5 Success Strategies to Try in Your Off Season
Ah, the off season. That time of the year when your Colorado kayaking company needs to take a break from the cold weather or your Arizona hiking tour has to stop to avoid heatstroke in 120-degree temperatures.
While you may be dreading the downtime in profits, there are ways to maintain your operations all year round if you think a little outside the box.
During this downtime, you may have a few things already running. Maybe you still sell some merchandise or partner with local organizations for pre-sales for the upcoming season.
The key is to take advantage of this time to try new ideas. Update your website presence or marketing strategy and start streamlining operations for when the crowds start rolling in again.
Here are some of the more recent strategies we’ve seen work for rental companies, tours, attractions, and businesses just like yours.
1. Promote Gift Cards
Gift cards are a fantastic way to keep the money rolling in year-round. When someone purchases a gift card for your summertime tour, you get that money instantly. This balances out your annual expenses by having a consistent cash flow.
Be sure to have a separate page on your website dedicated solely to gift cards. That will make marketing your gift cards on social media, email, and digital ads easier by unifying all the traffic through a single, well-optimized sales funnel.
Pro Tip: Leverage holidays! Black Friday and last-minute Christmas gifts that don’t require packaging are your bread and butter. You want to offer gift cards that can be promoted during Mother’s Day, New Year’s, and even less common holidays. A little design creativity could be your answer to guaranteed profits.
2. Publish Engaging Content
Getting a little bored during the off season? An excellent way to maintain and grow potential customer engagement is by offering content directly related to your offerings and their interest.
This is a good time to start or continue your blog. If you operate a bicycle rental company in Lake Tahoe, CA, that is down during snow season, start posting articles like the following:
- Pedal Through Paradise: Exploring the Scenic Beauty of Lake Tahoe by Bike
- The Eco-friendly Way to Travel: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint with Bicycle Rentals
- Mountain Biking Adventures in Lake Tahoe: A Guide to the Best Trails
Even better, use these blog posts to create highly engaging short-form video content for social media. Grow your audience by offering up trending videos related to your touring company on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Pro Tip: Want a solid social media boost? Leverage UGC (user-generated content). These are the selfies, reviews, and videos your audience organically shares on social media that you can repost to boost your engagement. Even better, offer a free gift card for the best video during the off-season to draw in more customers while sharing already successful content.
3. Update and Optimize Your Website
There are endless reasons to keep your touring or rental company’s website up to date. You want modern SEO tactics to rank higher or maybe have a new calendar of upcoming events you need to post.
Customers want to see that you are maintaining your online presence just as much as your in-person attraction.
Not sure where to start? Try updating the recent photos, tour descriptions, and testimonials. Maybe add an FAQ page that strategically uses your keywords while also providing valuable customer feedback that lessens your time managing phone calls when you’re busy.
Pro Tip: The off season is a great time to make your website mobile responsive. If you need to migrate to a new website host or platform, now is when you should do it! Be sure to test your website out on smartphones, tablets, and laptops to ensure it looks and feels fantastic.
4. Analyze Your Performance & Data
Data-driven insights fuel modern business decision-making. Use your previous year’s KPIs to inform the changes you want to make.
Take a look at website conversion rates of potential leads, the total capacity of your tours, or even when you saw a spike in sales so you can nail down if that local donut festival is impacting your business.
Here is where you improve the variable costs of your business and consider your customer demographics. You want to strategically think about what you will change in the upcoming seasons based on what actually works more than those gut feelings that can go dramatically wrong without evidence.
5. Work on Staffing
Your team matters. This means more than celebrating the occasional birthday with some cupcakes before the day’s events. This entails looking closely at customer demand and team member availability. Who is coming back? How many people will you need? Do you have the funds to cover uniforms and training?
Maybe you need to hire new staff or update your terms and conditions for renting in the upcoming season. Perhaps your local town has passed a new ordinance that directly affects your hiring options. Now is a great time to tackle those issues with some analytics and solve problems.
If you can, craft a permanent jobs page on your site to collect resumes and applications long before your season starts. Your goal here should be to generate an exceptional and balanced team and implement best practices that reduce staff turnover.
Pro Tip: Worried that you won’t be able to keep your team on staff because of competition? The off season is an excellent time to consider employee incentives that cover any extra costs (certification, wardrobe, treats, etc.) and improve the overall experience your team will have.
The off season presents a wealth of new opportunities you need to utilize. Take this off time and streamline your tour, rental, attraction, or any other seasonal business operations.
Who knows, this off season may be your chance to go in a new direction and blow the competition away!