Insight Department. Netherlands: Consumer Research

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1 Insight Department Netherlands: Consumer Research Updated November 2013

2 Background VisitScotland undertakes research with consumers from Scotland s key international markets to keep up to date with consumer trends and attitudes. This document reports on consumer research from a variety of sources which include: VisitScotland visitor surveys VisitScotland research with consumers held on the VisitScotland database VisitBritain market profile information In addition a Netherlands: Market Statistics fact sheet is available as a separate document on reporting on the numbers of Dutch visitors to Scotland from the International Passenger Survey. The two documents are published separately to allow for more regular updates to the statistics document, if appropriate. Overview Both domestic and foreign travel has always been important to the Dutch consumer. The Dutch have always been great travellers to destinations all over the world (VisitBritain). Rest, recreation, sun & beach and visiting friends and relatives are key factors influencing their holiday choice. Nature is also a bigger influence than in many other European countries. Hobbies are important aspects of Dutch life and this corresponds with a growing popularity of themed holidays (like cultural, hiking or cycling holidays). Younger Dutch travellers are especially interested in active and adventurous holidays. The Dutch show a particular interest in camping and luxury camping is becoming popular. Edinburgh is the second most visited city, after London by Dutch visitors to the UK, followed by Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge. Dutch visitors to Scotland are typically well-educated, well-off couples with an interest in culture, environment and nature/wildlife. Many Dutch visitors to Scotland are on a repeat visit and many may know the country well. The English language is generally not a barrier to the Dutch visitor travelling to the UK. In the Netherlands, English is taught from a very young age and the majority of people speak very good English. VisitBritain predicts a steady growth in the annual number of visits from the Netherlands to Britain over the next decade. 1

3 Holiday trips remain of great importance to the Dutch consumer and both domestic and foreign travel is important. In 2013, 81% were planning on going on a holiday trip and more than half of these are expected to be taken abroad (VisitBritain). The minimum annual leave in the Netherlands is 22 days, although most people have 25 days of annual leave on average. School holidays are a popular time for going on holidays. There are various holiday periods throughout the year, the longest being the July/August summer holiday. Outbound Travel Whilst beach holidays are popular, typically the Dutch are also active holidaymakers and they have a high propensity to go walking, cycling, camping and participate in outdoor activities. Research in 2011* with VisitScotland s Dutch database found that the top 3 types of holiday often undertaken by Dutch holidaymakers abroad were: 81% Touring around a country by car sightseeing and stopping when I want 50% A short break visit to a particular city 44% A holiday mixing countryside and city 21% a holiday where the main focus is hiking/ walking 14% beach holiday (*Recipients of the above research were contacts on the VisitScotland database i.e. people who had expressed an interest in visiting Scotland). Most Popular Destinations for Outbound Dutch Travel 1. France 2. Germany 3. Spain 4. Belgium 5. Austria Source: VisitBritain (refers to 2012) Most foreign destinations visited by the Dutch traveller are in Western Europe. The UK was the seventh most visited country by Dutch residents, after Italy in sixth place. The Primary Source Markets in the Netherlands For Visitors to the UK 1. Noord Holland (inc Amsterdam) Source: VisitBritain 2. Zuid Holland (inc Rotterdam & the Hague) 3.Noord Brabant 4. Utrecht 2

4 Motivations to Visit Scotland as a Holiday Destination Dutch visitors are motivated to visit Scotland because of its scenery, history and culture, which is similar to other European markets. However, scenery and landscape is not such a strong motivator to visit when compared to Italian and German visitors. More notable for the Dutch visitor are family connections as a key motivator (although this is lower than for long haul markets). Key Motivators to Visit Scotland - Dutch Visitors Dutch Visitors European Average Visitor Survey Average Scenery and landscape 62% 71% 55% History and culture 43% 46% 28% Reputation for friendly people 26% 30% 17% Recommended by friends/relatives 27% 30% 18% Family connections 17% 8% 22% Destination I know well/been before 20% 16% 31% Source: Scotland Visitor Survey 2011 & 2012 (interviews with UK and international visitors to Scotland in the summer months.) Planning and Booking In general Dutch travellers are thought of as late bookers (VisitBritain) but the Scotland Visitor Survey reveals that Dutch respondents started planning and booking their summer holiday earlier than the European average. This may be due to the typical touring nature of the summer trip. Average planning time: Average booking time: 20.5 weeks (visitor survey average 16.6 weeks/european average 15.6 weeks) 13.3 weeks (visitor survey average 11.8 weeks. European average weeks) 51% of Dutch respondents started planning 3-6 months in advance. (Scotland Visitor Survey 2011 & summer only survey. Includes UK and international visitors) The majority of trips to are booked on the internet, via internet travel agents or accommodation/transport provider websites. In the Scotland Visitor Survey, a considerable proportion of the Dutch respondents did not book their accommodation in advance (41% compared to the European average of 24%); this may be driven by their interest in camping, hostels and touring. 3

5 Dutch holidaymakers are motivated to visit Scotland by its scenery and natural beauty. They are seeking an authentic, natural experience and enjoy walking/ hiking, visiting cultural attractions and exploring the landscape. Dutch visitors to Scotland are typically well-educated, well-off couples with an interest in culture, environment and nature/ wildlife. On Holiday in Scotland There is a high level of repeat visits amongst Scotland s Dutch visitors; 41% of Dutch visitors interviewed in the summer were on a repeat visit, the highest level for the European markets interviewed (Scotland Visitor Survey 2011 and 2012). This compares to the European average of 32%. Whilst the majority will spend their whole holiday in Scotland, the proportion who will stay in Scotland as part of a longer holiday is higher than other European markets (25%). This maybe influenced by the diversity of entry points for the Dutch traveller, including arrival points in the North of England (including seaports as well as airports). Indeed, whilst the majority of Dutch travellers will arrive by air, the UK is very easily accessible from the Netherlands by ferry, coach and train. Research with VisitScotland s Dutch database in 2011 found that 48% of Dutch respondents who had visited Scotland had arrived directly into Scotland, 52% had arrived via the rest of the UK (a slightly higher proportion than respondents from France, Germany and Spain). Popular trip types with Dutch visitors are touring, activity based breaks i.e. hiking and to a lesser extent, city breaks. Areas popular with Dutch visitors included the Highlands & Skye, Edinburgh City, Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and Glasgow city. In terms of accommodation, hotels and B&B/guest houses are popular. Dutch visitors also show a great interest in camping which sets them apart from other nationalities. Dutch travellers show a preference for small scale/family run hotels with character and traditional decoration (VisitBritain). Camping is one of the most preferred types of accommodation, although Britain does not feature in the top ten destinations for camping holidays abroad for the Dutch. When here, Dutch visitors will make the most of their trip to Scotland, taking in many places. A high proportion of Dutch respondents in the Scotland Visitor Survey (2011 and 2012) described their trip as a tour around Scotland (52%) but they also showed a higher propensity than other European markets to be based in a countryside location (15%), 4

6 Dutch visitors will participate in a wide range of activities during their trip in Scotland. Top Activities Undertaken on a Trip in Scotland Dutch Visitors Visitor Survey Average European Average Visited cities 68% 44% 70% Visited historic venue 66% 48% 68% Shopping 62% 47% 51% Short walk 59% 45% 44% Sightseeing by car/coach/on foot 58% 50% 56% City centred based walking 55% 37% 52% Visited cathedral/church/abbey 54% 35% 62% Trying local food 54% 49% 58% Source: Scotland Visitor Survey 2011 & 2012 (interviews with UK and international visitors to Scotland in the summer months). Lower down the list but notably higher for Dutch visitors were a long walk, and visited a scenic/historic railway/other architecture. According to VisitBritain, Insiders Tips are key in satisfying the Dutch traveller and the traditional afternoon tea is high on the wish list when vesting Britain, as well as visits to a traditional pub or gastro pubs. The Dutch like to find out about our real way of life and will be keen to go off the beaten track. Primary Source Markets in the Netherlands for Visitors to Scotland North Holland South Holland North Brabent Gelderland (Source: Various VisitScotland database research and visitor survey research) Sharing Experiences The Dutch have a high engagement level with online content (VisitBritain). According to the Scotland Visitor Survey, 45% of Dutch visitors shared their experiences online after they returned home. This is lower compared to the long haul markets (possibly driven by the nature of the big trip to Scotland) and also lower compared to Southern European countries such as Spain (possibly driven by a younger age profile). The most frequent activity was uploading photos to the internet (31%) or updating their Facebook status about their trip (24%). Dutch visitors were less likely than other markets to leaving reviews on Trip Advisor (5% compared to the survey average of 10% (which includes UK & international visitors). 5

7 How to Use this Information The scenery and nature/wildlife are important motivators for Dutch customers when they decide to visit Scotland. What does your local area offer in these respects? Are there any particularly scenic spots and walks that you could recommend? Are there any local companies offering wildlife experiences / tours which might be of interest? As Dutch visitors are particularly keen on deals,maybe there are also some other free activities you can suggest -for example, visiting a local nature reserve where certain species can be seen. In order to make the most of their holiday, Dutch visitors may need some help with their itinerary planning. Activities such as walking, visiting castles / stately homes and historic sites, as well as eating and drinking in pubs / restaurants are included in most Dutch visits. Maybe you can think of which places / experiences you can recommend which tick these boxes in your local area. And there are also the VisitScotland Information Centres where your visitors can get a lot of information for their trip. Contact details for all VICs are available here: Dutch visitors are interested in Scottish culture and traditions. Why not suggest local events or festivals, including traditional music sessions you know of - this is an ideal opportunity for them to learn about another way of life, which is something they value when on holiday abroad. Other local attractions which they may be interested in include local markets or farmers markets, and arts and craft fairs. Walking is a key activity for Dutch visitors when in Scotland. Are there any local walks you can recommend to them? They might want to leave early in the morning to start a particular walk, and may appreciate a packed lunch or early breakfast if this was available. Outdoor activities are also very popular, and a list of local companies offering adventure sports might be appreciated by them. To get involved in VisitScotland market campaigns with the Dutch market, please visit our marketing opportunities website: Tips for Business 6

8 Appendices Sources Scotland Visitor Survey 2011 and 2012 (summer survey only), TNS For notes on interpretation of this survey please see visitor_survey.aspx VisitBritain Netherlands Market and Trade Profile, September 2013 Links VisitScotland Research and Statistics VisitBritain Market Profiles Contact us Insight Department VisitScotland Ocean Point One 94 Ocean Drive Edinburgh EH6 6JH T: November 2013 Disclaimer: VisitScotland has published this report in good faith to update stakeholders on its activity. VisitScotland has taken all reasonable steps to confirm the information contained in the publication is correct. However, VisitScotland does not warrant or assume any legal liability for the accuracy of any information disclosed and accepts no responsibility for any error or omissions. Images: VisitScotland/Scottish Viewpoint and Thinkstock 7

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