Tourism is an important sector of our economy. Over the past ten years this sector has expanded more rapidly than the Dutch economy as a whole, and it provides employment for more than 600,000 people.
Nonetheless, companies keen to establish themselves in the tourism and recreation business face many challenges: the impact of the internet continues unabated, which is changing consumer patterns and causing the proliferation of consumer-to-consumer platforms such as Airbnb. In addition, the market for holiday homes has become saturated in recent years and heightened (price) competition has arisen.
That is hardly surprising; the Dutch like their recreation. No less that 99 per cent of the population likes to undertake at least one leisure activity outdoors every year; in total that means some 3.75 billion trips representing a value of 50 billion euros. “This makes the recreation sector interesting and potentially lucrative,” says accountant Robert Berger of Schuiteman.
The way in which we spend our recreation time is changing. A holiday within Dutch borders ranks more often among the serious options and there is a hunger for unique and authentic destinations and locations. “Exclusivity is coveted,” says Berger. “So if you want to stand out among the wide range of options available online, the key is to present an exclusive concept. This could take many forms: by offering a magnificent location in pristine nature, or by taking a particular approach, such as offering Christian camping sites or specialising in luxury and comfort, which might suggest glamping facilities.”
Ever later reservations
“Whereas in the past holidays were booked months in advance, these days customers are booking later and later,” continues Berger. “More often last-minute and almost exclusively online.” It goes without saying that in this scenario it is vital that you are easy to find online. “And, if you can build customer loyalty outside the familiar reservation channels, you can maintain your margins, because you can keep the reservation fees low.”
Schuiteman Accountants & Adviseurs provides its services in the recreation sector mainly to larger recreation parks and recreation providers, with a concentration in the Veluwe region. This enables Schuiteman to provide proper and accurate benchmarking and to advise on price, costs and (long-term) investments, tax matters and the transfer of business ownership. Schuiteman greatly values the continuous development of knowledge and expertise and this is one reason why Schuiteman is a member of RECRON, the Association for Recreation Business Owners in the Netherlands (Dutch: Vereniging van Recreatieondernemers Nederland).