I live in a town that is dependent on tourism. When winter rolls around, many shopkeepers would like to board up the windows and simply close; but the rents are still due as are the utilities…so shutting down is not an option. I spoke with a restaurant owner that told me that sometimes things are so tough, that he might pay me to eat at his place if I would take a window seat to make it look busy. So, how does a town like this survive on the off season? They make their own business.
Yesterday we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a full 9 days early. The reasoning was two fold. We are a small town and most of the bands and participants are likely looking for a larger city for a parade on St. Patrick’s weekend. So, by having it a little (or as the Irish might say a wee bit early), we give the participants another parade, and we are able, in turn, to have a larger parade. This year there were 80 units. The second reason is economic. As I said before, winter is tough. By bringing a parade and people to watch it, the event generates income for businesses on a weekend that normally would be quiet. During the “real” St. Patrick’s Day weekend, everyone can hold their own regardless. This gives the city a mid-winter boost.
So, what does it have to do with travel? Directly, not a lot. Indirectly…a lot! Annapolis needed business and found a way to make business. Thankfully the travel industry is relatively steady throughout the year; but we can always use a boost.
Look at your marketing plans and identify the periods that need no help. Wave season is usually strong for those that sell cruises. For me and my single parent travel niche, February through April is strong. Specialize in honeymoons? You may see strong falls.
When you are looking to boost you business, look for the periods that might be lulls. For me, my quiet time is leading into December through January and I know that dollars are tight and school is in session–my marketing calls for a few quick weekend or long weekend drive trips. If you are looking to boost your summer business, look to some of the bargains you can find in the Caribbean during the peak of hurricane season–sell insurance of course.
Maybe boosting your business doesn’t involve selling travel at all. Can you stock some travel accessories? Luggage? Many people may have already planned trips and will need luggage tags, RFID locators, currency converters, and more. Seek out your hot destinations and look for current, yet discounted, books on the destination. Re-sell them to your clients as “dream books” or use them as gifts for your best clients.
The key is to be creative. Get out of the habit of thinking linearly and discover new ways to increase your profit margin and boost your business. What have you done? Please leave a comment!
Oh, and our local parade…here it is in just over a minute!