Whether you own a hotel, a tour company or even a restaurant, you’ve experienced the challenges associated with low season. After high season ends, business starts to slow down, and your website and storefront become empty. Sometimes it feels like forever and you start to wonder, “will it ever turn around?”
But don’t let it get you down! Instead of sitting around and waiting for things to pick up again, use this valuable time for marketing! There are many things you can be doing in the meantime to keep your head afloat. Here’s what you should be thinking about to keep your business on people’s minds year round.
Grow Your Customer List While You’re Busy
During your peak season, your website and location will be busy. Take advantage of the extra customers and collect a strong list of email addresses of people who’ve expressed interest in your business. You will be able to contact these people during low season and stay at the forefront of their minds so that they remember you when it is time for high season.
Make sure your website has plenty of calls-to-action. Buttons like book now and learn more make it easy for customers to take action.
Gather Customer Reviews
During your entire season, but especially as your season comes to an end , you should be asking your customers to review your products or services. By gathering customer stories and testimonials when they’re still fresh, you’ll have reviews that are more detailed and personal that will make off-season readers notice you.
Use those comments in your off-season email marketing, blog posts, website pages, and social media updates. For an extra boost, ask customers to submit pictures and videos from their experience with your business. The more interesting content you can get from your customers, the better your off-season marketing campaigns will be.
Produce Enticing Content
There are lots of events that take place during low season. Show people what they are missing while they are away. Give them a reason to visit. Let them know what is waiting for them. Here are some blog posts or marketing offers you could create during low season:
- 5 Unusual Banana Recipes
- Interview with a Chocolate Maker
- How to Grow Your Own Pineapple At Home
- 7 Little Known Facts About Costa Rica
- 5 Rainy Day Tours
Just because your audience can’t utilize your products or services right this moment, doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from and be interested in the information you have to give. If you create helpful content you’ll build solid relationships that will sustain during the off-season, and bridge into your peak season … bringing in not only familiar faces, but new faces who are following you because of your fantastic content.
It’s important to stay in contact with leads and past customers throughout the entire year. Think of social media as your virtual, year-round storefront — because even though your customers aren’t physically present, they are most definitely checking their social media feeds! That means your business should be using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the network of your preference to reach out to people. You can offer special discounts, gather (and publish) reviews and testimonials, share the new content you’re publishing, run contests and polls, and get people excited for the next season.
Remember, people are planning ahead earlier than ever for purchases, trips, and activities. If you’re there to greet them months in advance, you could be the one who gets their business!
Stay In Touch Via Email
This one can be tricky, but very effective when done correctly. Your email communications will be less frequent than they would be during your peak season. Just be sure you’re delivering high-value content to their inboxes that let’s them know you’re still thinking about them. Show them all the great content you’ve been writing, invite them to follow you on social media and show them some photos of how beautiful Costa Rica can be in low season. There are great tools like Mailchimp to help you design emails and are free to use at the basic level.
Stand Out in a Specific Market
In order to keep things steady during your slower months, consider focusing on a specialized market. For example, if you run a child-friendly hotel that experiences frequent peaks and valleys throughout the year, try marketing yourself to families. Specializing with these markets will give you an edge that not many competitors have, making you the obvious choice in your industry and giving that niche market a good reason to come and see you.
This doesn’t mean you are exclusively for families, but it does mean you start sharing social media updates with pictures of happy families enjoying their vacations and emailing special prices for children. Specialized businesses tend to do better than more generalized ones.
Offer Discounts to Locals During Slow Times
Locals deserve a lot of love, especially when they’re living in areas that get periodically overrun with tourists. When the tourists pack up and leave town, you’ll have to rely on the locals to keep your business afloat. By offering discounts to people in the area, you can still bring in some business after the crowds disperse — and maintain a good relationship with the folks that are there to support you throughout the entire year.
Facebook ads can be great for locally targeting specific communities and offering deals that are not available for tourists.
Do you have other tips or seasonal marketers? Share your advice in the comments!