There is something quite spectacular about a bustling peak travel season.
The thrill of excited travelers as they disembark with fresh enthusiasm and inquisitivity, eager to soak up all the knowledge and history from your tour experiences.
While the busy tourist season is exhilarating, getting through off-peak times can be a little tricky if you don’t have the right strategies in place.
Here’s the good news - it is possible to continue selling travel experiences throughout the year. Read on to discover the eight strategies your travel business can implement to increase sales during the off-peak travel season.
Top 7 Strategies For Low-Season Travel
1. Be Proactive
A savvy way to generate interest in your tour business is to use the slow season to promote dates for upcoming peak times.
As an example, you could start promoting tours for Christmas or New Year during the quieter August/September months. Consider offering your clients a discounted price or a special add-on to entice them to book in advance. An “early bird special” so to speak.
This is a clever strategy as it allows you to utilize your slow season to generate more interest and buzz around your tour experiences. This will help you increase visibility at an early stage - which will put your business in the minds of clients before your competitors.
With the use of your chosen tour operator software, ensure that you have the feature available that allows you to market your upcoming tours. Some software providers offer this for free. This makes it easy to effectively promote your more popular tours while your business is quiet.
Did You Know
WeTravel offers this feature on all subscription levels (from our free version to the enterprise solution).
2. Upsell Your Flexible Payment Plans
As a travel business, there are various ways that you can add value to your clients. This isn’t only in reference to the tours and travel experiences you offer.
You could add extra value by using a tour reservation software platform that offers flexible payment plans - such as the option to pay for tours in installments.
Center a marketing campaign around this concept and use your off-peak travel season to promote the benefit of booking a tour early and paying for it in installments. This could help you attract a wider group of clients, and it can help you generate some revenue during the quiet season.
For example, you could start promoting your Spring Break holiday packages in January, highlighting your installment payment options. Let clients know that they can start paying for their tour now, and when the time comes to travel, they will be able to enjoy the trip without forking out a lump sum, all at once.
This makes travel more accessible and more feasible for a broader audience. Adding this feature could set you apart from the competition by offering a unique value proposition, enabling more travelers to afford to travel.
Did You Know
WeTravel lets you fully customize your payment plans, unlike other tour reservation software that only offers you the chance to ask for a deposit and pay the outstanding balance later.
This feature is available for all subscription tiers.
3. Focus On The Last-Minute Market
There’s a big market for last-minute bookings. Just because you’re in the middle of the low season, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t snatch up a few last-minute bookings.
To capitalize on this, you’ll need to have the right offers to nudge clients to make impulse purchases.
Advertise interesting and competitive offers for last-minute travelers by showcasing the quality of your tour packages and experiences offered.
Don't forget about including a link to an impressive review/testimonial page that displays the positive feedback previous travelers have noted about your tour company.
Small details like branded booking pages that incorporate detailed information about the trips you offer should be clearly visible so that clients can easily establish what is offered.
The more detailed your booking page is, the more you will be able to showcase your trips.
An innovative way to entice travelers to book your tours is to add “extras” like complimentary amenities, day-to-day itineraries, free meal or spa vouchers, etc. You could also offer a 10% discount for paying the full amount upfront.
The more value you’re able to highlight about your travel experiences, the easier it will be to attract impulse buys and last-minute bookings.
This is another nifty method of bringing in revenue during off-peak travel times.
4. Make Use Of Referral Campaigns And Competitions
These are creative ways to spread awareness about your brand and your tours. The beauty of referral campaigns is that they require minimal effort from your side, yet they can help you create a lot of buzz about your tour business, and increase your bookings during the off-peak travel season.
People also tend to trust referral messages from people they know more than marketing messages from brands. This is what makes the concept of referral marketing so promising.
How does it work?
You can set up a referral campaign by offering your clients a special discount code. They can then share it with their friends and family, and get rewarded if someone uses the code to book a tour.
This is an effective way to increase brand awareness, and most importantly, book more tours and bring in more revenue.
Everyone loves a freebie. So, it is only fitting to include contests in your marketing strategy to bring in more revenue during your slow season.
This can be executed by using your social media platforms. As an example, you could specify that the requirements include the entrants having to share the branded post to their personal accounts, and tag X number of friends in order to enter.
The aim is to encourage loads of prospective clients to enter the competition, and for your campaign to be shared across multiple social media sites.
Once the winner is announced, you could send all of the other entrants a discount code. Because your tour is at the top of their minds, a discount could act as a catalyst to entice them to purchase a tour package.
In addition to running a classic sweepstakes giveaway, you could also run a special photo or hashtag contest that generates more buzz around your business. This could involve sharing a photo/video of your tours using a specific hashtag etc.
Creative social media contests are a surefire way to increase engagement.
5. Collaborate With Other Businesses
Another resourceful way to increase bookings during the off-peak travel season is to partner up and collaborate with other businesses in your industry.
All the companies involved could offer a certain prize as part of a special package that is only available for a limited time period. A hamper prize always looks more impressive when multiple brands get involved.
Potential business types could include a restaurant, a spa, or any other kind of unique local experience that compliments the overall travel experience.
This works both ways in that each business will help to boost sales for the other during the low season.
6. Offer Seasonal Experiences
It might be a more quiet time for travel, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still people interested in what the season has to offer. Use the low season to highlight the beauty of more intimate travel experiences.
You should optimize your online presence for whatever season you’re in to promote the local offerings (and showcase the lower prices accordingly).
This can inspire people to book tours while everyone else is waiting for the busier holiday months.
The upside to off-peak travel season is that the crowds are much smaller and there are generally fewer tourists hogging the popular spots and attractions. This can be a major drawcard for many travelers.
Put the right offer out there and you may land yourself a number of unexpected bookings for those looking for an intimate travel adventure.
This is the perfect opportunity to partner up with local businesses to include special travel packages inclusive of unique experiences or wellness retreats.
This can help you create more diversity in your travel business, which is especially useful for boosting sales during low-season months.
7. Turn Those Travel Dreams Into A Reality
Even though it’s off-peak travel season, your clients are likely still dreaming and subconsciously planning their next travel adventure.
This is even more reason to keep your marketing efforts up and regularly post to your social media channels. Send regular newsletters, and make sure to keep your travel business at the top of your client’s minds.
This can help you tempt people to book early holidays or impulse trips during the low season. Adding in a flash sale or special promotion is also a useful way to promote and increase your tour bookings.
Off-peak travel season doesn’t necessarily have to mean a pause in your tour bookings. The tactics listed above can help you generate more interest in your travel business and inspire more low-season sales.
You could also use this season to spend more time focusing on your marketing strategy. Take the time to enhance your operations and prepare your business more efficiently for promoting travel deals for the busy season.
To ensure maximum efficiency, use reliable tour reservation software for a seamless customer experience.
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