How Muiderslot Attracted a Millennial and Gen Z Museum Audience with the Right Marketing Partners

Joslyn McIntyre

November 22, 2021

One of the oldest and best preserved castles in the Netherlands, Rijksmuseum Muiderslot, is located just outside of Amsterdam – a gorgeous location overlooking what used to be called the Zuiderzee (the Dutch South Sea). Separated from the village of Muiden by an old-fashioned moat, the castle was built in 1285 and has functioned as a museum since 1878. Yet, Muiderslot wasn’t on the radar of millennials and Gen Z culture lovers – a prime museum audience.

As Britt Bake of the museum’s marketing and communications team says, “Muiderslot is more than just a castle with knights and stuff. The gardens, for instance, are a great spot to chill with a beer and enjoy your afternoon.”


Even before the pandemic, but especially since emerging from it, Bake’s marketing team has been hard at work getting the museum experience out there to a wider audience – not just history buffs and tourists, but younger folks eager for new experiences and a change of environment.


In 2021, Bake’s team was approached by Tiqets and dating app Inner Circle to try a different approach to marketing. The outcome of this creative brainstorm? The Win the Ultimate Amsterdam Date campaign, which awarded one lucky young couple the castle all to themselves for an evening. This turned out to be a highly successful marketing effort that, among other metrics, resulted in 1M+ impressions on social media. 


It’s these types of ideas that Bake was looking for when she searched for an online travel agent (OTA) in the first place. Muiderslot doesn’t have the staffing capacity to come up with a lot of marketing campaigns on their own, so having partners like Tiqets who approach and include them in novel marketing campaigns, and move the needle on museum engagement, is essential.

Young people really need to be convinced it’s a fun thing to do before they’ll come,

but getting people's attention is not easy."

Britt Bake

Rijksmuseum Muiderslot Marketing and Communications Specialist

The Challenge

Attracting a Millenial and Gen Z museum audience


Muiderslot has always been a draw for travelers to the Dutch city of Amsterdam, but unlike some tourist attractions, this castle has traditionally hosted more locals than visitors. The museum audience has traditionally been a ratio of 35% out-of-towners to 65% local visitors. Being on the radar of locals was wonderful, of course, but it had its limitations. As Bake explains, “For Dutch people, it was always assumed you’d visit the castle only three times: once as a child, once as a parent, and once as a grandparent. It’s always been just a family activity. We wanted to change that.”

Muiderslot has so much to offer the Millennial and Gen Z crowd, and not just as a once-every-20-years occasion. But appealing to the millennial and Gen Z audiences presented new marketing challenges. As Bake says, “Young people really need to be convinced it’s a fun thing to do before they’ll come, but getting people's attention is not easy – and because we’re a bit further out of Amsterdam, we’re hard to reach.” 

Bake knew there was an opportunity for increased museum engagement with both domestic visitors and visiting tourists if the marketing team could find a way to reach that “middle museum audience.” But they needed a few things to pull this off: 


  • New programming and experiences
  • A ticketing partner with international reach and the ability to widen the audience domestically
  • Innovative marketing aimed at a younger, social-media savvy audience


They already worked with a few ticketing providers, but they didn't just need a ticket reseller; they needed a marketing partner.


The castle and the gardens are such an instagrammable place,

and the Tiqets campaign really helped show that off!

Britt Bake

Rijksmuseum Muiderslot Marketing and Communications Specialist

The Solution

Partnering with Tiqets on attention-grabbing marketing


Bake had worked with Tiqets before in her marketing and communications work for other organizations, so the potential for partnership was already on her radar. Her instinct and experience proved right. With international reach, a white-label ticketing solution, a robust ticketing engine, and – most important – the marketing resources to help create compelling experiences, Tiqets was the whole package for Muiderslot.

Bake backs this up saying: “We've really been in the spotlight thanks to Tiqets. Last year we won a Remarkable Venue Award – really cool. I also took part in a webinar to tell other travel industry professionals about our experiences. And more recently, we participated in a campaign coordinated by Tiqets and Inner Circle: Win the Ultimate Amsterdam Date.”


Together, Tiqets and Muiderslot approached the goal of attracting a new museum audience in several different ways.

We've really been in the spotlight thanks to Tiqets."

Britt Bake

Rijksmuseum Muiderslot Marketing and Communications Specialist

01

Reaching a new museum audience with high-profile marketing campaigns

“Muiderslot always been a castle for children,” says Bake, “but it’s also so much fun for young adults. We really want to reach those younger people.” The team started generating ideas for exciting campaigns they could launch, and looked for partners to help come up with more ideas, as well as facilitate and promote them.


One of the highlights of these efforts was the 2021 campaign Win the Ultimate Amsterdam Date. Dreamed up by Tiqets’ marketing team, along with dating app Inner Circle, Muiderslot’s role in the campaign was simple: to play host. Tiqets and Inner Circle handled most of the promotional efforts. The campaign was a wild success:


  • 200 competition entries in the Netherlands
  • 1M+ impressions on social media
  • 1,500+ visits to the contest landing page


And it only ran for two weeks! 


“We didn’t have to think about it,” says Bake. “The idea was brought to us, and when we welcomed the winning couple, we saw that they were exactly the people we wanted to reach. And there were 200 applicants, which was very exciting to see!”


For the lucky couple, the actual date was a complete success, too. They picnicked in the gardens, took a tour of the castle, and were transported to and from the date in a private car.


For Muiderslot, the ability to collaborate on an experience to get more visibility on social media and other platforms was key. “The castle and the gardens are such an instagrammable place, and the campaign really helps show that off!” says Bake. “But it’s not something we had the capacity to do ourselves, so that’s why it’s so important to have a partner like Tiqets.”

02

Landing a partner in creating new experiences

This was just one example of an innovative experience that Muiderslot has offered. During the pandemic, when indoor experiences came to a stunning halt, the museum created a Camping in the Plum Garden experience. By purchasing just 20 family tents, the museum was able to capitalize on the lovely gardens on the grounds and invite guests to come camp out overnight, so museum engagement didn’t come to a slamming halt.

In fact, guests participating in the camping experience were thrilled by a revolutionary new experience that included:

  • A picnic basket of goodies to welcome their stay
  • An invitation for a drink in the garden
  • A private tour of the castle in small, intimate groups


At night, around the campfire, spooky stories were told, and in the morning, breakfast was served to clear up any scary dreams. The whole extravaganza was a highly successful family event that Muiderslot will now offer every year, long after the pandemic is gone.


This and other innovative experiences are made possible for a small museum marketing team because of partnerships with Tiqets and other organizations. And this particular offer was spotlighted in a Tiqets webinar earlier this year. “It feels like Tiqets is always coming up with interesting campaigns and novel marketing opportunities to reach new people," Bake says.


It feels like Tiqets is always coming up with interesting campaigns

and novel marketing opportunities to reach new people."

Britt Bake

Rijksmuseum Muiderslot Marketing and Communications Specialist

03

Managing crowds post-COVID without a lot of IT expertise

Coming up with enhanced marketing ideas and innovative experiences was key to surviving the pandemic, but COVID brought other concerns, too. For instance, even when going back to indoor tours, Muiderslot’s facilities team had to worry about keeping crowds down. 

When able to open up again more broadly, using Tiqets allowed the museum to control exactly how many tickets were sold per day, per time slot, in order to ensure social distancing. They could also block out times during peak hours when it was preferable to sell tickets onsite versus online.

The ability to make changes to those numbers themselves, without having to call in IT support, was key, because Muiderslot’s marketing team is a small group without a lot of technical expertise: “When resellers ask us to set up API connections,” says Bake, “we just don’t have the capacity to do so.”

Partnering with Tiqets gave Muiderslot’s team easy access to the ticketing tools they needed to manage crowds and engineer a healthy recovery strategy post-pandemic.

04

Partnering with an OTA that’s utterly easy to collaborate with

The partnership with Tiqets also gives Bake an additional resource for her marketing and ticketing needs. 


While access to an account manager over the phone is convenient, it’s those big-ticket marketing items, so to speak, that make the partnership really pay off. The opportunities Tiqets enables by creating cool experiences and high-profile marketing campaigns give Muiderslot the advantage in a competitive tourism industry emerging from a pandemic. 


“When it comes to innovative platforms, I really get the feeling that Tiqets is doing more than just selling tickets,” Bake says. “You keep on exploring more opportunities – like the extra campaigns. It's really unique.”


When it comes to innovative platforms,

I really get the feeling Tiqets is doing more than just selling tickets."

Britt Bake

Rijksmuseum Muiderslot Marketing and Communications Specialist

Muiderslot has developed a progressive view on how to attract a Gen Z and millennial audience while staying true to its authentic history with a crafty mixture of antiquity and modernity. Winning Tiqets’ Remarkable Venue Awards was a nice acknowledgement of the hard work the Muiderslot marketing team has taken on to carve out a new niche in tourism as well as local culture. 


“Winning the award was really nice,” says Bake, “just to show other museums and attractions who we are and that we’re doing cool stuff.” But the real benefit to the partnership between Muiderslot and Tiqets has been the increased attention from a younger and local audience.


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