Demand for tours & activities is influenced by seasonality, regardless of their destination! Every tour and activity business has to adjust their business strategy. To attract customers all year round, you will want to adjust your business strategy too! This is how you'll do it.
Stay productive during your downtime to make money in the off-season. Since you won’t be spending as much time out on tours or guiding activities, you can focus on market research. Discover the latest trends for your own niche industry. Then figure out how you can apply these trends in your business.
When There Isn’t Many, Create Demand by Yourself
How? You can create demand for your tours in two easy ways.
1. Design off-season tours and activities
Are all the tours and activities you offer in the same season? If so, modify them depending on the time of the year or what’s going on. For example, a tour or activity could be modified as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween or Christmas are coming. If there is a festival in a local town, create a specially tailored tour. An interesting fact is that senior travelers love to travel during an off-season. So, you can design or modify some of your tours and activities especially for them. Last, but not least, promote modified tours to increase bookings for a period you didn’t previously have a product for.
2. Attract locals
What a better solution for a seasonal problem than to keep locals interested in your tours and activities? They live in the same town as you 24/7, all year round. So, it would be smart to think of them as buyers, not just neighbors. For instance, if there is a mountain nearby, you can organize hiking tours every weekend. Add value to your tours which locals wouldn’t get if they hiked solo. And, they’ll gladly tip you with a couple of dollars. Moreover, you can specialize in organizing original activities for birthday, bachelor and hen parties. Celebrations don’t have to be labeled with food and drinks, spice things up with adrenaline! Besides that, what do you think about team buildings or fun family get-togethers? As you can see, there are so many activities you could offer during an off-season.
Find a Partner in Crime
Boost sales during your low season by forming a partnership with another business that's busy when yours isn't. For instance, companies that provide trekking tours could become partners with sports store. And they could cross-promote each other. So, travelers get a coupon for e.g. Decathlon and they can use it until the end of the month. Or Decathlon shares a coupon for your tours which their buyers can use out of season.
The length of tourist season matters to your town and country. While you’re organizing tours and trips, you are filling up the state budget. Banks, teleoperators, cafes and restaurants profit. So, have you ever thought about asking for a sponsorship? Write a compelling proposal that makes it clear why a corporation should sponsor your tour business. Instead of simply stating what you sell, explain why you impact lives. Your potential sponsor will want to know what’s in it for them. So, give them some benefits they otherwise wouldn’t get.
Marketing Plan - Promotion of Tours and Activities
Be innovative! Nobody wants to see identical promotions year after year. If you persistently repeat the same things, travelers will participate less and less in. If you are doing what everyone else does, the number of participants in promotions of your tours and activities will be low. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use other company’s ideas, but upgrade them! Make them better.
When planning promotional activities for the next year, don’t forget to check:
- what promotions did you do last year?
- which one has made a positive impact on sales?
- when were they held?
Depending on their previous year performance and an amount of generated bookings, plan them repeated or replaced by other activities.
To promote tours and activities you can organize:
If you have a brilliant campaign idea, save it for the off-season when you’ll want people talking about you. Tour and activity businesses could give away free tours, but we encourage you to think out of the box. To stand out in front of the competitors, it’s in your very best interest to carry out a distinct contest. For an extra boost, ask travelers to submit pictures and videos from their trip. The more interesting content you get from the travelers, the better your contest results.
- Limited Time Only Promotion
When bookings slow down, provide coupons and gift vouchers for tours and activities. Make sure to offer limited time promotions (e.g. Available only for a week). Promotion with an expiration date will create a sense of urgency that yields better results!
- Refer-A-Friend Program
Aside from discounts, you can also offer referral rewards. Refer-A-Friend Program is a marvelous way to retain a traveler and reach out to more clients. For a limited time, you can even double referral program for your tour and activity business. So, for instance, first 10 customers get a free tour (up to $8 each) for 2 persons.
- Special Discounts Usable During Low Season Only
Reward every purchase made during the peak of your season with a buy one get one free voucher that buyers can redeem during your low season. It would be cool if you could send it to a client’s email address so they can’t lose it. Make sure to remind them about their voucher few weeks before a tour or a trip.
- Social Media Presence
Blog: Continue Creating Extraordinary Content
One of the proven ways to maintain relevance as a tour and activities business is by having a blog. On it, you can publish content that:
- has year-round usefulness for travelers.
- brings traffic to your website.
Don’t stop publishing your great articles in the low season, assuming no one is reading! Just because travelers can’t go for a trip right now, doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in the information you have to give. Maybe they will look for inspiration for the next season or travel.
Social Networks: Stay Active All Year
Your travelers don’t vaporize during the off-season. Thus, it’s important to stay in contact with the followers and past customers through the entire year. Inform followers by emphasizing that your tour business is active all year round. A number of incoming travelers might surprise you. Make an extra effort to keep your followers engaged and entertained so they’ll continue following you.
A Thing That Successful Tour Operators Do Differently
In the end, we’d like to share a key for success for tour and activity businesses. Successful tour operators start stretching their season during its peak! You know, while everyone is around. That’s the perfect time for your tour and activity business to:
Grow Your Database
Growing a customer list is much easier when you have plenty of traffic. It may seem intimidating to add database growth to your list of peak season to-dos. But, your off-season success depends on your productivity during this time.
Gather and Publish Reviews
Perform a customer satisfaction survey and collect feedback from travelers. There’s no better way to get to know your travelers than by asking them a few questions. We assembled 9 questions to ask a traveler before and after a trip, you can benefit from. Include questions about what else they would like to experience you may not have provided yet? Create new offers based on their feedback. Finally, publish reviews via Facebook, TripAdvisor and on your company’s web page.
So, in a month or two will be the best time to start extending your season. Get ready!
What are your plans to promote your tour business in the off-season?
Do you set the goals I’ve mentioned above or any others? Have you had success with these strategies? Let us know in the comments below! In case you have seasonally problem and would appreciate some help, feel free to contact us or share it right here.
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