Off-Peak: Tips to make more money in the shoulder periods

Discover ways you can add value to both your guest and your bank balance out of peak season

A very Happy New Year to you all. With 2022 stretching ahead of us, and uncertainty still looming with the omicron variant doing the rounds, it’s prudent to look for strategies for growth off-peak. You can probably sell your summer holidays four times over at the moment, but you can push some of that demand into other times of the year with some careful planning.

There is so much opportunity around seasonality in the UK, so how can you adapt to find solutions that out-live the current demand for holidays?

We’d like to share some top tips! 

1. Know your guest

Go back to the drawing board and ask yourself some key questions. It’s worth taking the time to really analyse who your off-peak guest is, and how you can attract more of them. Ask yourself what they might be looking for in a winter or spring experience. What are they chasing emotionally, beyond the holiday property you can offer to them?

Some ideas of demographics you can attract off-peak are: 

  • Younger families 
  • Older independents and retirees
  • Locals and VFRs (those visiting friends and relatives)
  • Groups
  • Existing customers
  • Customers staying for business reasons

2. Find your strategy

Depending on the type of guest you wish to attract, choose your strategy.

Ideas can come from your own working environment, for example, a change in policies, or regulations, or an update in your facilities. 

You may wish to explore new markets. Instead of focusing on attracting guests from the opposite coastline to yours or from urban areas of the UK, can you bring in holidaymakers from the local area? Or you might focus on family holidays in the summer months, but draw in newly-weds or retirees in the Autumn, Winter and Spring.

 Another source of inspiration can be a new macro-economic trend, like well-being, the big digital detox, adventure holidays, pushing provenance (local cheese and wine tasting) or sustainability. See if there is anything going on in your local area to support you branching into promoting these kinds of getaways.

You can also look at your current business model. Use the existing relationships that you have worked hard to build and leverage them by asking them to experience something different with you in the shoulder months. You can look at your costing model and offer different pricing – or ask yourself whether the features of what you offer can be packaged in a new way.

Some strategies to think about: 

  • Offer seasonal pricing or a special ‘low winter rate’
  • Launch a locals pass
  • Curate family-focused holiday packages
  • Lay on events of your own
  • Team up with local businesses to cross-promote your offerings
  • Explore offering niche experiences like yoga brunches, storm watching, local cheese-tasting or foraging sessions
  • Extend your season by installing year-round hot tubs and BBQ huts (these encourage longer stays too)

3. Plan the right message

Here’s where you really dig into your value proposition and explore how you can present what you want to offer off-peak.

Use your own unique tone of voice and deliver your message across all touch points of your brand: your website, social media accounts, email templates, text messages.

Create some seasonal break content on your website and in your newsletters – you don’t want sun and ice-creams on a page talking about storm-watching in winter. Talk about winter walks, pub lunches by the fire and local cycle or nature trails. 

It’s in the demonstration of what you can deliver, and how you will deliver it that ultimately captures the value for yourselves.

4. Show off the local produce and seasonal information about your area

Working collaboratively with other local businesses is a real opportunity to hammer home the provenance of a holiday in your area.  Giving your guests something different to enjoy makes a good impression, supports your local businesses and shows you care about providing an authentic local experience. Simply providing local jams, wine, beer or cider, bread and charcuterie on-site or in welcome packs has a major impact on how you are perceived and therefore how you do business. 

You could also establish introductory discounts at local restaurants and cafes by talking with like-minded neighbours looking for opportunities too. Be clear in your pre-arrival newsletters, emails or on your website about off-peak opening hours for friendly local attractions, pubs and eateries. It may seem like a small thing but this will really enhance the holiday experience for your seasonal guests.

5. Make the right tech partnerships

Make sure you adopt the right partners to help support your proposition. 

You may have an amazing holiday accommodation and provide great facilities but make sure your website is as good as your business. 

To maximise direct bookings, work with a trusted booking system provider like Anytime to make sure online booking is instantly visible and accessible, with guest communications and payments all automated to take the pressure off you. 

Tap into OTAs (online travel agents) for the shoulder periods to bring in more bookings – you can work to turn these guests into direct bookers later on. Think of any commission you give away as marketing spend for a booking you wouldn’t have otherwise necessarily got in the first instance. Choose the channels wisely; if you want to attract families, work with Away with the Kids, for example, or established travel brands like Pitch Up and If you are all about dog-friendly holidays, try Paws & Stay. You may wish to appeal only in the high-end glamping arena, so try Canopy & Stars. We can help you with these choices.

To improve the guest experience while they are actually on their holiday, you can work with digital guestbook providers like Touch Stay or Your Welcome to provide all the information about your property and surroundings to your guest mobile or in-property tablet. Features like these really wow your guests, encourage repeat business and increase your recommendations to friends and family all year round.

6. Enjoy the bookings! 

Your efforts will certainly pay off if you bring all these elements together. If you’d like to talk to us about the part we’d play in helping you win more off-peak bookings and ease the admin usually associated with them, contact us. We will gladly show you how easy it can be! 

How can we help with your bookings?

Vanessa Glossop

Communications Director, Anytime

Vanessa Glossop

Communications Director, Anytime