As the end of high season ends, tour and activity operators might bring a mix of relief and apprehension. Working with seasonality means working with the challenges of sustaining revenue and preparing for the upcoming season. As shown in the Tourism statistics - seasonality at regional level, "In one out of five EU regions, more than 50 % of the annual nights are spent in the top 2 months, July and August"
So, what tourism business can expect from the end-of-season? This transitional period demands careful planning and implementation of effective strategies to ensure the sustainability and growth of the business.
In this blog, we'll cover tactics, providing tour and activity operators with insights to maximize their end-of-season period, enhance revenue, and prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the future.
1. Optimize your marketing efforts
With the end of the high season, businesses gain time and can focus on marketing strategies. Take advantage of this time to ensure your campaigns, website, social media, and other strategies are allied with your goals.
But focusing on maintaining your business relevant all year around, here are a few tips that can help you increase revenue.
Enhance your online presence with content marketing
Create compelling blog posts, travel guides, or how-to articles related to your niche. Share interesting stories about your tours, local attractions, or travel tips. High-quality, informative content not only engages your audience but also positions your business as an authority in the industry. Regularly updated content can also improve your website's search engine rankings, driving organic traffic and potential customers to your site.
Invest time optimizing your website and ensuring it is user-friendly, visually appealing, and mobile-responsive. Update your content, including high-quality images, engaging videos, and compelling descriptions of your tours and activities. Additionally, work on improving your search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your website's visibility on search engine results pages.
Leverage your social media campaigns
Social media is a powerful tool for maintaining brand visibility even during the off-season. Engaging content, captivating visuals, and interactive posts can keep your audience interested and excited about your offerings.
Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, customer testimonials, and upcoming events to maintain a strong online presence. You can divide your attention on increasing your bookings for the low season, sharing the peaks of traveling when there are fewer tourists, and the advantages of the weather in those months and events. For example, if your low season is winter, sharing Christmas markets, snow activities, and more. And share content to increase bookings for high season, with special deals and working on your brand awareness.
To learn more about social media strategies, read 5 ways tour operators can re-engage followers on social media.
Email marketing targeted at loyal customers
Email campaigns represent a big part of a successful marketing campaign. Not only because it increases the connection with customers but also because brands make $36 for every U.S. dollar they spent on email marketing.
For end-of-season communication with your loyal customers are your biggest assets. Use email marketing to express gratitude for their patronage and offer them exclusive end-of-season discounts or early bird promotions for the next season. Personalized emails showing appreciation can foster customer loyalty, encouraging repeat business.
Collaborate with local businesses
Teaming with local businesses can create mutually beneficial partnerships. By collaborating with local establishments, tour and activity operators not only expand reach but also contribute to the local economy, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Joint promotions with restaurants, hotels, or other attractions can attract a wider audience. For instance, a discounted dinner at a partnered restaurant after a tour can make the overall experience more enticing for customers.
You can also create unique packages; for example, a scenic boat tour followed by a discounted stay at a partner hotel could be marketed as a relaxing weekend getaway. By bundling tours with complementary services from local businesses, operators can offer diverse packages that cater to different customer preferences.
Keep in mind that joint promotions and cross-marketing strategies can reach a broader audience. Advertise the collaboration on social media, emails, and websites.
2. Enhance customer engagement
Your end-of-the-season can also be a great time to test new format of tours and activities and work on improving relationships with your clients.
Want to try a niched option? Organize exclusive events or workshops to create buzz and attract enthusiasts. Whether it's a photography workshop for nature enthusiasts or a cooking class for food lovers, these events generate revenue and promote your destination.
You can create packages to cater families and groups. Combine multiple tours or activities into attractive packages at discounted rates. Family-friendly packages or group adventure deals can encourage larger bookings, maximizing your revenue during the off-season.
And just as important as enhancing new customers is to build stronger connections with previous clients. Loyalty programs encourage them to choose your services again; you can offer exclusive perks such as priority booking, special discounts, or complimentary add-ons. These incentives retain existing customers and motivate them to recommend your services to others.
Another way to reinforce relationships with clients is by collecting feedback and testimonials. Use this downtime to gather reviews from previous customers to understand their experiences, suggestions, and pain points. Answer negative and positive evaluations and select positive ones that can be shared on your website and other marketing materials to build credibility and trust among potential customers.
And if you want to learn more about getting more feedback, read 6 simple ways to get more customer reviews for your business.
3. Streamline your operations
Ensuring operational efficiency is needed year-round, and optimizing your business, from internal workflows to customer interactions, can enhance internal processes and customer experiences. Here are some ways you can streamline your operations:
Implement efficient booking and reservation systems
Efficient booking systems streamline the reservation process, enhancing customer satisfaction. Implement user-friendly online booking platforms that allow customers to browse tours, check availability, and make reservations easily. According to Think with Google, 48% of experience bookings are happening once travelers arrive at their destination.
With different options available, it's essential to understand your business requirements and customer expectations. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a booking system:
- User-friendly interface. Customers should be able to navigate the website effortlessly, explore different tours, view detailed descriptions, check availability, and complete bookings with just a few clicks. A simple and intuitive interface enhances user experience, encouraging more visitors to convert into customers.
- Mobile compatibility. Ensure the booking system is mobile-responsive, providing a seamless experience across various screen sizes and devices.
- Real-time availability updates. Prevent overbooking and provide accurate information to customers about tour availability.
- Secure payment gateway. Choose a booking system that integrates with secure payment gateways, allowing customers to make payments confidently. SSL encryption and other security measures ensure that customers' payment information is protected, fostering trust and credibility.
- Customer support. In case of technical issues or customer inquiries, having responsive and knowledgeable support can make a significant difference. Prompt assistance ensures that any problems are resolved swiftly, minimizing disruptions in the booking process and maintaining a positive customer experience.
Conduct staff training and evaluations
Trained and motivated staff are essential for delivering exceptional customer experiences. Use the off-season to conduct training sessions, focusing on customer service skills, product knowledge, and safety protocols. Regular staff evaluations can identify areas for improvement and ensure consistent service quality.
Analyze performance metrics for data-driven decisions
Analyzing key metrics, including customer demographics, booking patterns, and customer feedback, empowers tour and activity operators to make data-driven decisions that can significantly impact their offerings and customer experiences.
- Understanding customer demographics. Studying customer demographics provides valuable insights into the target audience. By analyzing factors such as age, gender, location, and interests, operators can tailor tours and activities to cater to specific customer segments. For instance, if a significant portion of customers belongs to a younger age group, consider introducing more adventurous and adrenaline-pumping activities to appeal to this demographic.
- Analyzing booking patterns. Booking patterns offer a goldmine of information about customer behavior. By tracking booking data, operators can identify peak booking times, popular tour durations, and preferred weekdays. This information can be used to optimize pricing strategies and tour schedules. Understanding booking patterns also enables operators to allocate resources efficiently, ensuring they have adequate staff and equipment available during peak times.
- Identifying trends and areas for improvement. By regularly analyzing performance metrics, operators can spot emerging trends in customer preferences and behavior. For example, if there is a growing demand for eco-friendly tours or immersive cultural experiences, operators can develop new offerings that align with these trends. Additionally, analyzing customer feedback might reveal recurring issues such as long waiting times or communication gaps. Addressing these issues promptly through process improvements can significantly enhance the overall customer experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates and positive reviews.
Implementing a long-term strategy
End-of-season tactics are vital for the sustained success of tour and activity operators. By optimizing marketing efforts, enhancing customer engagement, streamlining operations, diversifying services, and investing in off-season maintenance, businesses you can navigate the off-season effectively. These strategies not only maximize revenue but also build customer loyalty, ensuring a strong foundation for the upcoming season.
TrekkSoft's user-friendly platform can streamline your booking process, customise your booking flow and deliver a delightful booking experience on any website, on any device. Embrace these end-of-season tactics, and with the right tools and strategies in place, your tour and activity business can thrive year-round.