Four Smart Ways to Market Your Tourism Business in the Off-season

April 19th, 2018 by Michelle Neuhoff Boyd

Seasonality is a major marketing challenge for the tourism industry. Considering the struggle to turn a profit during the low season, and the rush of overtime work during the high season, this challenge should come as no surprise. The good news, however, is that we have solutions! With these four smart ways to market during the off-season, travel and tourism companies can combat seasonality and improve business year-round.

1. Build Email Databases All Year

Email might seem a bit old-school in the world of digital marketing, but even in 2018, email databases provide a valuable list of people who are genuinely interested in your brand. And when it comes to efficiently targeting your marketing campaigns, interested people who have subscribed to your database are much more likely to buy your product than those who haven’t subscribed. Some simple ways to build your database include prominently featuring sign-up forms on your website and across your social media channels and clearly informing new customers when they will be added to your email list. This transparency will promote trust in your brand and cut down on any annoying surprise emails, thereby limiting your number of unsubscribers and keeping your database numbers strong.

Even though you’ll be using your email database to communicate during the off-season, it should be a priority during your peak season, as this is when you’ll be interacting with the most customers, both on and offline. For more tips on how to make the most of your email marketing campaign—and which crucial mistakes to avoid—read our past blog post on email marketing for small businesses.

2. Create a Low-Season Content Strategy

With your email database in place, you’ll need fantastic content to send to your customers and leads, keeping them engaged with your brand even when they aren’t able to purchase your products or experiences. This Hubspot blog, for example, suggests some great off-season blog topics for pick-your-own fruit or vegetable businesses, including smoothie recipes with frozen berries, and lists of foods for families to grow in the winter. Providing useful and engaging information even when you’re closed can build customer loyalty and encourage people to remember your business for once you’re back open.

If your business is still open during the off-season, you have even more opportunity to drive sales with content! Consider a blog that addresses a common tourist concern and turns it into a positive opportunity. For example, a company in the tropics, where the rainy season is a big concern, could write a blog focusing on their location’s amazing indoor experiences, like shopping or museums. Or, if the company is a local zoo, they could write a blog explaining different animals that thrive in wet and humid conditions, and then promote the decreased prices and cooler weather that come with a little rain. To make these blogs especially compelling, your team should get out and about during the off-season and share first-hand accounts and photographs of their activities. This will show potential customers what your area is truly like during the off-season and likely convince them that an off-season trip will still be loads of fun. For more great content ideas, visit our content marketing services page, and learn how our business can help yours!

3. Offer Discounted Off-season Experience Packages

In addition to sending your team out and about during the off-season, consider using discounted experience packages to send customers exploring, as well. While discounts can feel like a risky strategy for driving business, there are many ways to leverage these discounts to your advantage. For example, host a contest or giveaway and then require the winners to submit photos, videos, or diary entries while on the trip. You can then form these first-hand customer experiences into a blog for your content strategy, or otherwise use them to promote your experience package.

Because activities and accommodations are already planned in this type of discounted trip, experience packages will likely appeal to short-on-time travelers who want to get straight from Dreaming to Experiencing Moments, without slogging through Organizing and Booking. For more information on these crucial moments, and how your business can use them to attract customers, read our recent blog post on travel micro-moments.

4. Don’t Forget About the Locals

Locals deserve a lot of love for showing their hometown love and support during the off-season. The off-season is the perfect time to say thanks to locals, and make some money while you’re at it! Consider offering discounts for local residents, or altering your marketing strategy to promote staycations or otherwise appeal to the local community. Sometimes people just need a reminder of all the fun things they can do in their own city!

Also, don’t forget that locals are the primary source for visiting friends and relatives, which can contribute heavily to your customer base, especially during the off-season. To see how Search Influence has helped tourism customers in our community market to both locals and visitors, visit our Zoos, Museums, and Attractions page.

Seasonality will always be a challenge for businesses in the seasonal tourism industry—after all, it’s right there in the name! However, with these four marketing strategies, you can combat the low profits of the low season and improve your business year-round.


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