4 ways to extend your tourist season

The end of the tourist season often marks a respite for host destinations, but the distribution of tourist flows over time and across the territory remains a priority to ensure the quality of the visitor experience. Here are four possible solutions to mitigate the effects of seasonality!

As part of the “Enriching the Canadian Experience” program of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), workshops on tourism in the winter and intermediate seasons are offered for tourism stakeholders. This initiative aims to make tourism more efficient outside of seasonal peaks, especially in remote and unfrequented regions that are often neglected in favor of Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec and sunny destinations.

1- Segment to serve better!

But who are these tourists who could benefit from the seasons in between? Retirees, young adults, families without children or with children not attending school, professional customers, foreign customers, etc. Knowing their profile, expectations and behaviors makes it possible to communicate the right messages and offer them attractive products and services. Strategic knowledge provides a detailed understanding of these customers and makes it possible to create persona types similar to the profiles of the Explorer Quotient from Destination Canada. Do not hesitate to ask for this data from the ministries responsible for tourism in your province.

Segmentation is a good way to get to know local customers, a market that should not be overlooked since they are at their destination all year round!

To learn more about this clientele, read the article The ABC of a seduction operation with residents, previously published for Experience Acadie.

2- A watchword: diversification

Diversifying the offer is an avenue to explore in order to extend the tourist season. Some outdoor destinations are turning to the 4 seasons (e.g.: Mont Farlagne outdoor center), in order to attract customers all year round. In Mauricie, The Enchanting Estate, initially renowned for its icy forest trails, has expanded its offer with an animal park and a suspended labyrinth to be operational several months a year.

Hanging labyrinth in the Enchanting Domain. Photo: Enchanting Estate
Organize events

Several destinations in the Maritimes have bet on events during the slower period. With the Celtic Colours International Festival which takes place in the fall, Cape Breton focuses on combining its cultural and natural heritage. Also in Nova Scotia, the lobster season brings its share of winter festivities with the Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl Festival. An opportunity to bring partners together to build an original offer (e.g.: Take a surfing course in winter).

As operators, promote events in your region on your networks and make sure you are present there (kiosk, partners, etc.). Finally, although the pandemic has had a significant impact on events, it has stimulated innovation by forcing many events to rethink their organization: hybrid programming, reduced seats, use of the virtual, etc. (e.g.: Caraquet Acadian Festival).

Lucy the lobster, star of the Nova Scotia festival. Photo: Kathy Johnson/Tri-County Vanguard/Saltwire.com
Focus on what makes you unique

Offering unique experiences that highlight the particularities of your region outside of the tourist season is a good opportunity to attract customers. For example, Newfoundland relies on the iceberg season as a real attractiveness factor.

Iceberg in Labrador. Photo: Barret & MacKay | Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism

Other destinations, such as Sweden, play on their northernness by offering “arctic” experiences: observation of the aurora borealis, Winter yoga, swimming in frozen lakes, etc.

3- Promote the destination

Create original seasonal campaigns

Some destination management organizations adapt the content on their website according to the seasons (e.g.: Gaspesie Tourism, Banff and Lake Louise). In 2019, Fàilte Ireland launched the campaign Taste the Island which aims to distribute the number of visitors in all regions of the country while extending the tourist season by promoting gourmet events from September to November.

Bushmills Distillery
Bushmills Distillery (Ireland). Photo: Tourism Ireland
Adapt your rates

By offering advantageous prices during quieter periods, it is possible to vary and distribute traffic flows (promotion, special gifts, etc.).

As part of a seasonal promotion, Broadleaf Ranch is offering a second night at half price for weekday stays in November. Photo: Broadleaf Ranch Facebook page

In France, the event Le Printemps du Ski promotes spring skiing with attractive packages. Package deals are also an opportunity to partner with businesses open all year round and to include exclusive activities that are not available during the high season.

4- Adjust services and workforce

Retain a new workforce

Seasonality exacerbates certain challenges related to the recruitment and retention of human resources. Are students hard to remember? Reach out to other pools of workers such as retirees and newcomers. Actions such as recognizing the contribution of employees or offering benefits to those who return the following season will allow you to retain them more.

Ensure a constant welcome

Welcoming is sometimes simply ensuring that information on the various platforms is up to date: business schedules, events, etc. Some collaborative tools allow each stakeholder to modify their data themselves.

Don't overlook the arrival of visitors! A slower period allows more time to take care of the welcome with attentive listening, small attentions that are more difficult to afford during busy periods.

A memorable welcome at the Gîte du Repos in Saint-Quentin: a small welcome card made by a local child! Photo: Touriscope

You are not alone!

The extension of the season and the development of the offer in intermediate seasons have been identified as priorities by the federal government. This issue is at the heart of the concerns of the tourism community and measures are being taken to support stakeholders (e.g.: Canadian Experiences Fund, “Enriching the Canadian Experience” program). However, efforts must be made collectively, in a spirit of cooperativeness, because a destination is a complex tourism ecosystem. Indeed, accommodations will not fill up if there are no attractions open and attractions alone will not be able to attract remote visitors who have nowhere to sleep and eat!

To go further on the subject, here is a selection of our articles:

From farm to fork: Slovenia's success in sustainable agrotourismThe Ljubljana Tourism Office has won its bet to make local Slovenian products accessible in the restaurants of major hotels.

Fans of authentic experiencesThis summary sheet provides managerial information about fans of authentic experiences. How do you create an authentic experience? Who are his followers? How do you communicate with them?

Article written in collaboration with Acadia experience.

SOURCES

Featured image: Pexels.com/David Bartus

” Artic Winter Yoga ”, Active North Camp, consulted in December 2020.

Asselin, Caroline. ” The ABC of a seduction operation with residents ”, Touriscope, August 15, 2020.

Barry, Claudine. ” How to reduce the effects of seasonality ”, Tourism Watch Network, July 12, 2017.

CQRHT. ” Work on seasonality — Tourism ”, September 2019.

Destination Canada. ” Harnessing the potential of the Canadian tourism economy ”, December 2018.

Destination Canada. ” Summary of the 2020-2024 business plan ”, November 2019.

” Development of tourism in the winter and intermediate seasons ”, Tourism Industry Association of Canada, consulted in December 2020.

” Environics Analytics — PRIZM ”, consulted in December 2020.

” Six successful days of celebration at the Caraquet Acadian Festival ”, press release dated August 18, 2020, Festival Acadien de Caraquet.

Levasseur, Maïthe. ” Small welcome gifts, big impact ”, Tourism Intelligence Network, September 4, 2018.

Levasseur, Maïthe. ” Tourist information in collaborative mode ”, Tourism Intelligence Network, April 19, 2016

” Facebook page — Broadleaf Ranch ”, consulted in December 2020.

” Promoting regions and gastronomy outside the tourist season: Ireland's bet ”, Quebec Agrotourism and Gourmet Tourism Association, consulted in December 2020.

Tourism HR Canada. ” Seasonality and Labour Challenges in Rural Cape Breton—Meeting the Needs of the Tourism Sector ”, September 24, 2018.

Website of Celtic Colours International Festival, consulted in December 2020.

Website of Enchanting Estate, consulted in December 2020.

Website of Spring Ski, consulted in December 2020.

Website of Gaspesie Tourism, consulted in December 2020.

” Winter Campaigns Aim to Extend Tourism Season in Nova Scotia ”, Tourism Nova Scotia, December 19, 2018.

POSTED

1/13/2021

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