Emerce Engage: How Amsterdam uses predictive analytics

Amsterdam Marketing has used software from IBM to be able to process a lot of data in a short time for the Visitors Research Metropolis Amsterdam (BOMA), but also to be able to carry out data 'predictive analytics' based on the I amsterdam City Card. On Emerce Engage Olivier Ponti of Amsterdam Marketing will tell you more about that next week

Amsterdam Marketing has used software from IBM to be able to process a lot of data in a short time for the Visitors Research Metropolis Amsterdam (BOMA), but also to be able to carry out data 'predictive analytics' based on the I amsterdam City Card. On Emerce Engage Olivier Ponti of Amsterdam Marketing will tell you more about that next week.

Amsterdam Marketing provides a significant contribution to the employment and prosperity of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Through customized promotion, information, research and services, the agency promotes tourist and business visits to the region.

The 100-strong organization initiates and promotes innovation and product development. The agency also carries out worldwide marketing and promotional activities, among other things by organizing campaigns and press trips. We work together with various partners, such as the municipality of Amsterdam and various organizations related to the travel industry.

For Amsterdan Marketing it is essential to have good insight into the behavior of tourists. Olivier Ponti, Research & Development Manager at the department of Development, Research and Advice of Amsterdan Marketing, explains: "We want to follow where, when and why people go to Amsterdam. But just as important is knowing how we can influence this behavior and what the effects of our activities are. All this information helps us to perform better as an organization and as a destination, and to cope with the strong competition from other European cities. "

In order to get the information that is needed to achieve its objectives, Amsterdam Marketing analyzes data from many different sources. "We do a lot of research ourselves, for example via our website, our service center, chat rooms and the VVVs", says Ponti. "We also conduct customer satisfaction surveys via e-mail and we conduct face-to-face interviews.

Amsterdam Matketing is also looking at the use of the 'I amsterdam' tourist map. "With this card, tourists can use all the tram, bus and metro lines of Amsterdam's public transport company and get access to the city's top attractions, " explains Ponti. "They also benefit from all kinds of discounts and surprises. The use of the map gives us insight into what tourists do, what activities they combine and how they travel. "

Furthermore, Amsterdan Marketing uses data from its partners in the tourism industry and Statistics Netherlands, for example about hotels: the number of overnight stays, where new hotels are built, and so on. If the agency has specific questions, the organization carries out ad hoc research.

The agency has been using IBM Business Analytics software for years to analyze its data. Ponti says: "When I started working at the ATCB, we already used IBM SPSS Statistics. In 2009 we also took IBM SPSS Modeler into use, following various developments. In that year, we have renewed all our research projects and improved our processes. We also started new projects, for example a large visitor survey. "

The reason for the purchase of IBM software for predictive analytics was that the 'I amsterdam' card yielded a lot of data that Amsterdam Marketing could not process properly. Ponti: "With 1.5 full-time employees, we are a very small department. Our productivity must be very high. With the analysis software from IBM we were able to further automate the processing of data. It was possible to combine data from different sources quickly and easily in predictive models and to discover patterns and trends in them. "

With the IBM Business Analytics software, the agency has gained much better insight into the behavior of tourists coming to the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and the tourism and congress office can respond better to trends in that behavior. A good example is the in-depth analysis of data collected via the 'I amsterdam' card. Ponti: "We started looking at time patterns, to discover peak moments through the year or during the day. With this information we are now able to better time promotional campaigns and discounts, but also to influence the moment that popular museums or attractions are visited so that they are not overwhelmed by visitors. "

For example, Amsterdam Marketing can improve sales and marketing activities on the one hand, and visitors' experience on the other.

The agency also discovered that it was better to cluster visits to certain attractions on the map. It has since taken that into account. "We are now trying to add groups of attractions in a geographical area to the map instead of individual attractions, " says Ponti. The analysis of the map data also provides information with which Amsterdam Marketing can further develop and promote the 'I amsterdam' card as a product. "We have seen how tourists combined their visits to museums and attractions. We used these connections to develop profiles such as 'family and entertainment' and to coordinate our sales and marketing activities. We are also able to combine the promotion for various museums and attractions. "

The analysis of the results of visitor research also provides the agency with a lot of valuable information. "Based on socio-demographic data, we can now develop segments of tourists who are more likely to visit Amsterdam. We discovered that three factors play a role: they come from an area with a high population density, they have a great purchasing power and their residential area has good transport links with Amsterdam. With these insights we can use our marketing budget more effectively, "says Ponti.

Also remarkable is how the IBM analysis software enabled the city to help the tourism industry in Amsterdam to avoid the heaviest effects of the global financial crisis. Ponti: "During the crisis we made all kinds of analyzes of our results and calculated what the further effects would be by developing predictive models. On the basis of these analyzes, the municipality of Amsterdam has made budget available for us to develop additional marketing activities. That worked very well, we were much faster through the crisis than other European cities, "explains Ponti.

An important task of Amsterdam Marketing is to promote Amsterdam as a top destination for conferences and congresses. That is why the tourism and congress office developed a database to analyze the profiles of all meetings that took place in Amsterdam in recent years. Based on this information, the agency is now able to bring new conferences to Amsterdam. The survey also showed that 27 percent of all meetings accounted for 66 percent of all participants and generated the most profit. These were mainly organized by the government or trade associations for knowledge sharing. Amsterdan Marketing decided to focus on this segment.

By combining information from different meeting locations, Amsterdam Marketing is able to determine what real hot spots are for the congress sector and why, but also which areas do not do so well. Ponti: "We deliver the results of this type and other analyzes to our partners. This enables us to profile ourselves as a knowledge center within the tourism sector in Amsterdam. "

Olivier Ponti is organizing his presentation at Emerce Engage next week together with Laila Fettah from IBM Netherlands. Tickets are available here.