Ahh the joys of having a seasonally-driven business. Whether it’s real estate, lawn care, or a vacation destination, managing your seasonal customer presents both opportunities and challenges. The good news is there are ways to make hay both when the sun is–and isn’t– shining. In this article, we will cover strategies that maximize in-season revenue as well as look at off-season marketing opportunities.
Let the games begin! You are officially in-season, but as we all know, you won’t operate at 100% capacity every day of your season. Conversely, you don’t have to settle for only 100% of your revenue goal on days when you are at max capacity. You can put together strategies to maximize revenue, even when you are booked!
In-Season Need Periods
The reality is many seasonal businesses are at the mercy of school and work schedules. Weekends fill up quickly, but how do you fill that mid-week trough?
- Promotions: Offer an added incentive for people to visit when you have capacity. That could take the form of a percentage off or “buy one day/night and get one free” offer. Consider a free upsell of an amenity such as spa or food and beverages (thus providing a trial of a potential new revenue stream).
- New Customer Groups: Identify new target groups who are not at the mercy of the traditional work/school schedules. This could be niche groups like retirees and veterans with special pricing on days that fill in your gaps. Think about the possibilities of creating midweek team building, meeting, or event opportunities for professionals.
If you know you are going to be at capacity, you still have an opportunity to increase that share of wallet and drive additional revenue.
- Extras: Could you drive more revenue by extending hours with an early-access pass or a late evening event? Is there a VIP experience that you could put together that makes a bigger/better impact on your customer?
- Upsell/Cross-Sell: Your customers are there, but are they giving you all of their money? Once that reservation or order is placed, start the process of upselling them to additional opportunities. Could you create a photo opportunity, offer an add-on event, or sell logoed merchandise in advance? Incentivize your customer to take advantage of every opportunity you have to offer.
End on a High Note
- Early Booking: Before the season is done, start selling the next season. If your customers are on a happy high from their experience, it’s not too early to start appealing to them with offers for next season’s visit. Give them an incentive (early-bird/discounted pricing, this season’s price, or an added-value item) when they book or purchase before the current season has concluded.
- End of Season Events: Depending on when your season ends, sometimes the enthusiasm can wane. Consider a “one last time” end-of-season event/promotion to drive a second (or more) visit or purchase.
There’s much to do in the off-season. From identifying additional revenue opportunities to keeping up with your customers, the off-season is an optimal time to catch your breath, analyze what did and didn’t work, and get ahead of the next season.
Identify New Revenue Opportunities
- Counter Programming (OR Off-Season Programming): Is your off-season someone else’s peak season? If you are primarily a summer business, how can you take advantage of the holiday season? Could you create a light show or photos with Santa? The point is, if people are looking for activities, take advantage of that with off-season programming.
- Pre-Season Sales: Consider rewarding your best customers with a pre-season offer. Limit it only to your social media followers or email/newsletter subscribers (thus giving good reason to subscribe or follow you). Offer them the first opportunity to book the upcoming season at the best rates. You can also widen the audience but narrow the window with a 96-hour sale. Both are strong opportunities to generate excitement and create buzz for the upcoming season. And when you schedule these types of events early, you lock out the competition!
Staying in touch
- Ongoing Communications: In-season communications always seem to be full of information and transactional messaging, but the off-season is an ideal time to promote engaging or entertaining content. Your customers love to learn more about what’s happening behind the scenes, what new products or services will be available in the upcoming season, and maybe even some customer news. When you aren’t worried about day-to-day operations, you can get more creative.
Upgrade your tools
- Maintenance: Many of our seasonal clients take advantage of learnings from the prior season to make updates to their websites. From brand refreshes and updating content to adding new functionality that aids in conversion, this is the time to make enhancements. This is also a good time to do maintenance on your email database. Customers who haven’t opened an email all year can probably be scrubbed or hit with a special offer/message to re-engage them. This will give you a better understanding of your email metrics.
- Segmentation: If you haven’t taken the time to segment your audience, the off-season is the perfect time to do so. Take what you have learned about your customers over the course of the season and craft messaging that best aligns with their behavior. Even just using the basic segmentation methodology of RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Spend) is a good place to start. Craft different content strategies based on how complex you want to segment your database.
So there you have it! Hopefully, there are some new nuggets in here to support your business both in season and off. When it comes to marketing a seasonal business, there are many opportunities to consider year-round. Interested in learning more seasonal marketing opportunities? Contact FUEL and let’s discuss ways to market your business, in season and offseason.