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How to Take Advantage of the Tourism Shoulder Season

Last updated on October 19, 2022
6 minute read
Key Takeaways

  • Know your local school and event calendars to find opportunities for discounts/specials, email campaigns, etc.
  • Be on the lookout to collaborate with local businesses and cross promote your business.
  • Highlight small group size and value to target your local audience and more bargain-conscious travers.

Skill Level

All Skill Levels

Your peak season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean your revenue has to dwindle. The shoulder season (between your peak season and off season) is full of opportunities to capture revenue and continue running tours and activities for a different audience  — your local community. 

It’s also a great time to scoop up out-of-town travelers who are looking for deals! Many people travel in the shoulder season to avoid crowds and save money. Learn how to extend your season by maximizing the value of your shoulder season. 

‘Tis the Season for Seasonal Activities 


Create activities and services that are similar to your peak season offerings but differ by specifically targeting the shoulder season. Check out some common ways to put some seasonal flair on your activities. 

  • Offer evening activities at after-school hours once your local school system is back in session.
  • Make sure you have plenty of weekend availability.
  • Create holiday-specific events like a haunted version of your most popular tour for Halloween.
  • Offer birthday parties and corporate team building events and promote them during shoulder season.  
  • Use this time as an opportunity to test new activities, before rolling them out in peak season. This can be a valuable opportunity to iron out kinks in an activity before it goes live to peak season crowds.

Pursue Local Partnerships 

Building partnerships with other local businesses is absolutely essential for rural businesses and locations that are only popular during a specific holiday/season. Here are a few great ways to extend your season by working with a partner.

Create combo deals: If you offer a zipline tour, partner with a white water rafting tour operator to offer an “ultimate adventure package.”

Offer add-ons: After your tour, drop your customers off at a local brewery with a voucher for a free beer.

Get the word out: Promote your partnerships on your website, print, and social media to make sure your potential customers know what a great value you provide. 

Target the Right Audience 

Your shoulder season audience isn’t the same as your peak season audience. For many operators, it’s key to shift focus away from traveling families once school starts up. 

Knowing who you are trying to target can help you plan better activities and more effectively market them. Follow the tips below to make sure you’re doing everything you can to target the right audience. 

  • Review your Google Analytics demographics to understand if audience location and demographics shift from season to season.
  • Brush up on local SEO.
  • Change your messaging to address your new target audience. This might mean changing your tour and activity descriptions a bit to use language that resonates with this audience.
  • Promote your small tour sizes and offer discounts. You might still have out-of-town travelers looking for a deal; capturing these customers is essential.

Where Do I Start?

a pile of oranges sitting next to a lamp

Look over the upcoming calendar for a holiday you could build a seasonal activity around. For example, you could set up a pirate-themed cruise or costume contest for Halloween.

Find a local business to collaborate around your seasonal activity. Partner with a local brewery to serve pirate-themed drinks.

Promote your new seasonal activity to locals with discounts and collaborations. Market your Halloween party cruise as an alternative to going out, with great local drinks and a smaller crowd. 

These are just a few ideas to extend your season and take advantage of the shoulder months. Looking for some low season tips? Read this.

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