Creating welcoming destinations, a guide for Destination Management Organisations

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Creating welcoming destinations A guide for Destination Management Organisations


Introduction 3 Welcome to the world of hospitality 4 Building blocks for creating value through hospitality 6 1. How DMOs add value to welcoming destinations 8 2. Creating awareness: hospitality has value 10 3. Know your stakeholders: visitors, residents, businesses 12 4. Set priorities: how to create the most value? 14 5. Implement an appealing hospitality programme 16 6. Connect: get involved in building and maintaining

welcoming communities 18

7. Dashboard: celebrate successes and share progress 20

Conclusion 22 About Destination Netherlands 24 Co-creation guide 25 Partners 26


Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: VVV Waterland van Friesland - Tom Goossens

Introduction Welcome to the world of hospitality! A welcoming destination is a place where visitors feel appreciated, residents enjoy living, and businesses can grow and flourish. Hospitality is a growing priority for many cities and regions. Increasingly, it has become a question of balancing a wide variety of issues concerning living, working, and recreation. Truly welcoming places are the product of teamwork between all parties: : valuable visitors, inclusive residents, and involved businesses. In this guide, we will introduce you to the seven building blocks of welcoming communities. Perspective 2030: Hospitality throughout the Netherlands By definition, DMOs are all about hospitality – they are not just responsible for stimulating the visitor economy, but also, and most importantly, for providing a warm welcome. As the playing field changes, DMOs will also need to change the way they fulfil this role. But no matter what, they will continue promoting welcoming destinations to potential visitors and ensuring they are met with a warm welcome. In ‘Perspective 2030’, the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions outlines its goal of making all of the Netherlands an attractive, welcoming destination. This offers a wonderful opportunity for DMOs to play a crucial role. The changing roles of DMOs and Hospitality The brochure entitled ‘The changing role of the DMO’ addresses an important point when it comes to developing hospitality: ‘Drive the development of hospitality at the destination – not only at your DMO’s own touchpoints, but also in cooperation with businesses, local government, residents, and cultural institutions.’ Encouraging and promoting hospitality among all stakeholders is a role that is well suited to DMOs, thanks to their position and influence. In order to ensure a well-balanced hospitality experience for visitors, residents and businesses, the DMO can function as a linchpin, helping to drive the development of inclusive, welcoming communities. Seven building blocks of welcoming communities This guide has been created by a team of hospitality experts from DMOs affiliated with Destination Netherlands (Kennisnetwerk Destinatie Nederland) and researchers from Hotelschool The Hague. It aims to help DMOs throughout the country contribute to making all of the Netherlands an attractive, welcoming destination. In the guide, we will examine the seven crucial building blocks for developing welcoming communities. We hope that the guide will inspire you to work with local stakeholders to make your own city or region even more welcoming and hospitable. Karoline Wiegerink and Jan Huizing Hotelschool The Hague

Wendy Sieger Kintzen Destination Netherlands

Destination Netherlands


Welcome to the world of hospitality Hospitality is the art (not the artifice!) of making someone feel truly welcome – in every situation or encounter of their journey. Visitors interact with an astounding number of people: from taxi drivers to waiters and waitresses, from shop assistants to museum attendants, from hotel receptionists to local residents – plus, of course, the staff at visitor’s centres and tourism offices. Every interaction counts, no matter how small: before, during, and after visiting a destination. When it comes to hospitality, experiences are key. According to the ‘City Hospitality Experience Model’, cities can create value by ensuring that their facilities, atmosphere, and welcoming behaviour match the expectations and objectives of ‘users’ – residents, businesses, and visitors. The focus is increasingly shifting from hospitality towards visitors to one that aims to create a healthy, welcoming environment for all users. At a time when we are ‘reinventing tourism’, we are seeing more and more interest in co-creation and community management, in finding balance and contributing to the UN objective (UN-SDG11) of sustainable cities and communities.

Sustainable Development Goal 11


Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Dordrecht Marketing & Partners

Impact of value creation

City Hospitality Experience Residents Visitors Businesses Stakeholder needs



The hospitable city








Atmosphere Experiencing welcoming cities

Hospitality measures by all hosts

Value creation from the hospitality experience

City Hospitality Experience Model

Destination Netherlands


Building blocks for creating value through hospitality How can hospitality create value? The illustration to the right depicts the seven building blocks for developing a welcoming destination. Hospitality begins with awareness. After gaining insights into the stakeholders, you can then establish value-driven priorities; as connections are made, a coherent plan of action and a dashboard for measuring progress will emerge. The exact methods will depend on the context of the destination, as well as the current and desired role of the DMO.


Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Dirk Brand

Seven building blocks of welcoming communities



Hospitality has value

Know your stakeholders


Visitors Residents Businesses

Celebrate successes and show progress


How can DMOs add value to welcoming destinations?



Where can you create the most value?

Build and maintain welcoming communities


An appealing hospitality programme

Destination Netherlands


1. How can DMOs add value to welcoming destinations?


Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Iris van den Broek

Creating welcoming destinations is a group effort. Each DMO is free to determine the method that suits them best – one that is appropriate to the developmental stages of both the destination and the organisation. Hospitality development can be divided into three developmental stages: within DMO organisation, cooperation with network partners, and destination development.

Hospitality experts Welcome to our destination! We ensure a warm welcome across all touchpoints, from tourism office (VVV) to website. Focused on the DMO, from within the DMO.

Driver, connector, coordinator, and facilitator for partners We work with all stakeholders/ partners to make hospitality an everyday reality (online and offline). Focused on all community partners, with guidance/ assistance from the DMO.

Initiator, visionary, concept developer, and strategist from within the community We are committed to making our community more welcoming, together with all stakeholders and policymakers. We develop new concepts that improve hospitality. Focused on the destination as a whole, developing hospitality through co-creation.

Destination Netherlands


2. Creating awareness about the value of hospitality

Value pyramid – Hospitality for DMOs

Impact on the destination Added value? • Better image • Balanced community • Well-being and prosperity for city and region

Behavioural impact

What is the effect of hospitality on the destination? • Loyal, happy residents • Proud business owners • Valuable visitors as ambassadors

The perception of hospitality • By residents, visitors, businesses? • How are different touchpoints experienced? • What makes the difference?

Building blocks of a welcoming destination • Welcoming ‘product’ (hardware) • Welcoming environment • Welcoming people who are open to others

10. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Visit Veluwe i.s.m. Hetty van Oijen

A welcoming environment has a direct impact on the experiences of visitors, residents, workers, and businesses. When it comes to the perception of hospitality, research shows that people’s behaviour – the interpersonal component – is even more influential than products, services, or atmosphere. Positive experiences at the destination give rise to engagement, loyalty, enthusiasm, and pride, thereby influencing people’s behaviour. The impact of these experiences can be measured in both financial/economic terms (eg. visitors who return often and spend more) and social terms (a pleasant living environment with visitors who add value and businesses that forge ties with the community). The value pyramid for DMOs shown here is a blueprint that can be used to examine how a particular hospitality measure translates into perception and impact.




An attractive place

A liveable place

A place with a welcoming business climate

• Valuable visitors who adapt their behaviour to the values of the destination • Loyal ambassadors for the destination

• Satisfied residents who are proud of their city, loyal, and take active part in city life • The core of welcoming communities

• Proud business owners who enjoy doing business, feel connected to the community, and seek out and maintain ties

• Satisfied • Surprised • Amazed by how welcoming the destination is

• Satisfied • Proud • Pleased to live in such a welcoming place

• Satisfied • Proud • Pleased by the hospitable business environment

• Housing • Shopping and leisure facilities • Infrastructure • Welcoming encounters

• Diverse range of shops and services • Infrastructure • Welcoming encounters with visitors and residents

• Tourist attractions (sights, culture, shopping) • Infrastructure • Welcoming encounters

Destination Netherlands


3. Know your stakeholders: visitors, residents, businesses

How do visitors, residents, and businesses experience the destination? Are there any similarities or differences between their thoughts, feelings, or actions? What are the problem areas when it comes to how people experience hospitality at our destination, who is affected by them, and how can we work with our stakeholders to improve these issues?

12. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: VisitBrabant

Know your facts and figures - Visitor numbers, countries of origin, travel duration, spending habits, one-off vs. return visits - Population size, profiles, demographic segments (eg. based on lifestyle) - Companies, number of partners, industries, forms of cooperation and networking

Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes - Who are the visitors and what draws them here? - What do they do at the destination and what is their experience like? - Create personas: step into your guests’ lives, see things from their perspective; how do they experience your destination here and now? - Provide a clear view of the customer journey, from arrival to return home. How do visitors reflect on this journey as a whole: what ‘wowed’ them, and what needs improvement? What would that contribute to the overall experience? Who is involved in important touchpoints, and what do visitors ultimately see and experience?

Don’t forget residents and businesses - Residents: open and maintain a dialogue, remain interested in residents’ priorities and what they are able and willing to contribute. Which improvements would add the most value for residents? How much contact do they wish to have with visitors, what are they proud of, what would they like to share and under what conditions? We were pleasantly surprised to find that residents participating in City Host projects were often proud of their cities and wished to actively share this pride with others. - Businesses: since businesses are also a type of resident, empathy and dialogue remain important. How do business owners feel about their city, what are their wants and needs, and to what extent are they willing and able to participate and engage in co-creation? Are there any business owners who are interested in helping to shape residents’ and visitors’ experiences? Which authentic stories can be told? - Which people are already playing a role in hospitality development in the area? Look for them in your partner network.

Destination Netherlands


4. Set priorities: where can you create the most value?

Choose and set priorities You are already aware of what is going on in your city or region. You know how visitors, residents, and businesses experience the area from a hospitality point of view. You also have an idea of your role as a DMO when it comes to hospitality development. Based on the insights and ideas you have collected, you can draw up an effort-value matrix, allowing you to set priorities and make choices during discussions with your stakeholders. Which hospitality achievements can we take to an even higher level? Which low-scoring areas require attention first?

14. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Visit Veluwe for Jurjen Drenth


Priority matrix

Long lead time – get started now

Do it

Don’t do it



Do it immediately




Destination Netherlands


5. Implement an appealing hospitality programme

Depending on your role, you will engage in programmes and projects to make hospitality visible. Examples include:

Laying the foundation: developing hospitality in your own organisation and across touchpoints - Mystery visits: visit each other and provide friendly advice about hospitality - Improve digital hospitality: take a critical look at your website and social media channels from your guests’ perspective - Organise training courses and workshops for colleagues with a central message: You make the difference when it comes to hospitality! - Surprise visitors to your tourism office with extra personal attention, such as welcoming them and saying goodbye at the entrance/exit, or asking about their experiences (what have you enjoyed so far and what could be improved?)

16. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: NBTC

Cooperating with partners: the hospitality experience throughout your city or region

- Develop a City Host programme - Offer a hospitality toolkit for partners - Organise information sessions and/or e-learning programmes about the destination for and with local businesses and cultural institutions - Share insights and challenges regarding visitors with your network partners

Working together to develop hospitality across the destination as a whole - Offer a look behind the scenes (highlight local hospitality heroes, share stories and challenges) - Drive the co-creation of hospitality products - Drive inclusiveness and accessibility by setting a good example yourself - Organise a festival for residents, showing them all your destination has to offer and boosting their pride in their surroundings - Involve local businesses in creating new, sustainable hospitality products and tours - Draw up a citizenship contract for visitors to busy cities

Destination Netherlands


6. Connect: get involved in building and maintaining welcoming communities

Checklist Who are the hospitality heroes, influencers, entrepreneurs, and locals in your area? Create a network of hospitality-makers and bring them together. To what extent do we share a common vision and ambition for hospitality? Where do we differ? Organise meetings and engage with your network. Find your shared ambitions. Develop hospitality programmes and projects that everyone in the community can support – in other words, programmes that add value for the entire community. Involve other potential hospitality-makers; make them aware of their role and of your shared ambitions. Make your efforts visible: tell stories, share results, let hospitality-makers have their say (‘this is why I am committed to... together with...’)

18. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: VisitBrabant

Take stock of local networks: who are my local contacts? Your own partner network Cultural networks Local government Business associations Residents’ associations Neighbourhood groups Educational institutions Nature conservation groups Volunteer organisations Other public organisations Transport companies Other

Destination Netherlands


7. Dashboard: celebrate successes and share progress

Hospitality and hospitality interventions have value. A dashboard can be an effective way of showing how things are developing and sharing progress with the community.

20. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Stella Dekker Fotography

What to include on a dashboard? - Experiences about hardware, atmosphere, and people in your destination - Behaviour: Loyalty, reviews, and recommendations - Effect: * Economical value (e.g. spendings) * Social value (e.g. cohesion) * Welcoming business environment - Examples & stories - Discuss the results with your local network Knowledge = power; dashboard = sharing

Destination Netherlands


Conclusion Hospitality is an ongoing process – one that requires us to stay open minded, remain curious, surprise others, and allow ourselves to be surprised. It is a complex and challenging and inspiring journey, in which DMOs can help light the way, adding value that aligns with their city or region’s ambitions and potential and keeping stakeholders actively engaged in co-creation. Please share your stories and experiences with us – let us know which tools work well and which you feel are missing. And remember to stop and reflect from time to time: how can I add value to my city’s or region’s hospitality ambitions, both now and in the future? For more information and inspiration, please visit Hotelschool The Hague by following the QR code printed below. We wish you all the best in achieving your hospitality ambitions, Karoline Wiegerink and Jan Huizing Hotelschool The Hague research/toolkit

22. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Juri Hiensch Destination Netherlands


About Destination Netherlands Destination Netherlands (Kennisnetwerk Destinatie Nederland) is a network for and by professionals from around 65 Destination Management Organisations, with a small team based at VVV Netherlands in Utrecht. Our promise: to actively develop and strengthen the field of destination management by sharing knowledge and building connections. Our aim: to contribute to the development of attractive destinations for both visitors and residents. As professionals, we support each other as we grow into future-oriented Destination Management Organisations (DMO). This is the common theme uniting all of our expertise groups. We also draw inspiration from specialists outside of our network. The interests of the DMO sector as a whole are our top priority. We connect organisations, people, and initiatives, we maintain our network, and we seek out new connections that add value to our network.

24. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: Ferander Bike

Co-creation This publication is the result of a co-creation programme featuring 15 hospitality experts from leading Dutch DMOs, led by Karoline Wiegerink (city hospitality lecturer) and Jan Huizing of Hotelschool The Hague. Special thanks to: Achterhoek Toerisme - Leon ten Elshof & Niels Weijers amsterdam&partners - Adil Abbach Breda Marketing - Raoul Joosen Bureau Toerisme Laag Holland - Shirley Benoit Eindhoven247 - Silvia Verkroost Marketing Groningen - Dina Jongedijk Rotterdam Partners - Charlotte Schillemans Utrecht Marketing - Remco Roestenburg Veluwe op 1 - Marielle Karssing VisitBrabant -Ankie Joos, Rianne Leenders & Sef Sweegers Visit Zuid-Limburg - Edith Kurris Limburg Marketing - Giel Polman VVV Zeeland - Miranda Hoogedeure

Hotelschool The Hague Hotelschool The Hague was founded in 1929, making it one of the oldest independent hotel schools in the world. It is renowned for its innovative degree programmes and leading Hospitality Research Centre. Graduates of Hotelschool The Hague hold management positions in the hospitality industry around the world. The City Hospitality research group is committed to finding new ways of developing welcoming destinations. Together with partners in the industry and academia, the research group offers insights and solutions for the development of strong, hospitable cities, destinations, and communities, in which residents, visitors, and businesses all feel welcome and experience added value. … ‘at the heart of hospitality’

Destination Netherlands



26. Creating welcoming destinations - A guide for Destination Management Organisations

Photo: VVV Waterland van Friesland - Martin de Groot

Dit is Assen!

VVV Oosterhout • VVV Elburg • VVV Vlaardingen • Samenwerkende VVV’s in de Peel Samenwerkende VVV’s in Twente • Samenwerkende VVV’s in Duin- en Bollenstreek

Destination Netherlands


Photo: De Dakkas © Haarlem Marketing

Contact Destination Netherlands VVV Nederland BV Papendorpseweg 99 Gebouw A - 4e etage 3528 BJ UTRECHT tel: +31 30 307 4174 Destination Netherlands consists of a network of 65 Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), with a small team based at VVV Netherlands in Utrecht. Publishing details: Destination Netherlands, together with Hotelschool The Hague, November 2021. Design: Miquel Imlabla, Translation: EdenFrost Communication

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