Small Business Brief


How to Attract More Customers During the Off Season

After the peak of holidays, everyone is back to work and it’s hard to get customers at your lodging business. Here’s how to attract more customers easily.

Would you like to know how to attract more customers to your hospitality business?

January tends to be the slowest month of the year for many hotels and tourism-related businesses in the U.S. and Europe.

Most people are trying to jump-start their New Years’ Resolutions, they just got a new bunch of vacation days that they don’t want to spend yet, and companies have just completed their year-end spending.

These slowdowns not only impact your business but also your community. Properties and resources remain unused, and there is a challenge recruiting full-time workers.

If you’d like to get customers throughout the off-season at your establishment, keep reading.

These are the top tips to help you attract more customers during the off-season.

Grow Your List and Raving Fans All-Year Round

Your email list is the most valuable marketing asset you have. On average, for every dollar spent on email marketing, businesses see a $38 return on investment.

During the busy season, be sure to invest the time and energy to build your email list and keep it fresh. That’s how to attract more customers during slow times.

Then, when you do email your list during the winter, personalize your messages to increase engagement.

Not only do you want to build your list, you want to gather as much social proof as possible. You want to be able to prove to people looking for a new place to explore why they should visit your place above all others.

The best way to gather social proof is to encourage reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Google, and Yelp.

Start with the Locals and Loyal Customers

Is your town booming with tourists during the peak season and really quiet during the off-season?

If so, chances are the locals around your community are thrilled that the tourists have gone home for the season.

The locals can be a great source of referrals for their visiting friends and family during the off-season.

Your business has to be top of mind to the locals during the off-season. You can create a targeted Facebook ad campaign for those in your geographical area, as well. Another option is to segment your email list according to geographic location and target those in your area with specials just for locals.

With your loyal customers, think about how you can encourage them to visit again during the off-season.

That doesn’t mean that you should slash your prices down to nothing. You can get more creative than that. Think about how you can add value to their stay and treat them like loyal customers.

For example, you can arrange a special dinner or experience during their stay as a reward for their loyalty. See here for this condo in North Carolina. They’re a seasonal business, but they are offering their beachfront property year-round.

Did you notice that they don’t have an off-season rate and an in-season rate like most places?

They believe in the value that they provide so much that they don’t have to discount their rates.

Take Advantage of Cross Promotions

If you want to know how to attract more customers, you’ll need to learn that you can’t do it on your own.

In the tourism industry, it makes sense to partner with other businesses that may cater to your target audience, too.

For example, if you target eco-tourists, you can partner with restaurants or other organizations that hold similar values. You can then create a promotion or package featuring both businesses that you can promote to your audience and they can promote to theirs.

That is a way to expand your reach. Just make sure you do the following for your cross-promotions to make them run smoothly.

  • Partner with businesses that don’t compete with yours, but rather complement your business
  • Be sure that the audiences are similar in nature, but not exact
  • Have an outline of expectations that everyone can agree on
  • Train your partners on your brand message to make sure marketing messages across the board are consistent.

Taking these steps will protect your brand, and create accountability for the partner businesses.

Create an Off-Season Niche Market

A creative marketing strategy can include creating a niche within your niche in the off-season.

Again, using eco-tourism as an example, there are dozens of niche markets that you can target if they are consistent with your brand.

A great example is bird watching. On the surface, it’s a pretty obscure market. Yet, it’s a $41 billion market in the U.S.

It’s consistent with eco-tourism, and there are plenty of people who would be interested in bird watching in the off-season.

That doesn’t mean that you should focus exclusively on your niche-within a niche in the off-season. That would confuse most of your customer base.

What you can do is create content around your new niche and post things periodically to let people know that it’s a part of your offerings.

Implement an Affiliate Sales Strategy

To learn how to attract more customers to your business, you have to think outside the box.

Believe it or not, you have a potential army of marketers ready and willing to promote your services. If you do a search of travel blogs, you’ll find more than 77 million results.

With affiliate marketing, you team up with influential bloggers who will promote your service. When they refer a customer who books, they receive a commission.

If you do go this route, be sure to work with bloggers who share similar audiences and values as your brand.

That’s a sure way to attract people to your business without investing a ton of time and resources.

Know How to Attract More Customers on Demand

Getting through the off-season with a profit can have a huge impact on your business. It can also transform your life and the lives of your employees.

You’ll have consistent revenue that you can depend on year after year and your best employees can take comfort in the stability of their jobs. They don’t have to worry about being laid off in the off-season because business was slow.

If you’d like to keep your tourism business running smoothly all year-around, check out our free templates for you to use to manage your business.