The tourism sector in Amsterdam is booming with an average annual number of bed nights in the hospitality industry estimated to be around 11 million (Gowling, 2014). The Dutch capital is growing faster than the rest of Holland, and this can be attributed to a number of factors, including its favourable position, the landscape, the tourist sites, and impressive infrastructure among other things.
The Health and Wellness Concept in Holland Tourism Sector
The health and wellness concept in tourism is especially lucrative in Amsterdam because of the numerous activities that tourists can participate in to boost their health and wellness. Cycling is particularly common in this part of Holland, thus appealing to a larger European market that is also very comfortable with cycling as a way of keeping fit while also enjoying the sites, and in some cases, competing against new and old friends. The presence of wellness spas also adds value to the destination for the health and wellness tourist, whose main inspirations include relaxing and rejuvenating themselves physically and mentally as well as socially in some cases. From the presentation, it was concluded that the sector is rather strong and can be built on to significantly increase Amsterdam’s performance in terms of tourism. This will require strategic market planning with the specific aim of attracting tourists from all parts of the world to come to Amsterdam and enjoy a holiday, where relaxing and exercising come together seamlessly.
Choice of the Target Market
A significant number of tourists in Amsterdam are from the UK (OIS, 2011). These are usually people in their prime, with the means and often the need to travel and enjoy their lives occasionally. Most of these individuals lead busy lives, and thus they need to be able to take a few days every now and then to just relax and do things that they enjoy more than their work (OIS, 2011). Others are well past their active years and thus need a chance to enjoy Amsterdam while also catering to their health and wellness needs. The health and wellness tourism package in this case mostly targets people who are in need of better health and wellness, without compromising on fun and adventure as they take time off their normal life schedules to indulge in the Amsterdam tourist scene. Based on the demographic analysis, some of the main characteristics that are considerably specific and important for this target market include their sensitivity to health issues, their need for good deals in terms of convenient and relevant packages, detailed itineraries for their cycling excursions, and the social angle to their activities since they generally enjoy making new friends and spending quality time with old ones (OIS, 2011). About 70% of these tourists are expected to be males aged between 30 and 50, with up to 41% travelling alone, while 50% come in small groups (Gowling, 2014). Based on this data, it is conceivable that the majority of these tourists (47%) fall within an annual income range of between £60,000 and £80,000 (Gowling, 2014).
The Multivariable Considerations Applied in the Justification of the Chosen Target Market
In order to fully grasp the potential of the UK target market in the health and wellness tourism in Amsterdam, it is important to examine various variables that are very significant for the chosen market and the industry. First, there is the question of tourist interests. People generally have different reasons for traveling: some need a break from their daily routines; others have some business engagements that they are willing to use to enjoy Amsterdam; others are on an academic trip or any other reason. People from the UK in this case can be seen to enjoy the sites of Amsterdam regardless of their specific interests in the city. Consequently, the idea here is to ensure that each of the tourists can find packages that are relevant to their interests. Those on longer holidays are able to get detailed cycling excursions, while those on a short break have to settle for shorter cycling trips around the city between meetings.
When indulging in wellness tourism, there is a wide range of possible benefits sought by the UK population (Walsh, 2014). Some choose active vacations in order to lose weight or restore their physical fitness, and others resort to it in order to dispense that extra energy that they have been accumulating while sitting in the office on normal working days. The need to do something like cycling is thus a definitive aspect for this target market.
There are also those tourists who simply love Amsterdam and are thus loyal to the tourist scene here. These include individuals who have had the chance to visit the city or even read about it and for some reason have been able to fall in love with it. Targeting these individuals means that the campaign will be arousing an interest that is pre-existing, thus creating some loyalty that could then be enhanced through an effective service delivery in terms of the cycling experience. Cycling can also be considered as one of the popular activities in the UK, with the majority of the residents having travelled far more by cycling than any other means of transport (De Lacey, 2013). This makes cycling very dear to the UK population, meaning that they are likely to identify easily with this product and some excitement. They are already familiar with the concept of cycling as a way of travelling, exercising, socializing, and simply having a good time with friends, family, strangers, or alone. In regard to the buyer readiness, it can be appreciated that the UK population is already aware of cycling tourism, and thus they are mostly at an advanced stage where they simply need to be told of the details in order to get them to engage. This means that the marketing will not have to focus so much on promoting cycling as a functional sport since these buyers have already grasped this concept as a part of their culture.
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Market Focus and Segmentation
The main strategy here is to attract tourists from the UK to visit Amsterdam and enjoy cycling as a part of their health and wellness-based trip. The target market is the UK tourists; and in order to get to them, there are a number of strategies that this business will have to consider. First, there is a great need for market segmentation considering that the UK population is rather large and thus not very helpful in terms of creating narrower market focus opportunities for customized marketing communications. This market can be segmented along various lines, including age, income, and travel purpose.
Tourists from the UK range in age, from those that are below 30 to those that are over 60 (Euromonitor, 2014). For this reason, there will be three distinct age groups for the purpose of this strategy. The first category will be those under 30; most of them travel in groups for academic, leisure, and other work-related purposes depending on their situation. Those between 30 and 60 are, on the other hand, mostly on business, family trips, or simply a break from work and family to explore the world and meet new people (Euromonitor, 2014). Those above 60 usually travel to enjoy their retirement, although some are also on business at this age. Consequently, each of these age groups will require a specific strategy to attract them to cycling tourism in Amsterdam.
There are also various packages in health and wellness tourism, each one focusing on the needs of a given income bracket. There are some five-star packages that include high-end spa treatments and meals as well as luxurious accommodation in hotels, villas, or cottages, depending on the customer’s preference. These are meant for those on a large budget, with the ability to afford all these luxuries. This package thus aims at the high-income segment of the UK target market. The middle-income tourists are given some comfortable alternatives as well, including meals, sometimes accommodation, and even an occasional spa treatment. The idea is to make it enjoyable, very memorable, and affordable to this market segment. Those on a lower budget are not neglected here. The business also offers packages that include cycling routes with optional stop-overs for meals and some rest, depending on the customer’s needs. The low-income cycling tourists are also given the chance to enjoy the city at their budget, thus making sure that they are not excluded from the market.
It can be noted that there are so many reasons for these customers to travel to Amsterdam. In most cases, it is leisure, business, or academics. Leisure in this case includes shopping, visiting friends and family, and sight-seeing, while business incorporates work-related trips and commuting. Those coming to Amsterdam for leisure mostly have a lot of time and are thus more likely to take the longer cycling packages that include accommodation in various hotels and spa treatments (Kelly, 2013). However, those traveling on business are more limited in terms of their time, meaning that they have to fit in very small excursions that may last for one afternoon or a single day, depending on their individual circumstances. The educational tourists are rather different, considering that they are often in the city for a longer time and can thus access the packages at any time. However, their common and mostly definitive trait is the group experiences since they enjoy being with their peers and bonding over cycling challenges.
Image and Positioning Strategy
Amsterdam is a very unique city in Europe, with its numerous tourist attractions and infrastructural developments among other things that set it apart from other cities across the world (Kelly, 2014). The current image and position are limited to infrastructure, history, and culture as well as the technological advancements that the region has been able to benefit from. However, there is a need to change this image to a fun-filled destination for enjoying activities like cycling and socializing while also getting spa treatments and relaxing. To create this image, there is a need to establish the factors that make Amsterdam a great place to go cycling and just relax. Consequently, it can be concluded that the first step towards an effective positioning strategy is in identifying the city’s strengths with respect to what the tourists expect to experience. The uniqueness of a health and wellness tour to Amsterdam must be determined and thus communicated effectively to the customers through the marketing campaigns. In this case, the great weather, flat landscapes, dedicated and well-maintained cycling trails, and the availability of bicycles are some of the most significant factors that need to be brought to the customers’ knowledge (Mintel, 2014). The main positioning strategy is related to the product class, with Amsterdam standing out as the ideal destination for cycling and thus health and wellness tourism.
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Customer Engagement and Relationship Building
In order to get to the customers and ensure that they are actually a part of the process of building the brand of Amsterdam as an ideal destination in health and wellness tourism, there is a need to develop great and innovative customer engagement strategies. In this case, it can be noted that the target market belongs to a country that is well-developed and has a high Internet connectivity percentage. This means that the campaign can create the online presence in order to ensure that the customers are able to engage fully and at all times with each other and their service providers. Consequently, the primary aim is to provide the potential customers with easy access to both the services and the information online, from their peers, or print and broadcast media, depending on their specific preferences. Therefore, the main strategy is to provide information on all relevant platforms, including social media, travel websites, tourism programs on TV, magazines, brochures, and podcasts as well as to create online platforms (Swarbrooke, 2007). In this case, people can book cycling trips, raise their concerns and questions, engage other customers to obtain insight into their potential cycling experiences, and simply enjoy being a part of a community that loves cycling in Amsterdam or anywhere else in the world. Consistency is a key factor for this strategy, considering that there is a need to ensure that the customers are always interested. This means generating content that is relevant to all the cycling tourists on a regular basis while also being able to interact with them directly through the live chats and user chat rooms on the travel and cycling websites.
Potential Strategic Issues
The first potential strategic issue is the lack of awareness: there is a significant portion of the UK population that is yet to discover the potential of Amsterdam as a destination for health and wellness tourism. Health and wellness is a relatively new concept in the tourism and hospitality industry; therefore, the market awareness on its existence and potential benefits to the consumers is limited. Consequently, it can be expected that there will be a promotional strategy specifically aimed at creating and spreading the market awareness on health and wellness tourism (Swarbrooke, 2007). The SMART objective is to ensure that at least 90% of the UK citizens are aware of Amsterdam’s position as an ideal destination for health and wellness tourism along with the benefits of cycling and getting spa treatments in Holland when they relax or spend their short breaks from business and academic engagements in the city (NBTC Research, 2009).
Regarding the promotion of the existing image, there is a clear need to spread the idea of Amsterdam as the place to visit for health and wellness tourism to the masses in the UK. This means that rather than relying on the museums, culture, and geography of the city to lure tourists before engaging them in cycling activities, there is a need to attract them to the city specifically for cycling activities as well (Swarbrooke, 2007). It would be nice to have individuals and groups leaving their homes to visit and participate in cycling in Amsterdam. To actualize this possibility, the planned strategy is to actively engage people who enjoy cycling and encourage them with videos and pictures of cycling trails, cycling groups, and other interesting experiences like spa treatments that are a part of the health and wellness tourism. The SMART objective is to fully introduce Amsterdam to the UK as an ideal location for cycling and getting spa treatments among other relaxing activities.
Tactical Marketing Campaign
The product in this case is the health and wellness experience in Amsterdam; and in order to sell it, there is a need to package it in a way that is relevant to the target market. The first consideration here is the full package offer for UK residents which may include flights, accommodation, itinerary, meals as well as spa treatments, depending on the tourist’s budget and preferences. The customers need to be able to enjoy their cycling trip in Amsterdam as well as spa treatments without having to feel uncomfortable in any way. This is why planning and packaging the entire trip is a better tactic. The customers will be enticed to purchase the package if it seems easy enough, without compromising on its significance in their lives. Regarding the place, distribution channels in this case can be anywhere, especially considering the need to improve accessibility of the product. Consequently, the campaign will ensure an online presence where people can not only book their trips but also pay, confirm, and even provide reviews of their whole experience afterwards. This implies the need to create a comprehensive website and call centre where customers’ needs will be catered for at all times. As for the pricing strategies, the aim is to make cycling in Amsterdam an affordable experience for all the income brackets involved. For this reason, the pricing strategies will be limited to the cost of the trip in terms of the customer’s preferences on transport, accommodation, and meals as well as the wellness treatments. Promotion is the main part here since the industry is considerably new; therefore, it will require extensive promotional activities.
The strategy is to create a consistent online presence in the social networks like Facebook and Twitter in order to keep interacting with the customers and informing them of any developments regarding discounts, new packages, new routes, and any upcoming events (Evans & McKee, 2010). To do this, there will be a need for a full-time social media marketing team that will be specializing in communicating with the customers, answering their questions, and ensuring that they receive an updated content all the time. This is in line with the need for an increased market presence and awareness, given that social media allow access to more people over a shorter period and at a lower cost (Evans & McKee, 2010). Print and broadcast media will also be a great part of the communications mix as there will be some TV programs and print advertisements aimed at encouraging the masses to partake in health and wellness tourism by cycling in Amsterdam.
Implementation and Control
The key performance indicators are basically the number of the UK tourists visiting the city and partaking in cycling and spa treatments. This means that as part of the evaluation and control over the implementation of these strategies, there will be a number of regular reports and meetings aimed at ensuring that all the SMART objectives are being achieved (Dess et al., 2012). This marketing campaign is focused on increasing the number of tourists in the health and wellness sector; therefore, the numbers should be very significant during the implementation and control of the strategy. The high increase in the number of cycling tourists from the UK will be indicative of success on the part of the marketing strategy.
In order to promote cycling amongst tourists from the UK, it is advisable to use social media as a main communication tool to get to as many potential customers as possible. The choice in induced by the fact that the majority of the tourists belonging to ages 15 to 65 can be accessed easily through the Internet. The others can then be found through print and broadcast media, thus allowing the campaign to achieve its objectives related to market awareness, customer engagement, and relationship building. However, the main challenges comes from the concept of image and positioning, where there is still a need to enlighten the masses on the significance of health and wellness tourism. People are aware of the benefits of being healthy, but they are yet to associate health and wellness with tourism; consequently, it requires more work on this front in order to significantly improve the sector’s growth potential. It can be noted that as a part of implementation and control, there will also be a need to compile frequent reports on the state of tourism in Amsterdam with a special focus on the tourists from the UK and their participation in cycling and spa treatments. Moreover, this information may be easily obtained from the Internet, given that there will be many avenues for these tourists to give reviews and offer their expert opinion to other potential customers with questions and concerns prior to their cycling trips.