Running a tour business is most definitely a fulfilling and rewarding career path. You get to provide people traveling from around the world with an experience they’ll be able to remember forever. But with any business operating within the travel and tourism industry, there’ll always be high seasons and slow seasons all year round.

It’s natural for things to slow down after your busiest season has run its course, however, that doesn’t mean that you need to settle for fewer bookings. In fact, there are numerous ways you can maximize and seize every opportunity that comes your way during the tourism off-season.

In today’s article, we’ll list the 7 tips that’ll help you make the most of the low-season.

1. Understand the low-season travel periods in your region

low-season travel periods in different regions

It’s important to understand that different countries, regions and even cities have different peak and off-peak seasons. There are many factors that could lead to an influx in visitors, a few reasons being seasons, holidays, annual celebrations, and even local events.

For example, regions in the Northern Hemisphere such as Europe and North America usually experience an influx in incoming travelers during the middle of the year. This is due to the fact that summer in the Northern Hemisphere starts from June – August. It’s also when schools and colleges in Europe, the U.S., and Canada go on their summer break.

On the opposite end, November through to March is when Europe and North America hit their low-season travel periods (with the exception of December due to the lead-up to Christmas). This is because most parts of these regions are affected by the cold temperatures and shorter days, discouraging travelers from visiting.

As a tour operator, it’s important to understand the time of the year when you experience fewer interests and low-season bookings. By doing so, you can effectively plan ahead for the off-peak months within your local area.

2. Build your low-season marketing strategy

In the digital age of travel, marketing your brand and services has never been more accessible. With the power of digital marketing and optimizing channels such as social media and search engines, your chances of being discovered will increase exponentially – so long you strategize it correctly.

Start by looking outside your standard audience and see other demographics you could potentially target.

For example, with the drop in international visitors during the low-season travel periods, try and build interest with local travelers. After all, they’re there all year round and can give you tons of repeat business and word of mouth.

A great local marketing strategy is by enhancing your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of optimizing your web presence so that you appear before your competitors on search engine results pages. By doing so, you’ll be able to boost your exposure to thousands of potential customers browsing the internet for the experiences that you offer.

If you’d like to learn more about boosting your local SEO, check out these two guides:

3. Optimize your website

boost bookings during the low-season travel period
Your website is key in ensuring you capture those low-season low-season bookers. An appealing website that encapsulates your experiences effectively will build confidence in your site visitors to finalize their booking with you.

An optimized website should:

  • Feature image and video content
  • Provide detailed tour descriptions
  • Be mobile-optimized as more than 58% of website traffic come from mobile
  • Display reviews to further build confidence in your business
  • Have a streamlined booking process that offers secure online payments by using an online booking system
  • By optimizing your website, not only will you provide a positive guest experience by simplifying their booking journey, but you’ll also be streamlining your processes.

4. Retarget existing customers with a loyalty program

As a tour operator, nurturing your business’s overall customer experience will ultimately lead to long-term customer success.

By having customers who are loyal to your brand, not only will they become brand ambassadors who will actively promote your business for you, but you’ll also be gaining repeat direct bookings more frequently.

Developing customer loyalty programs will ensure that you actively stay engaged with your customers so that your business will always be on top of mind when they seek for similar experiences to the ones you offer.

5. Offer discounts and special offers

Who doesn’t love a bargain? Discounts, special offers, and other incentives are all reasons that will give your customers a bit more motivation to book during the low-season travel period.

Since promotions are generally available for a limited time, it gives your customers a sense of urgency to use the offer before it expires. By knowing this, you can set the dates for your offer solely during your off-peak dates.

Some special offerings you could provide could include:

  • Weekday pricing
    Low-season prices and discounts
  • Free add-ons and extras (i.e transportation, discounted equipment hire, etc.)
  • Gift vouchers and promo codes
  • Buy X get X free

By setting up these offers and pricing strategies, you’d be able to maintain your revenue management during the low-season without needing to settle for a loss.

6. Form a partnership with other operators

form partnerships to boost low-season travel bookings

An effective method to boost your off-peak bookings is by strengthening your local tourism. Developing strategic partnerships with other local businesses within your area is one way to reel in both domestic and international travelers.

By forming a strategic partnership with other businesses such as local hoteliers, your local hospitality industry, transportation companies, and other non-competing operators, you can create enticing tour packages that will lure travelers.

Tour packages are a great product offer as it provides your customers with convenience. Not only that, by forming tour packages with other businesses, you’ll be able to set negotiated prices that offers your customers greater benefits than if they were to purchase each product individually.

By providing them with an all-inclusive package laced with an attractive price tag, you’ll definitely be getting many interests from those looking for a season vacation or a hassle-free getaway.

7. Broaden your distribution channels

As a tour operator, one of the most efficient ways in increasing your bookings is by broadening your distribution channels. In many cases, most operators would prefer to receive direct bookings, however, indirect bookings will allow you to fill out the remaining empty slots.

By utilizing a distribution solution, such as Rezdy Channel Manager, you’ll be able to resell your services to thousands of agents worldwide. This will open up your booking streams to hundreds of different avenues, so you can increase your reach to thousands of potential customers from around the world.

Rezdy’s tour operator marketplace allows you to connect to over 25,000 active resellers within the industry. This includes the biggest OTAs like Tripadvisor and GetYourGuide, independent local travel agents, or even government bodies such as your local tourism board or information centers.

By utilizing a channel manager, you’ll be able to maximize your occupancy rate and receive a higher turnover of bookings, especially when trying to fill up last-minute empty slots.

Conclusion

Maintaining steady bookings during the low-season travel period can definitely be a challenge, however, it’s not impossible. By following these 7 tips, you’ll be sure to maximize your incoming bookings during the off-season.

By using an online booking software to effectively manage these incoming bookings, not only will you be simplifying your customer’s booking experience, but you’ll also be streamlining your processes as well. Giving your customers more reason to book.

For instance, Rezdy’s online booking software offers advanced features that will allow your customers to place a booking instantly. These features include real-time availability viewer, payment gateway integrations and automatic communication.

With all these features combined, your customers can place a booking 24/7 without you needing to present or manning your computer. It’s a win-win for both you and your customers.

Ready to boost bookings this low-season travel period? Start a FREE 21-day trial or learn more about Rezdy and our products by booking a demo with our friendly team today.

If you enjoyed this article then make sure to follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and tour operator tips designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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