Whether your destination’s peak is at the height of summer or in the depths of winter, seasonality is inherent within the tourism industry. For many, the natural ebb and flow of the year means corresponding fluctuations to inbound visitor numbers. While it’s understandable to approach these troughs with trepidation, the off-peak period is a chance for DMOs to take a fresh look at both the places they represent and the visitors they are trying to reach, ensuring that their destinations engage and invite, month after month and season after season.
Shifting Perspectives to Embrace off-peak Potential
It would be all too easy to view the low season as just another hurdle for DMOs and destinations to overcome. But this challenge masks a golden opportunity: the chance for a visitor organisation to widen the target demographic of their regular visitors. Ahead of the low season, a full and comprehensive examination of your destination — one which considers every possible angle to tap into its off-peak potential — is an effort worth undertaking. A practical suggestion from Rezgo is to create a month-by-month calendar of your destination’s events and attractions, but it’s also worth thinking in broader, thematic terms. For example, your destination may be a successful ski resort in the winter, but struggle to attract visitors in the summer months. But with the snow long melted, that same resort might just make the perfect trail for walkers and hikers.
The English seaside town of Brighton is a real-world case study on how DMOs can make the most of a destination’s off-peak possibilities. It’s undeniably popular with beach lovers and party goers during the summer, but with the turn of the seasons, Visit Brighton takes a different approach, marketing itself as a city boasting an extensive array of year-round attractions. In the south of Spain and the north of England — at Visit Costa del Sol and Visit Lake District — the idea is the same: come their own respective low seasons — from traditional fairs and festivals to cosy indoor craft markets and pubs — each destination has dug deep to showcase attractions that will continue to draw visitors during their traditionally off-peak times.
Today’s Unfamiliar Demographic or Next Season’s Regulars?
Just like an old friend, a destination’s high season demographic is familiar, trusted and reliable. Yet — for all the uncertainty surrounding it — the low season actually offers DMOs the opportunity to truly diversify upon their peak pool of regular visitors. For example, if a destination’s high season demographic is composed of young families, it may — with careful, thoughtful research — re-position itself as the perfect place for pensioners and retirees, budget, Slow Travelers, etc., during the low season. Timing is everything; by offering up just the right angle at the right time, it’s possible to engage with an entirely new and different group of visitors at the turn of every season.
For DMOs, the key is to know and understand the new demographic that they wish to attract. The best way to do this is to regularly collect insight and feedback from visitors and to get a comprehensive view of the demographic they belong to, why they visit a particular destination and how that demographic shifts with the change of seasons.
Be Present and Tailored
It’s one thing to research off-season angles, but without a finely tailored presence, even the best efforts to engage with your destination’s low season can go unrewarded. Just as you’d frequently update your social media channels, it pays to regularly update your website. For users of the Simpleview CMS, the facility to update and amend content as needed can be done with ease thanks to a host of unique capabilities. As part of its raft of native features, the platform’s customisable drag-and-drop technology allows DMO's freedom of design while removing technical knowledge barriers. The easy-to-use Page Builder function supports a mobile-first approach, offering clients the ability to update their websites in real-time. And speaking of content, the Scheduling Content function lets users plan and organise their posts, a feature that truly does the heavy lifting when it comes to seasonal content.
What’s more, the Simpleview CMS also offers additional upgrade opportunities — known as ‘modules’ — to give users even more control over their online presence. For example, the platform’s Public Relations module means that DMOs can highlight partner and event listings across their website alongside other related content. Depending on the nature of this content, this is either displayed as a blog or an article, a point that can help a DMO to garner greater SEO authority. The benefits of this particular module mean that new content will inherit the authority of the main site and posts will start to rank almost immediately. The functionality within the Simpleview CMS ensures that any backlinks or social shares or mentions on a particular blog will also benefit the main site as they are linked to the main domain. This means that all pages of a site will obtain a higher search engine ranking.
Next up, there is the Dynamic Content module, a feature that lets DMOs speak directly to their target market segments — whoever they may be. Based on criteria set directly by a DMO, this upgrade opportunity of the Simpleview CMS defines the content that visitors will see when viewing a destination’s website. What’s more, this module allows a DMO's website to track visitor views so that they can be further targeted with exactly the right kind of dynamic content. And finally — to complete this hat trick of add-on features — the Media Gallery module ensures that DMOs can categorise visual content into albums that excite and inspire.
With the correct preparation and exactly the right technical tools, the off-peak need not be a time of worry or anxiety. The change of seasons can bring about a change of perspective and, ultimately, a chance for DMOs to turn an entirely new set of visitors into tried-and-true regulars.
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