Conrad van Tiggelen, promoting Holland as a destination and a brand

Conrad van Tiggelen is marketing director of NBTC Holland Marketing, the organization that is responsible for promoting the image of Holland as a desirable destination for  Leisure and business travelers. Although this might seem straightforward, in reality his organization is involved in a lot of research and applies powerful marketing tools such as  mentality segmentation including personas.

Let’s start from the beginning. Van Tiggelen took the position of marketing director in 2011, and since then he has been telling his team and the authorities that even though the main goal is to promote  Holland  as a destination, NBTC should take this a step further and strengthen the international marketing power of the whole country.  According to Conrad, destination marketing is inseparable from nation branding and therefore it is important to look at the big picture.

Nation branding (the way a country is perceived) can make a critical difference not only for successful tourism efforts, but also for business and trade, as well as the cultural relations with other nations. It is worth mentioning that Holland is ranking among the top 15-countries worldwide.
The ranking study measures awareness, familiarity, preference, consideration, advocacy and active decisions to visit or interact with the countryA  country’s brand strength is driven by perceptions of culture and heritage, tourism, exports, investement and Immigration, governance and its people.

Generally, Holland is seen as an easy going and welcoming holiday country. The Dutch are regarded as tolerant, open, friendly and welcoming. This is evident from the image study that NBTC has performed in 2012 in thirteen main countries of origin of foreign tourists .

In addition to an easy going and welcoming holiday country, Holland is also seen as easily accessible and an ideal country for short breaks. The well-known and deep-rooted Dutch icons such as tulips, windmills and cheese are still the first associations with Holland. The landscape, Amsterdam and ‘cycling country’ are mentioned as most positive characteristics of our country.

Despite the generally positive picture of the Netherlands and the Dutch, the attractiveness of our country as a holiday destination has dropped in some source markets compared to four years ago, says Conrad van Tiggelen: ” More and more countries, regions and cities are working on beefing up their image and are for a share of the wallets of national and international guests. Competition is fierce. So it is not a foregone conclusion that Holland will automatically benefit from global or European growth. It continues to be necessary to –jointly- promote ‘Holland’ systematically among potential travelers.

visit-holland=app has also a very popular iPhone app: Visit Holland

“The image of a country is determined by more factors than just tourism. Culture and heritage, export, government, investment and immigration policies and people all play a role. Improving the image is therefore a shared responsibility. It is essential to create a clear vision and a branding strategy for ‘Holland’ that extends beyond tourism only. The NBTC is therefore in discussion with key stakeholders from various ministries , as the government  is also aware of the importance of a joint approach that covers multiple fields”

Regular surveys are helpful, but to create the most effective promotional campaigns Van Tiggelen and his team use marketing tools such as mentality segmentation and personas based upon  . Motivaction adjusted in cooperation with NBTC its Mentality  model that is based on values and lifestyle research, so it is applicable to an international travel audience. This segmentation model allows NBTC to have much deeper insights into customer behavior than traditional classifications based on age, gender, education and income. This research method offers an effective input for the NBTC communication strategy, taking into account differences in values and lifestyles of consumers.


Segmentation model

NBTC receives government funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and cooperates intensively with relevant parties within and outside the hospitality sector. Together, they attract visitors who spend money in Holland. This partnering is logical because NBTC and their partners are all pursuing the same goal. At the same time, this approach creates more marketing power for ‘Holland’.

Digital marketing is an important tool within NBTC’s marketing”communication strategy, NBTC presents Holland both on partner sites like Expedia and Orbitz, and on its own digital tools  where the main website plays a central role . This website attracts more than 6 million visitors each year.

So if you will feel a sudden desire to visit Holland for a short break or a longer holiday, you know how effective Van Tiggelen’s  team is.

Author: Bea Stanford

Bea Stanford is the founder of the Best Dutch Brands website.

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