amsterdam, see Holland’ campaign received the UNWTO for innovation in a non-governmental organisation
• Muiderslot (aka Amsterdam Castle) has seen a 100% increase in international visitors
• Visitors are more likely to spend day 3 or 4 of their trip going outside the city centre. We have made that easier by introducing the 96h City Card - and sales of the City Card have increased a great deal in the last half year
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