Low Season Thriving Guide

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As a tourism business, navigating the low season can be a challenging yet pivotal time for sustaining growth and success. While the peak periods may bring a surge of visitors and revenue, the off-peak months present unique opportunities to innovate, engage with customers, and build a resilient business model. 

With a strategic approach, you can not only survive the low season but use it as an opportunity to refresh, refine, and position yourself for an even stronger peak season. 

In this guide, we'll explore actionable strategies to help your tourism business not just survive but thrive during the low season, you have to work harder for those bookings but once you hit on a formula that delivers steady bookings you can apply the strategies every year.

Grow Demand with Off-Peak Deals

Let's be honest travellers expect lower prices in the low season, but beyond the normal low-season rates changes it's important to be creative with how you package up product with strategies that entice bookings.

  • Value-added Deals: Offer discounts, complimentary upgrades, or added perks that combine different experiences to attract travellers who are more likely to venture out during the off-season and it will encourage longer stays. A "winter cosy escape" package could be just the lure to get extra bookings!
  • Local Partnerships: Collaborate with other local businesses, such as restaurants, shops, activity and accommodation providers, to offer bundled deals that showcase the best of your destination.
  • Last Minute and Early Bird Specials: Generate excitement with last minute offers and early bird discounts. This incentivises bookings and helps fill in the gaps during slower periods. Last minute booking sites and tourism mobile apps like BookMe are popular for seeking out travel deals.

Spread the Word with Digital Marketing

It's not enough to just create a package or lower your rates in low season, you need to let the right people know about it to get eyes on your offer and to book on your website. 

  • Content Marketing: Develop engaging content that showcases the charm and appeal of your destination/s during the low season. Use blog posts, videos, and social media to share insider tips, highlight local events, and showcase typical experiences.
  • Email Campaigns: Maintain regular communication with past and potential customers through targeted email campaigns. Share updates, promotions, and personalised recommendations to keep your business top-of-mind.
  • SEO Optimisation: Optimise your website and content for search engines to attract organic traffic. Focus on long-tail keywords related to off-peak travel and include local landmarks or attractions to enhance visibility. Think about blog articles highlighting events, festivals and locations using local knowledge to provide advice.
  • Targeted Campaigns: Don't waste resources on broad marketing efforts. Tailor your message to specific demographics with paid ad campaigns that target who might be more interested in what you offer in the off-season, like retirees, students, or remote workers.
  • Highlight Low-Season Advantages: Focus on the unique benefits of the low season. Is it a time for experiencing local culture without the crowds? Perfect weather for outdoor adventures? Showcase these advantages in your marketing materials.
  • Social Media Savvy: Leverage social media campaigns to stay connected with your audience. Share captivating content about the off-season experience, run contests, and engage with potential customers.

Foster Customer Engagement

Showing a personal touch extends past just face to face interactions and into the digital world so you can capture attention, create a positive impression and even attract repeat bookings or referrals.

  • Personalised Experiences: Offer personalised recommendations and itineraries based on travellers' interests and preferences. Leverage data analytics and customer feedback to tailor experiences that exceed expectations.
  • Interactive Platforms: Utilise social media platforms, and online review forums like Tripadvisor to engage with travellers and provide real-time assistance. Encourage user-generated content and reviews to build trust and credibility.
  • Customer Loyalty Benefits: Reward repeat customers and incentivise referrals with exclusive benefits. Offer discounts, early access to promotions, or offer online vouchers as a friends and family gift idea.

Diversify & Become a Destination Year Round

There was a lot of creativity during the pandemic to pivot tourism businesses to broaden revenue streams, these great ideas can apply in the low season too!

  • Diversify Your Offerings: Think beyond the usual tourist fare. Offer cooking classes or demonstrations, take-home food products (that tasty granola everyone loves!), workshops, weddings (or elopements!), or hosting events that cater to a wider range of interests. 
  • Tap into the Local Market: Don't neglect the locals within your regions! Create special promotions or resident-only packages to cultivate a year-round customer base. 
  • Partner Up: Collaborate with other local businesses to offer multi-day packages or joint promotions. This fosters a sense of community and expands your reach.

Focus on Operational Improvement

Use the extra time you have in the low season to review all aspects of your business operations to implement improvements that will provide great returns when it's busy again. Aiming for a higher Qualmark rating and other industry accreditations for example could be a hugely beneficial strategy to focus on in the low season.

  • Staff Training: Invest in training to equip your staff with the skills and knowledge to deliver exceptional customer service. Empower them to exceed customer expectations and handle challenging situations with professionalism.
  • Maintenance and Upgrades: Use the low season to conduct maintenance, renovations, or upgrades to enhance the quality of your facilities and services. Address any feedback or issues from previous seasons to improve overall guest satisfaction.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Implement sustainable practices and eco-friendly initiatives to attract environmentally-conscious travellers. Highlight your commitment to responsible tourism and conservation efforts.

By implementing these strategies and embracing the opportunities of the low season, your tourism business can not only weather challenges but emerge stronger, more resilient, and poised for long-term success. Emphasise creativity, innovation, and a customer-focus to keep your business thriving year-round.

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