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Marketing North Sea Trail Netherlands

MARKETING ACTIVITIES North Sea Trail Netherlands Report prepared for the NAVE Nortrail Business Development and Marketing Group Haarlem 29 march 2006

NAVE-NORTRAIL BY JUDITH ERNST

This report is for use by the NAVE-Nortrail project only Š 2006

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Marketing North Sea Trail Netherlands

Content I. Introduction - The Process II. The marketanalyses 1. Trends 2. Targetgroups 3. Positioning NST vs. concurrenten/partners 4. Analysis of stregth and weaknesses 5. Products with the best chance III. The program – NST-NL In practice 6. Productdevelopment 7. Promotional strategy and activitities

Appendix A. Targetgroups B. Products C. NST-Netherlands Program

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I. Introduction - The Process II. The marketingplan –setting your goals and actions The main purpose of making such plans is to set priorities for the products that are going to be developed including a choice of the markets/groups on which these will targeted. Often we start with lets do this or that, the products or our narrow ideas of what is needed as a developer/supplier start to lead instead of the marketdemands. Getting on/into the market by researching it is an important action to open up ideas an develop effective strategies. This process involves: 1. Defining specific goals; The general goals of NST-international are not specific enough to be able to work with locally –they need to be narrowed down; What do they mean locally? In extensive talks we started the whole process by defining each partners goals and wishes; Netherlands: One province wanted recreation for inhabitants, the other wanted to generate income for business; we decided that the plan should cater different regional focus; -The main goal economic development would mean: chosing for new product development, making sure that all the generate income for businesses and/or developing new roads for generating income (so no ‘free’-products with government money, they don’t generate income and cannot be maintained on the long-term). We defined for which business it would be; not the whole coastal range, but only 2 km radius from the path (725 businesses); - Thus defining/using the cultural and natural heritage as e means/tool to accomplishing this goal. - Thus strictly excluding educational purposes, welfare purposes etc. - A subgoal is chosen: promoting walking as a sportive and healthy way of spending recreational activities. 2. Research the market (suppliers and consumerdemands) using available figures and trendanalysis; The market is researched on both the offer and consumer side. Collect figures Research figures give good insight to what products make sense to develop. A lot of research is available to get more insight in the amounts of people that participate in activities, buy certain products and general trends of changing consumer patterns; government statistics national, provincial and municipal; on sport, recreation and tourism participation (walking is one of the catagories); the amount of incoming tourists from which countries; how big is the group of possible customers; check amounts of people interestgroups by looking at numbers that are members of certain clubs, that read magazines, participate in events; 3. Talking with a broad range of organisations and businesses in the market; What products have they been developing in recent years; failures and successes of businesses and organisations operating in the same market or selling similar products or catering to the targetgroup you are investigating; most organisations are extremely willing to share their figures and experience and own research; 4. Analyse your figures and position NST-products and activities

Analysing the market Look at trends and targetgroups; What’s going on?

Marketdemands NST

Where are you going to position NST-activities and products?

Market suppliers Which organisations have been succesfull with new products towards your targetgroups?

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The marketingplan II describes the analysis and choices that have been made. The marketingplan (II) will narrow down the possibilities and give a direction and priority to the work. III. Marketing plan is basis for execution –promotionalplan and productdevelopment A second plan is needed the promotional and excecutionplan for the development of the promotional activities an the products itself, including a financial plan (how is the money going to be allocated). A clear starting point and ending point of this promotional campaign is needed. Only if you have chosen/selected specific groups does it make sense to start looking at possible media/intermediary organisations for promotion. The execution plan is an integrated plan, the products should be developed as a whole of products that support and strengthen each other to make them most effective. Often adjustment of the plan and products is needed while operating and developing it in the field.

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1. Markets and trends What are the most important and what the most popular themes by which you can attract potential consumers and to which NST can connect? Which products are typical for these markets and trends? Define the trends that have the highest potential for success. And look at the fases of the adoptionpatterns. The most important trends fit very will with the possibilities for promoting and developing NSTwalking. Thus we chose the most important trends, going from big to small. In the last two trends NST can even play a frontrole by providing products and the cultural heritage backgroundinformation.

Trends and adoptionpatterns

Active experiences Cultural identity Back to basic The purpose of life

Active outdoors, Sportive, Nordic-walking, gadgets, gps, geochaching History; why are we who we are? The real stories, no entertainment; nostalgic feelings; preservation of the old; museums Pelgrimage, sabbaticals, quiet time Mass Market/ Followers

Early Adopters/ Pioneers

End of Life/ laggers

Central trends in the Dutch free-time and walking market to which NST-Netherlands can relate: • The experience and adventure market is blooming; with visitors to attraction parks (Disneyworld),thrillseeking and special events. In open-air activities biking and walking routes that are geared to being involved in a broad variety of experiences, puzzelroutes, theatrical routes, artroutes are very succesfull. The entertainmentparks are waning in popularity and also the outdoor recreation parks. But a combination of outdoor and experiencing has hardly been made and just recently successfully being developed. • Sportive and healthy; Walking and biking are the most important ways for outdoar active experiencing. Active is competitive; how far, how fast, how high; briskwalking, Nordic walking clubs. Active is healthy, wellness-culture Germany; • Interests in technology and gadgets; combined with the higher demands for comfort and efficiency; fully organised package deals to be booked through internet; GPS-routefinding and geocaching involve non- traditional walkinggroups with younger participants. • Back to basics mean people are looking less for entertainment but real experiences meeting people with real stories and simpler forms of experiencing; hay mattresses-agrotourism; rambliner family-hikes; storytellingfestivals; human –interest on tv instead of actors; tourism products as ‘peeping at your neighbour’ , give opportunity with meeting poeple • Socialising and sharing experiences is an important focus; doing activities together in a need to compensate a more individualistic time, quality family time; groupcouches in beach resorts; singles-groupwalks; The technology also provides the possibilities for sharing experiences; chatrooms, fora, foto-sites on internet for sharing experiences are well visited also on walking and hiking (the walkingcafee -biggest commercial walking organisation- is well visited) • Questions of identity are being raised, in the ongoing international conflicts; local products, stories, languages, culture walks and history are strongly in revival. A search for meaning; the stories behind the landscape-interest in natural history is waning- but the landscape as a cultural product; not just information but explanation- why is it different in other countries; Preservation of the past; monuments, artefacts in musea, nostalgic images, old-crafts markets; ancient walking routes; The international aspect of NST provides a good background; • In compensating their stressfull lives people look for the quiet and peace of nature; a small but important upcoming trend; slow-movement; silent walks of the mayor television company; pilgrimage and sabbaticals, walking-coaches; retreats in convents. © 2006

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2. Targetgroups 2.1 Research targetgroups Which targetgroups could we interest in NST, the path, walking or theme’s/products that can be related to NST? How important/big are the different groups? And which segments are the most important? Which groups are going to be involved in product development and which only in promotional activities? Research has been done on usergroups and a list of potential groups. A description followed for each targetgroup in terms of: • typification; what activities, products, interests, clubs, magazines, age, sex, solitary or in a group, package consumers or organising by themselves; • size; number of members, readers of magazine, research figures on participation now and potentially • segments; a devision in segments is made when characteristics differ strongly and size makes this sensible. Thus making identification clearer and being able to direct promotional activities more focussed.

Targetgroups Main users of the path (NST); law-long-distance routes and railroaddayhikes by train; Potential new targetgroups What possible groups? 1. Walkers Which segments? 2. Active open-airInclude in tourists productdevelopment 3. Nature oriented and/or promotion? tourists 4. Culture tourists 5. Coastal tourists 6. Incoming tourists; foreigners

The two most important and largest groups are discussed here as an example: 1. Walkers; segments; • long-distant walkers -traditional first users- 15-30km–ongoing walkers – year round –using public transportation –using law-guidebooks (300.000 participating –potentially 900.000); and day-walks developed by the dutch railroads NS on law-paths–age 30-70 (1,2 million yearly) • sportwalking (2 sportsorganisations with 680 local groups have 900.000 participants per year in their organised walks) –walk on roads not footpaths nog use of LAW-paths – families- ; 3050 km; big-events; high frequency- weekly walks- more than 30 km per week; members 50+ • outdoor-hiking; backpackers and mountaineering clubs- 20-50, adventure and finding out for oneself –non organised- Nordic walking, gps; geared to trips abroad; (200.000 magazine members-potential unknown). 2. Open air day-recreationist; They are omnivorous; they go for short and intermediate walks (15km), but not for the purpose of walking, it is a mixed and integrated product, using different interchangable activities as walking, biking, boating, riding, combined with culture, nature and use of facilities (sleeping and eating). Out of summer are the most important walking periods for this group, with mostly people from metropolitan westcoast area in Holland making day-hikes and 85 % walk in a friend or familygroup; 90% by car to walk; the weeknd with sunday as alltime favourite (47%) and 37% of the walks during the week. Services and information supply are the most important in products, as 62 % still organises everything themselves and 36% uses packages with accommodation in it. A variety of choice is a very important factor, so no heavy total package deals are bought. 20% of the trips are © 2006

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made to coastal region; 15% of all outings are walks; adding up to 66 million walkingtrips in 2002. Two thirds of all recreational trips is short: midweek or weekend. Selected segmentation for walking participation • 25- 45 segment (29%) dinkys, singles and solitary walkers • 50+ (45 to 65 jaar) (34%) walks with partner, healthy old age, need comfortable facilities and strong interest in history, growing segment (65+ hardly existing); • Youth (15-25 jaar) only 5,5%, mostly sportive and adventure with technological gadgets. Only the image of the mountainering and sportsclubs draw these groups. • Women (63% vs men) are the decision makers of the outings for both a en b segments and the majority of walkers, walk in groups hardly ever alone. • Grootfamilies/gezinnen (50% versus partners, singles and groups); parents with kids in groups prefer short roundwalks with a lot of variation; Marketdevelopment targetgroups; An overview of targetgroups and choices made for NST-NL concerning productdevelopment and promotional activities is given in Appendix A. Some conclusions on chances and limitations for NST-NL: • No expansion in the segment of the traditional walkers can be expected for NST. With a more sportive and adventures image/product for NST, expansion from the both other walking segments (sportswalkers and outdoor-adventure hiking) seem to be a good possibility. • Although the group of pilgrimswalkers (Santiago de C.). are not traditional walkers (they don’t do it for the purpose of the walk but of the inner peace or spiritual goal) is yet still small the expansions of this is quickly growing trend (spiritual walks Main TV-company -almost becoming a new segment). This group of ‘pilgrimswalkers’ fit very well with the traditional Lawproduct-type of accommodation etc. • The sportswalking groups + organisations are still growing after they have moved into the field of events-puzzle and action oriented activities and moving into the tourism business with package deals linked to their events. • Open air day-recreationist represent an enormous potential, but only by facilitating much easier access to the NST will they become users. Both with transportation, information, services and with waymarking. The railrood-walks have proven to be a good step-up for these participants that otherwise make ‘round-walks’ (form A around and back to A) instead of line walks (from A to B) which NST represents. Overnight facilities need more comfort than the traditional Law-choice for sober facilities or taking ones own sandwich along for the day. The traditional tourist-organisations and media that cater these groups are totally not focussed on walking, in contrary to biking package deals that have a large place in their offers. (NBTCnational tourist site from the government specifies biking as an activity you can look up, walking is not to be found). Technological supportfacilities also need to be better developed. • Nature tourism allthough large groups (NM- 1million members, and 4000 guided waks a year with 90.000 particpants), are not a good targetgroup for NST-Nl; They are very well catered to with execellent information and waymarking by national parks and forestry services and other large nature-preservation-organisations. NST can hardly provide new or even comparing products, they are welldevolped. The only possibility lies in partnerships/using their promotional channels in the field of cultural landscape history . A field in which the ‘national forestry” are also moving trying to expand with the declining interest in natural history. • Germans are the main coastal touristgroup (Holland and Zeeland) in summer and largest groups of foreign tourists to Holland; the natural dune area is one of the integrated factors for summer holidays in Holland (low income an expenditure and low level education). An NSTproduct would have to be developed with high costs in German and with low expenditure patterns will hardly be possible to sell and maintain. And they stay mainly in summer, thus not generating more incoming tourists because the capacity is at its max in summer. But the group of culturally interested German visitors is of importance (high level education and expenditure pattern make English NST-products possible with 6,7 million trips to NL in the last 3 years.) • Combined with English and other tourists to Holland who mainly visit Holland because of the cultural side a product might be developed concerning the cultural heritage of NST . Not so good for expanding visits is the fact that main visits are also in march to september. Growth of incoming tourism is mostly from America, Azia, Scandinavia. Shortening of trips from England because of low-cost-carriers. • Cultural tourist (foreign and dutch)mainly focus on citytrips up till now, but can be interested to actively participate in walking with theme-art-folktale-culture walks also in the non-urban landscape of NST. Good services are provided from the main tourist sales organisations.Can promotionwise easily be reached by NST through the well organised tourist structure. © 2006

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3. Positioning NST towards competitors/partners 3.1 Who are the main players /suppliers on the market with what kind of porducts? Thus looking at both ‘fysical-developers’ –route and waymarking- as productdevelopers that use the existing routes.

Market Competition/Players Strong and large organizations in nature and landscape recreation with cheap and solid information.

Define national competitors/partners in terms of route developers and maintainers, information products, sales capacity, sustainability • •

The main players in the market; their strengths and weaknesses Successful new developments and failures

Lots of routes for active recreation with free information as service (rail-company, Automobile Association). Few commercial organizations develop sustainable walking products for tourists in Holland; failure often in (accommodation and organizational) capacity. Small but successful pioneers in pelgrimage, theming (specific interest themes) and challenge experiences with new technology.

Fysical route development is mostly done by (semi)governmental institutions on all levels. For long-distance routes as NST the national government (nowadays provincial) has done this by subsidising LAW, the platform of all walking organisations that also maintain these routes. Rarely tourist organisations operate in this field and if they do it is allways with funding. The first non LAW long-distance route developed from the tourist sector with subsidy also from Europe (Euregional project with Germany) is still a major success (30.000 books sold). It set a new standard for route-information, integrating more cultural information and activities (next to nature and landscape that was standard) and higher standards for facilities, developing the first package deals for walkers with local businesses. Forestry and nature preservation areas, develop their own mostly short daypaths (2-10km) on their own terrains, having often fenced off areas, with one entrance. On a very small scale commercial organisations have undertaken route-development, but only by the largest commercial walking organisation in Holland (SNP-Nature travel-also biggest in Europe). They work together with the biggest developer in the field for bikingroutes and automobile routes the automibile association ( ANWB_AA-biggest recreation organisation) who up till recently only developed walkingpaths by assignment of these governments. Productdevelopers for packagedeals and informationproducts; routeguidebooks, maps, information panels etc. As municipal and provincial governments develop routes for the welfare of their citizens routeinformation-products were mostly free. In recent times they give the subsidised task to touristorganisations, these will ask a small fee to consumers, to be able to maintain the product (a stuructural subsidy as with LAW until last year) which was done in former years is not being done the last couple of years. Pioneer is Province of South-Holland with development of first routeinternetsite. © 2006

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Also the 2 largest organisations, the AA/ANWB and National Rails have developed routeguidebooks and leaflets mostly as a service to their comsumer and membergroups. Thus setting a standard in Holland for free/cheap and good quality route-information. SNP(/AA) who were the pioneers (since 1990) in commercially organised group and individual walking package trips all over the world have moved into productdevelopment for nichemarkets, travelkids programs and the experience/adventure market, rough-adventure routes, the only products that they find succesfull within Holland. They also set a new high standard for information products for walkers. And have a good distribution and sales organisation. Much better organised than the semicommercial Tourist-organisations. Media-some media mostly printed- have moved into developing theme walks as a product (using maps and routedescription without waymarking or sometimes other routes), some organise with LAW or accommodations package deals. Depending on the magazine they can be a hit, but often problems arise with insufficient capacity because of these strongly roused peak-interest.Again it is seen as a service to the readers. The most successful are the Christian paper and tv-channel using walking as a way of reflection and distressing. Some magazines from AA are commercially exploitable. Accommodations in cooperation with tourist organisations have sporadically organised package walkingdeals, it is done from an active sportive view and never in the field of experience or pilgrimage. Cultural organisations are starting to develop routes. Pioneer is Euregional ‘Kunstwegen’, land-art route major success with artscene in Germany. Mostly subsidised like a theatrical production or event non permanent structure. A lot is done successfully with experiencing local history and products.

3.3. Conclusions for NST • The most succesfull routes are those that are well maintained over a longer period both fysically, productwise as promotional wise. Thus NST products and path needs to be intergrated fully in a maintanable organisational structure. • Producing information as NST by its self, has very limited chance of success looking at the high quality and lavish amounts of subsidised or free materials. Prices can not be commercialised. As to the content: there is definite lack of more in depth and specialised information on local (landscape) history in a context of a search for identity and meaning of both culturtourists and reacreational ‘pelgrims’. • There are a lot of suppliers on the recreational side for active and sportive walks. This market is overflowing. Only chance for NST lies in moving into the experience-product-market linked to technological gadgets; gps and internetroutes; • The market of cultural identity and meaning/pelgrimage is almost unexplored terrain. NST can play a pionering role in developing some of these products. The product is excellent for this and incidental activities from the cultural sector show strong interest. • Developing partnerships as NST with other organisations is the most productive strategy, since the project will finish organisations that can maintain the products need to be involved. Large organisations in the specific markets of the targetgroups with well organised distribution systems offer the best possibilities. Cooperation is also a must in a leisure market that is very competitive. Large musea, Automibile Ass., national railway and national forestry service are potentially the biggest and most stabel partners, and not so much LAW, with little organisational and new productdevelopment capacity. Partnerships with the large sportswalking organisations would also make a valuable partnership.

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4. Strenght and weaknesses of NST? How does the coastal path compare to the other leisure and walking products in the market? Where are good opportunities and what are the limitations?

NST Positioning Strength and weaknesses of The NST-route; fysical, facilities, acces Walking; small action radius, active experience,healthy NST-organisation; capacity and sustainability

• Longest route in NL • Transnational aspect; information level-one up (cultural identity) NST and walking in general especcially offer opportunities to people looking for the quiet and rest of walking/pelgrimage goals. A relaxing and sportive form of leisure for walkers. Businesses do not have sufficient knowledge nor see the opportunities this market offers. In the experience-orientedreacreational market, walking has an old-fashioned image. The NST-coastal path has a high quality of natural areas through which it passes (exceptional for Holland) with a great variation in landscapes. Still it can’t compete with the favourites (Limburg forest and hills and Veluwe forest and heather) in public opinion. Only in the 2 provinces of Holland the large cultural attractions and musea, are just at hand. In the other provinces qualities remain mostly the silence and experiencing the elements like water and wind. Small fishery and Northsea trading villages, fortifications, lighthouses offer a lot to culture tourists to see and experience the ancient landscapes. Facilities along the route (330 to stay overnight) are mostly sufficient (only not in summers in South and North Holland –max of capacity) but often rather simple (youth-hostels and naturefriends houses). Fine for the back to basics trend. But especially if you want to have more comfort/luxury not much is available –for one night stay. NST needs to look for more of this type of partners. Facilities like musea, cafees and restaurants are numourous but especially in the off season or out of weekend and in Groningen, Friesland and Zeeland not very often open, thus a limiting factor. Parkingfacilites and/or public transportation also pose limitations. Facilities as gates or step-overs and picknick places need to be improved for broader use of walkers (50+ and recreational users). (This will also be done in the NST budget by LAW) The fact that NST is the longest walking route (725) has a strong promotional point. Difficulties lie in the fact that it was never marketed as one route ( 5 different names are known). Difficulties lie in another long distance walking route in Holland (Pieterpad at the eastern border 685km, almost similar in public opinion to long distance path) and uptill now the longest, an image which is very hard to counter. But possible with a new name to market, waymarking with NST and integrated productdevelopment. Expanding this for walkingsporters and adventure walkers can be a strong point in an adventure product. This can be an experience in itself. The international aspect is a plus and a minus, people expect it to be a path around the Northsea (how many miles?) but it is a network of parth not a connecting path. For explorers there is a lot to do still and on the cultural information-theme the transnational aspect can be a strong plus when it is worked out well.

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Regional qualities and limitations • The Frisian IJsselmeercoast offers the best cultural connection history wise with the North Sea Theme’s and other countries. Also Groningen and Zeeland with its small historic and nostalgic villages offer good possibilities for cultural tourism. These last 2 provinces also in a strong religious cultural context. Best for activities with overnight stay, since most of the people have to travel from the urban westcoast. • North and South-Holland are very accesable in the vicinity of Haarlem and The Hague. With these cities, lots of monuments, Atlanticwall (WW II) at hand a good combination with cultural tourism can be made (also foreign-tourism). Best connection would be experience product and not so much the silencepath. Since overnight capacity is limited best choice is a dayrecreational event. Informationsupply is limited still. The 5 guidebooks are updated for 3 provinces but do not give a good overview of the whole route. Information levels need to range from, local, regional, national to international. The last level is not integrated in the books. For foreign visitors an English description needs to be available. A clear logo needs to be developed for waymarking the route and facilities. NST theme’s on natural and cultural history In comparing what facilities, cultural waypoints, are available along local stretches of the path, one can specify the international themes to the local setting along the path. The fact that themes are developed in an international context is of great value if we talk of identity and cultural theme International theme NST-NL-theme Comment Natural world Information on the natural world is available on the local/regional and national level, but not available on a north-sea level; with comparing different landscapes; why sanddunes in Holland, cliffs in England or fjords in Norway? Buildings & Architecture Waterworks and fortifications -Works for defence; the fight for freedom Culture & Tradition ‘Outdoor/landscape’ Art and -the Dutch masters connecting famous coastal artschools to the Rembrandt year 2006 Working Now & Then; The Dutch as traders and - fishery and trade harbours, seafares; lighthouses, whalehunters The ‘silent path’ combines - modern and ancient places of theme’s: remote silent areas in worship and related to the nature; religious architecture search for meaning and and religious customs/ folklore tranquility The organisational platform of NST strongly linked with LAW offers good opportunities for promotion, but also competition in terms of identification with products (information on the internet – identity of the different clubs). The association with LAW, with more a recreation than f.i. sportive image, make it difficult to develop products for certain targetgroups, although the products are well suited.

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5. Market-productcombinations with the best chance See appendix B for an overview of the products The best chances for product renewal, new products in the market for NST (and the underlying LAW pathway product) are the markets involving identity/cultural history and one step further the search for silence and meaning (pilgrimage). The trends are still at its beginning in the leisure market but are going to become an important part of the market. Very few products have been developed (thus not having large competition on the suppliers side)and it fits very well with the facilities/image the path has to offer itself (sober accomodations). •

The cultural product; Routes that visit and tell about places with a strong cultural background related to our dutch identity are very much in demand (this is both related nationally towards other countries as regionally, different customs and products). Popele want to know about tangible places and things they see, not the facts but the reasoning/explenation of the why is priorority. The silent path; The NST-LAW product is in itself ideal for the ‘silence/pelgrimage market By developing this more explicitly in the informationproduct and package deals this means these type of long-distance paths can become a pioneer instead of a lagger.

The biggest markets are still active open air / and adventures -though very competitive- still offer possibilities because they are so big, • By developing a sportive product (kmscrunger) for walkingsports clubs and/or gearing at the health aspect for 50+ and women NST can get a portion of these clubs to start using these types of paths/NST. The amount of km can form a new challenge. • Active walking adventure; Although the adventure market and the active recrationmarket are loaded with offers. The combination of the two have not been made very much; by combining adventure with a walkingroute. The combination with technological gadgets can give an extra impuls to the product. Big nature organisations are just moving into this field, culture organisations have hardly any sustained efforts (some artroutes). Demands towards booking and service facilties are high and the development of this sort of technology is expensive. Geared at the urbantargetgroups in North and Suoth-Holland it their demand for outings it would have to be a day-event. Conditions for all products • NST needs to invest in quality/depth of information that is provided. • NST needs easy accesibility in terms of a good service and booking system, with technological support through internet. • All products need to be fully integrated; presentation, facilitators/guides/personel, type of accommodation etc. • Products need to be located with partners and in co-operation with partners that will do the maintenance in the long-term.

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6. Program development - Products Successful products are based on a marketresearch. Most people start of by defining what they want to produce, not by questioning for whom we are developing our products and why they would want them. The market anslysys not only gives a firm bais for the product but also gives clear choices in what you are and what you are not going to do. We tend to grab chances along the way thus reacting more than acting. A fully intergrated plan also makes it possible to set prioroties for all the products and stick to these goals. On the basis of this marketingplan a program was developed. This also involves the allocation of funds, what part of the program will cost what? The priorities that have been set in the marketingplan need to be reflected in the way the budget is devided over the different products and activities. Build a broad network of partners. Build partnerships with national companies for expansion of resources and for sustainability of the product (third party marketing). A choice for a bottum up way of working, instead of developing all the products out of our owns ideas/plans in this sort of subsidised projects as NST. Actually networking by involving a broad range of partners, developers, intermediary organisatoins and future participants is the best way to go. We do not have a commercially operating organisation from which we work (LAW), thus we need to work with partners with a well organised sales and promotion apparatus. Setting up a sales organisation is setting up a new NST-business something which does not make sense when it is just a project that has no structural funding (also not the intention). It also does not have the capacity of generating a durable self-maintained thus commercial product in the market. The funds need to stimulate businesses not become one of its own. Involving partners and participants in an early stage of the development gives the big advantage that they can give input in what they see is needed so becoming involved and committed to a product which is a must for maintainance on the long run. The marketplan gives the oulines, so mostly your task is to give support (through website and facilitation) and leave part of your budget and activities open. In the Dutch program we first thought the pelgrimage-product would be tricky (very much pioneering) and the cultural-identity product no problem. After a intensive talks about the plans with a broad range of parties also in search of national large scale partners we found that support and enthousiasm for the pilgrim-product was very strong and broad and that for the cultural product very meagre (no support on a national but only on a local level). Since a product needed to be developed in each province also by NST-NL, both the provinces of Groningen and Zeeland decided in favour of changing to the pelgrimsproduct instead of the cultural product. Translating products to foreigners is not a language exercise, it must be an integral part of the development process. Thus we decided not to develop products for the foreign market, only publicityproducts promoting the possibility of walking. The experiences I had with the development of 2 of the first transnational routes in Holland 1995-1997, including information products and promotion on Vechtdalroute/Vechtetal (with LF) and the Kunstwegen-Artroute (with German and Dutch municipalities and artmuseum, both funded by EU-Interreg) have raised a lot of questions concerning the usefulness of translating. The only culture-groups that make use of the product are those connected in/with the organisations that carry the product; LF in Netherlands and Kunstwegen in Germany; so the translated LF biking route did not sell in Germany and the Kunstwegen route did not sell in Holland, even though a lot of publicity was generated with the opening by our Dutch queen. In Germany the product is a great success in the artscene of the closest metropole Koln, only because the product is rooted in the museum of Nordhorn which has a strong national reputation and an immense amount of money was invested in the artworks along the route by famous international (landscape) artists. Other initiatives in Holland on promoting transnational routes is the more recent pelgrimsroute to Santiago de Compostello from Friesland (succesfull) and the NSCR. Appendix B gives an overview of the activities in the program including informationproducts. Š 2006

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7. Promotional strategy and activitities 7.1 A product based promotional strategy The promotional strategy is mostly based on the development of new products (and activities) in contrary to more general promotional campaigns working on an image or introducing a name. The products will set the image and clarify its quality and goals by itself. Especially in Holland where the path already exists, conducting a promotional campaign on the basis of just (renaming/dusting of) this path can not be succesfull, everyone will see it doesn’ provide something new/interesting.The products/activities developed around the path thus become central, they need to bring something new to the market will the path be noticed. In generall this will also count for countries/partners that have a new path, once the path is introduced, even if it is new, the moment has passed and the products/activitities surrounding the path will have to do the rest of the work. The consequence of putting the emphasis and money in product development means that not much is left for publicity. Definitely not for advertising on a big scale. This sort of campaign is very dependant on free-publicity(7.2), intermediary publicity through partners (7.3) and guerrilla type of promotional strategys (7.4). 7.2 Create promotional momentum for free-publicity Novelty, scale and repetition are the most important factors for generating effective publicity. In free-publicity novelty or uniqueness are the factor for media to react to positive. Each (information)product and/or activity when developed can be used as a publicity moment with its introduction. Introducing these products one after an other can generate also the necessary repetitiveness. Depending on the scale of the activity, press can be interested. Pressreleases are the main channel of working here. Productdevelopment is also done with keeping in mind the activities that will generate publicity. A well designed product not only sells itself but generates a lot of publicity. The kmscrunger was thus mostly developed as a publicity-activity; it created a starting and ending point for the campaign as well as an introduction for the kmscrunger product; The opening estafette (actuall walking on itself needs to be part of the publicity of a walking route) generated a lot of attention before it was even introduced while developing it with businesses and participant –Asking a broad range of local and national walkinggroups to participate generated an anormous amount of publicity even before the path was opened. One month beforehand most of the walking related sites of walking, recreational and sports organisations and (commercial)magazines supported the estafette by trying to recrute participants for the event. Involvement of businesses along the route in the kmscrunger as a halting-place to stamp the participantsmap, resulted in some businesses organising their own estafettegroup and/or organising activities for the walkers (free drinks, transport with horse and wagon for the returntrip etc.) on their stretch of the path. When it looked like the stretches of Groningen were not filling up fast enough even regional media/radio started recruiting. The involvement of local businesses and participants was a very good opportunity for stories in papers. On the national level working with 2 pressreleases before and after the event the scale of the event –not so many participants (in total some hundreds) was not so much the trigger to generate an unexpected amount of publicity, but the uniqueness. That 685 km was covered. The kmscrunger also creates a clear starting and endingpoint of the promotional campaign. This is also important in clear roles with press and other partners; they can expect something from us until that date. Not only designing these publicity moments in your program, but also being aware of the possibilities for moments/actions along the way that can generate free-publicity is important. Press-moments we designed as NST-NL • start of NST campaign with opening estafette 4 sept.2005 • prizes for walkers on tourist-fare febr.2006 • end of the campaign on NST-day 3 sept 2006 • introducing each packageproduct per province Pressmoment that ‘presented’ itself © 2006

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Marketing North Sea Trail Netherlands

• •

The first participant that walked the whole trail and got a price People getting so involved with the content of the information panel in Friesland concerning the Frysian language that an event was created with the opening of the panel, thus not only involving businesses and partners regionally but again creating publicity.

7.3 Third party marketing-Intermediairy publicity Besides participants themselves who are enthousiastic about the trail - Intermediary organisations play a huge role in distributing and promoting the NST-NL-products to the different targetgroups. Cooperation in publicity often starts with involving organisations as said as a partner in the development stage. Possible choices of productpartners can even depend on their ability to generate publicity. Possible choices; • developing the product with a media partner, newspapers and magazines have become partners in not only developing package deals or day-activities/trips as a service to their readers; • in the partnerprogram we developed new products with local partners; businesses and walking organisations (participants) • strong national partners; businesses and organisations that find it interesting to distribute the product as a service to their members (like the Railways who use walks to generate more use of public transportation) The kmscrunger/openingday gave participants, businesses and media a good opportunity for involvement with NST. When involved they start working as partners to get it together to make it a success. They generated a lot of publicity both before and after the event. The experience of involving participants and businesses was also taken into the design of the central opening day- through sms, email messages and foto’s and interviews were exchanged with participants along the route. Thus setting the image of a broader international product (NST-NL as part of the whole) and also the image of technological renewal for the (Mystery Tour to come). A rarely used mobile technology to connect participants messages was developed for the openingday. Involving partners and participants in such a way created a highpoint with the kmscrunger/openingday. Partners/funders do not get much contact with participants- so all were connected. Designing possibilities to share experiences through f.i. the opening day and a log on the internetsite also helps to create this involvement of participants. The weblog is filled with pictures and stories. Some of which have started their own sites to write about their experiences in walking the NST-Netherlands. Thus generating publicity in their own circles. 7.4 Supportive promotional activities Organise simple lowcost activities to generate a broad and repetitive attention for NST. If there is a small budget for promotion use of simple guerrilla type of marketing actions can be undertaken to generate this repetitive attention. NST-NL uses the following: • letters to the editor of relevant newspapers and magazines • small free ads in magazines for member-readers • send in messages to chatrooms, weblogs etc. • send messages to ‘search machines’ and sites that have notification links • trade weblinks • local papers and media; the national pressreleases mostly do not work for local media they are to general; if you send a small story that relates to the area with good pictures they will mostly use it intergrally. • National pressreleases can be sent by post, thus a mailing in Holland costs about 400 to 500 euro to all relevant national press addresses 750 • For pressreleases also emailinglists of other partnerorgtanisations can be used for distribution (no costs, only the work of writing the pressrelaese). • For each product a webpage and flyer is designed; The most costly product thus being the productflyers to be spread (f.i. at events) by partners (print and design 1500 euro) Very specific actions thus can be taken to focus on the specific media of the targetgroups that belong to the developed product. Informationproducts as books, website or informationpanels along the route are actually products and need to be treated in such way. Each informationproduct can generate a promotional momentum. And depending on how it is designed will strengthen the effects of the publicity. © 2006

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Marketing North Sea Trail Netherlands

Appendix A. Targetgroups Targetgroep

1. Wandelaars a. traditional long-distance walkers b. walkingsporters c. outdoor and adventure hiking 2. Actieve openluchtrecreanten / -toeristen a. 25 tot 45 jaar segment b. 50-plus c. youth d. women e. families 3. Nature recreationists a. naturalists b. birders c. landscapers 4. Culture tourists a. cityhoppers b. culture tourists c. foreigners-incoming tourists 5. Coastal beach tourists a. Dutch

Product

Promotion

x x x

x x x

pelgrimage-product Sportsproduct/ and sportive image in promotion Sportsproduct/ and sportive image in promotion

x x x x x

x x x x x

Experience/technological product Experience/technological product Experience/technological product Sportsproduct/ health-weight image in promotion Experience/technological product

x

Promotion through intermediairy organisations

x

Promotion through intermediairy organisations

X X

No interest in walking Identityproduct Internationaal identityproduct (English)

x x

x

b. Germans

x

6. Foreigners- Incoming tourists a. Germans 30% participation, 24% of expenditure b. English 18%

x

c. Belgian 8,5% d. others (Americans 11%)

Š 2006

x

x

Comment

Promotion through intermediairy organisations for open air recreation and cultural tourism Promotion through intermediairy organisations for open air recreation and cultural tourism Promotion through intermediairy organisations for open air recreation and cultural tourism Promotion through intermediairy organisations for open air recreation and cultural tourism Promotion through intermediairy organisations for open air recreation and cultural tourism

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Marketing North Sea Trail Netherlands

Appendix B.

Marketoriented Products General Communication and Promotion website free-publicity and advertising routemarking and panels in field

Kilometer scrunger year-long-event 4sept. take-off event central and decentral

The Cultural Trail individual package trips central NST-themes in

Holland Mysterie Tour day-experience grouppackage and individual trip

The silent trail individual package

adventure and sportswalkers women dayrecreators

culture tourists incoming tourists (culture-identity interested)

dayrecreators all segments

walkers (all segments) culture tourists dayrecreators

database NST-themes posters (digital miniguides)

technological support gamesbrochure games-internetpages fieldmarkings and props

database 'sacred' places (digital miniguides)

stampmap and pins sponsorprices

Š 2006

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Marketing North Sea Trail Netherlands

Appendix C. NST-Netherlands Program Activities 1. KM scrunger-campaign and opening event Organising businesses as haltingplace for stamping Production stampmap, pins and stamps Organising prices of sponsors Central organisation opening event 2005 Decentral event organisation of estafette Production publicity; flyer, webpages, webpressreleases Pressmalings and contacts Organising price-event inbetween and end-event 2006 (by partners/sponsors) 2. Cultural product Developing theme information as basis for the Frysland cultural package and for website Partnersearch and regional meetings with facilities along the route for developing cultural packages by partners; all are on the website. Promotional material and pressmailing 3. The silent path Productdevelopment with partners Inventorisation of locations along the route and developing stories for these locations Promotional material and pressmailing Miniguide 4. Adventure-game Development with partner Digitilising in GPS coordinates of day-event Signposts with clues and coordinates/Sms portal along teh way Digital support through games-webportal and/or sms-mobilephone platform 5. Promotional products and informationproducts a. Centrale promotie Mailings, actions and pressreleases b. Waymarkering â‚Ź 5.585,-c. 10 Informationpanels related to all the products â‚Ź 16.100,-d. Website / routeplanner; Digital consumer information site with information database e. English information All is being developed and sold by a partner and dependant on this partner; routedescription, English trekking and cultural product; TUIInternational


Marketing North Sea Trail