Off-peak seasons in the travel industry often conjure images of serene destinations, shorter lines, and quieter experiences. While they may not be as bustling as peak seasons, these quieter times offer unique opportunities for both travelers and businesses.
Off-peak seasons typically result in seasonal fluctuations which coincide with periods of lower demand, such as the shoulder seasons or the winter months in some regions.
For people who love to travel, quiet times mean cheaper costs, fewer people, and a deeper connection to places. For businesses, particularly tour and activity operators, off-peak seasons can be a chance to diversify their offerings, attract a different clientele, and implement creative strategies to boost bookings.
In this guide, we'll explore how tour and activity operators can tap into the potential of off-peak seasons and boost off-season bookings.
10 Tips to Help You Increase Bookings During the Off-peak Travel Season
1. Offer Rewards for Regular Guests
During off-peak seasons, maintaining a steady stream of bookings is crucial. One effective strategy is to establish a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers. These loyal patrons should be offered exclusive incentives such as off-peak discounts or early access to new packages.
By recognizing and appreciating the loyalty of your customers, you encourage them to return during low season and quieter months. Loyalty programs not only increase bookings and occupancy of your vacation rental property but also foster long-term relationships with your past guests.
Example for Tour Operators: Imagine you run a hiking tour company called "Peak Explorations." You could offer a loyalty program where customers who have booked three or more off-peak hikes receive a 10% discount on their next off-peak booking. This encourages hikers to make off season bookings and return during quieter months to explore different trails.
2. Special Custom Packages
Off-peak travelers often seek unique experiences that differ from the norm. To cater to their desires, consider offering interactive packages that allow customers to customize their experiences.
Interactive packages enable travelers to choose activities, add-ons, or specific dates, granting them a sense of control over their itinerary. This personalization can make their off-peak travel experience more appealing and memorable. You can also consider having an off-season pricing strategy with no minimum nights to gain more bookings.
Example for a Winery Tour Operator: If you operate a winery tour business, consider offering interactive packages that allow customers to customize their wine-tasting experience. They can choose the wineries they want to visit, select wine varietals, and add gourmet picnic options. This level of guest customization enhances their off-peak wine tour.
3. Make Your Website Match Guests
A robust online presence is crucial for any tour and activity operator, both during off-season and high-season. To entice off-peak travelers, implement website personalization features that cater to individual preferences.
Utilize data from past interactions to suggest off-peak tours and activities that align with a visitor's interests. A tailored experience from the beginning can greatly increase the likelihood of conversion.
Example for an Eco-Tourism Company: Suppose you run an eco-tourism company called "Nature Harmony." Implement website personalization by using visitors' past browsing history. If someone frequently looks at a listing of bird-watching tours, the website can suggest off-peak bird-watching excursions, ensuring potential customers see relevant options.
4. Inspire Trust Through Guest's Stay Experiences and Preferences
Building trust with potential customers is paramount during the off-peak season. Showcase customer stories and testimonials on your website and marketing materials.
Feature narratives of travelers who enjoyed memorable experiences during the off-peak season. These real-life accounts inspire trust and confidence in potential customers, making them more likely to book with you.
Example for a Scenic Boat Tour Business: Let's say you operate scenic boat tours. Feature a customer's story on your website about their unforgettable off-peak sunset cruise. Share their experience of tranquil waters and the stunning play of colors in the evening sky. Such narratives build trust and resonate with potential customers seeking unique off-peak adventures.
5. Create Urgency with Last-Minute Deals
Off-peak periods can sometimes result in last-minute vacancies. To fill these slots quickly, create a sense of urgency by offering last-minute deals or flash sales for off-peak tours and encourage last-minute bookings.
Promote these exclusive offers through your referral program, encouraging customers to share them with their networks. A limited-time offer can prompt potential customers to make quick decisions and book their off season of trips.
Example for a Kayaking Adventure Provider: If you offer kayaking adventures, send out last-minute email deals for a weekend getaway to your subscriber list. For instance, offer a 25% discount on a spontaneous off-peak night kayaking trip departing in the next two days. This sense of urgency can prompt adventurous travelers to book quickly.
6. Use Local Happenings and Events
Off-peak travel often coincides with local events and festivals. Capitalize on this synergy by aligning your tours with local businesses' happenings.
Offer exclusive access or discounts to event attendees, and promote these special event packages through your marketing channels. By doing so, you can attract event-goers looking for unique and convenient experiences even during off-season.
Example for a Food Tour Operator: Suppose you operate food tours. Collaborate with local food festivals during high season and off-peak months. Offer festival attendees a special food tour package that includes exclusive access to culinary events and tastings. This can attract food enthusiasts looking for unique off-peak experiences.
7. Build Credibility Through Social Proof
Online credibility is essential for converting potential customers. Utilize social proof elements like trust badges, certifications, and awards on your website.
These signals reassure potential customers that they are making the right choice by booking with you. Highlighting your credentials can significantly boost trust and conversions during low season.
Example for an Adventure Travel Company: If you run an adventure travel company, prominently display certifications related to safety and sustainability on your website. Share stories from customers who participated in off-peak adventure trips and highlight how your company's commitment to safety and the environment made their experiences exceptional.
8. Optimize for Mobile Users
In today's digital age, many travelers use smartphones and tablets to research and book activities. To capture this audience effectively, ensure that your property or website is mobile-responsive. A mobile-friendly site enhances the user experience and can lead to increased conversions during the off-peak season.
Example for a Bicycle Tour Operator: Suppose you offer bicycle tours. Ensure your website is mobile-responsive. When travelers search for off-peak bike tours on their smartphones, they should have a seamless browsing experience, allowing them to easily find and book their preferred cycling adventure.
9. Attract International Travelers with Localized Content
Attracting international travelers can be a lucrative strategy during the off-peak season. Tailor your website and marketing materials to cater to different language preferences and regional interests.
By providing content that resonates with diverse audiences, you can expand your reach and attract travelers from around the world.
Example for a Cultural Heritage Tour Business: If your business focuses on cultural heritage tours, create content in multiple languages to attract international travelers. Provide detailed information about off-peak tours, cultural festivals, and local traditions that appeal to a global audience.
10. Harness the Power of Seasonal Social Media Campaigns
Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Run seasonal advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Highlight the unique aspects of off-peak travel, such as quieter destinations, lower prices, and special experiences. Engage with your audience, answer questions, and create a buzz around off-peak travel opportunities.
Example for a Wildlife Safari Operator: Imagine you run a wildlife safari business. Launch seasonal social media campaigns showcasing breathtaking wildlife encounters during off-peak safari adventures. Share stunning photos and videos of close encounters with rare animals, encouraging potential customers to book their own off-peak safari experience.
Engaging Past Guests with Ticketinghub's Automated Emails
Using Ticketinghub's powerful automated email system, tour operators and vacation rental owners can effortlessly re-engage past guests. Dive into the goldmine of your previous clientele and present them with exclusive deals just for them.
By reigniting these past connections, you not only encourage repeat visits but ensure your brand remains their top choice. Don't let the quiet seasons slow you down; let Ticketinghub turn every off-peak into a potential peak!
Incorporating these ten expert tips into your marketing strategy can significantly boost bookings for tour and activity operators during the off-peak travel season.
By creating loyalty programs, offering interactive packages, personalizing your website, and leveraging social proof, you can make the most of this period and build a loyal customer base that continues to choose your services year-round.
So, off-peak seasons don't have to mean slow business; they can be a time of growth and innovation for your tour, vacation rental and activity company.
Small yet impactful tweaks to your business booking approach can boost reservations and traffic throughout the year, even during quieter periods.
For instance, adopting an online booking system like Ticketinghub streamlines the entire booking process for both you and your customers. Features like an abandoned drip cart campaign, integrated payment options, and automated messages enable customers to secure their bookings in just a few minutes.
Want to explore how Ticketinghub could enhance your business? Schedule a demo with us!