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Willemijn van Dolen | Netflix tourism also has a downside

Willemijn van Dolen,
24 juni 2024 - 15:03

Visiting all the locations from your favorite movies or series during your vacation is becoming increasingly popular. It also has a downside, discovered columnist Willemijn van Dolen: unrealistic expectations.

I read in the newspaper that there have never been as many visitors to Amsterdam as in 2023 and that it is part of an international trend of more tourists. You might be about to go on vacation yourself. During those trips, we often want to see the highlights of the destination. In addition to standard attractions like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, these days that includes “set-jetting” or Netflix tourism.

This involves visiting locations from your favorite movie or series. In Amsterdam, you can take movie walks past movie locations like De Dampkring where Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon met in “Ocean’s 12.” Well-known sources of Netflix tourism include “Emily in Paris,” “The White Lotus” (Taormina in Sicily), and “Ripley” (the Amalfi Coast in Italy).
My first thought was that the retailers would be happy about this. After all, more traffic means more sales. You want a croissant from the same baker as Emily and to sleep in the hotel where The White Lotus was shot. Yet not all cheers are heard from business owners.

The baker now begs people to stop leaving negative reviews

For example, the baker Thierry Rabineau from “Emily in Paris” complains that his new Netflix customers have unrealistic expectations about his croissants.
The result: negative reviews. Even though his sales consist of 40 percent Emily fans, the baker suffers from criticism he feels is unfair. As his daughter says on TikTok; “A lot of people expect to find something out of this world but we are just a very traditional boulangerie. Wer’e not here to sell you a dream.” As a result, the baker now begs people to stop leaving negative reviews.
I understand his frustration. But perhaps even the negative comments are not doing him any favors. Research shows that reviews perceived as unfair actually attract empathy and elicit supportive, positive reactions. People want to support the company and buy exactly there. According to the researchers, by showing the people behind the employees and providing personal and human responses as a company, you create empathy and thus protection from the potential negative consequences of negative reviews.
Also, highlighting why unfair reviews are unfair increases empathy and makes people want to visit the store. Baker Rabineau does this very well. He is featured with a nice photo of his Boulangerie Moderne in the Daily Mail with the headline: Emily in Paris bakery made famous by TV show begs fans to stop leaving BAD reviews after visitors said it does not live up to its image. Instead of suffering from it, he could follow the example of business owners who even put a spin on it. One sandwich store has a sign out front that says “Come in and try that worst sandwich that one guy on Yelp ever had in his life.” In other words: If you can’t beat them, join them!