The Red Light District And Marketing

Picture showing the Amsterdam Red Light District

I am lucky enough to travel to the Dutch capital on a regular basis. As many of you know, prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and The Red Light District in Amsterdam acts as a tourist attraction for people from all walks of life. There is nothing dirty or hidden about this area. Parents walk these streets with their children, lovers roam the narrow passages holding hands and curious individuals from all over the world sheepishly glance into the windows featuring women of all sizes and shapes. The women pay taxes, enjoy health insurance and their work counts towards their retirement plans. Health check-ups are mandatory every three months and the use of protection cannot be avoided.

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This year I couldn’t help but notice that many windows were empty. This was hard for me to understand since it was clear to me that the oldest business in the world wouldn’t just disappear overnight, especially not in such favorable conditions.

Empty window that is for rent.
For Rent

I decided to use my investigative and people skills to find out more. I approached one of the girls with a rather unusual request – let’s talk some business and marketing.

Regulatory Environment

The current leaders of Amsterdam want to decrease prostitution in the city and make it more difficult to obtain new permits. They want to cater more towards a crowd that is interested in museums, rather than booty and weed. The sex industry’s response is the creation of decentralized private houses which are legal brothels that host great numbers of ladies and men. In other words, many individuals combine forces to offer a variety of common services under one roof. Do you see an opportunity in your industry to do that?

Technical Aggregators

The advances in technology have not halted from this industry either. I am told that there are apps for prostitutes now – think Yelp for hookers, where interested individuals can browse profiles, chat, negotiate and pay all via smartphones. This holds many advantages for both sides. More anonymity is granted and shyness is no longer an obstacle. The use of cash has become unnecessary (don’t we all love Uber for that) and GPS functionality easily guides you to your meeting point. The pleasure workers no longer have to rent the red booths, which I am told can cost up to 200 EUR per day. Instead, they can wait for their next job from the comfort of their homes. What technical aggregators exist in your industry and have you thought about taking advantage of them. To underestimate this source of business!


I learned that many whores decide to go freelance. Is easier and safer since they get to pick and choose their clients. A highly undesirable customer is a drunk or someone on hard drugs. They can simply and easily deny service to such individuals. As freelancers should do, they have looked for complementary industries to partner up with. Hotel concierges and taxi drivers turned out to be perfect partners since these folks get asked numerous times if they know a good place or fun person. They bring the referrals and collect nice commissions. Can you think of perfect referral partners in your industry? Think out of the box! Then non-obvious avenues are less competitive.

Finding a sugar daddy (or mommy)

If a girl or a woman has a sugar daddy then she gets compensated for her services that can have both sexual and social components. Well-off men usually prefer to have a long lasting and exclusive relationship with their mistress that goes beyond the confinements of the bedroom. This means that these prostitutes have chosen to focus on single, high-yield accounts, rather than many small jobs. I am told that some sugar daddies pay up t0 5,000 EUR per week on a contractual basis. If you know that some girls have up to 3 sugar daddies then you can easily make the math. How could your business focus more on single accounts that bring return business, instead of always being on the hunt for the next project?

I hope you don’t mind the rather unconventional approach this article took, but there’s something very powerful about recognizing patterns in your environment and applying them to your unique situation.

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