Making improvements to your business during the low season
Congratulations! You’ve made it through the stormy high season but sadly, the calm of the low season never lasts for long enough. As any good sailor would do, it’s essential to batten down the hatches in preparation for the worst, and I’m not talking about boat maintenance. It is essential that every tour business and travel operator uses their downtime wisely because the better prepared you are for the incoming storm, the better you’ll weather it. So without anymore seafaring metaphors, let’s dive into our four tips on using the low season to get your business to the next level.
Real World Upgrades
While we at Tourism Tiger are professionals in the webosphere, we realise that what exists online is irrelevant if your day-to-day isn’t up to scratch. Therefore, real world fixes should always be your number one priority. Within this area, your staff should be your primary focus. Unless you’re a one person business, it is crucial that your staff are happy, trained and onboard. Therefore, use this time to create an up-to-date training schedule for new staff hires or retrain older staff in areas that you or they believe are lacking. Your staff are the tugboats of your business, so keeping them satisfied and prepared will be the first defence you have when the waves of customers begin flooding in.
Other physical upgrades might include repairing or upgrading any products, equipment or machines that are essential for your tour: whether that is checking the chains on all your e-bikes or repainting your boats.
Even if you have only 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor and Google, you’re bound to have received at least some feedback over the past year. And if you have a bad review online, don’t let it go to waste. Your customer comments are the only way to fully gauge their experience, which is why it’s so important to listen to them and action them. If a client thought the walking tour was a little too difficult in the middle of summer, plan a few more rest stops in the shade or a drink break at a cafe.
At the end of the day, your guests are paying your bills, and their satisfaction is what ultimately drives further satisfaction, loyalty and the general functioning of your business. Use your time off to consolidate the negative and the positive responses, and reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. Keep your customers coming back and telling their friends so that you keep the wind in your sails for the seasons to come.
Now that your ship is seaready, it’s time to fill it with eager travellers. Regardless of your target audience, we can guarantee that almost all of them will be looking for you online. First impressions matter, so having a visually appealing, user-friendly website with information that is current will ultimately get them excited about your offerings. You know where to find us if you need some professional assistance, whether it’s a new website or even a new branding design.
Put yourself in their shoes: there is nothing worse than arriving to a 9AM tour only to discover that it starts at 8:30AM. This applies to both your booking software (if you use it) and your webpage. Additionally, with the constant evolution of consumer privacy laws, it’s always a wise idea to aggregate any client data that you have collected — be a sailor, not a pirate! You want to keep your customers in the loop, not shut out and ill-prepared. The travel business is sink or swim, so let your website be your lifeboat — making sure guests feel safe and assured.
Once your boat is looking clean and upgraded, it’s time to think about targeting more passengers. Every marketer will have their own top tips but there are a few that they will all agree on. Firstly, keep your marketing simple — if you’re doing it yourself, there is no point committing to four social media platforms at once when you know you won’t have the time for all of them. It is significantly more effective to have one social media page with a strong presence than having various ones with thoughtless content (or worse — no content at all!). You wouldn’t run three ship tours at once with only one captain, right?
If you are looking to branch out a little more, being organised is the key. Use the low season to devise a plan! Maybe every Sunday you post on Instagram, and every Friday you upload some tour images to Facebook. Don’t overcomplicate things or you’ll end up tying yourself in knots you don’t know how undo.
While the above is just a short list of what you should be doing in your low season, they are all essential for the success and productivity of your high season. It may feel like your low season is quickly becoming your busiest period, but it’s important to remember that running a travel business takes constant work. Being prepared before the storm arrives, whenever that may be, is the only way to sail through it smoothly.
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