This technical report by the Sustainable Tourism CRC Group studied and presents a number of ideas to reduce the seasonality of the tourism industry. While the authors are based in Australia and it was published in 2008, most of the concepts, suggestions and principals can easily be applied to the UK and within coastal locations.
The report looks into the effects of pricing strategies, diversification, market segments, impact of school holidays and the effect on staffing, training as well as economic, social and environmental factors. The study uses two case studies from which a number of useful concepts are illustrated which coastal locations will find beneficial.
The report emphasises that collaboration is key for reducing seasonality; accommodation providers, attractions and destinations must work together to market and strengthen the off-peak offer to capture additional business. There is a very useful table (Appendix C) which gives excellent suggestions on market diversification. This report also summarises a large number of other publications into short tables with their key suggestions on how to overcome seasonality.
A better understanding of market segmentation to motivate tourists will help in the development of products and approach to marketing to attract off-peak visitors. The authors advise against price cutting, instead suggest focusing on offering different experiences, perhaps geared towards wellness or combining several activities within a packaged product.
The two case studies within the report include the development of wine tourism (which has parallels with both wine growing in the southern England and real ale tourism), and mountain/adventure tourism. Activities such as harvesting tours, introduction or amplification of events, local produce, availability and linking up with accommodation and informed, trained staff, all helped develop sustainable off-peak visitors.
Adventure tourism has seen success in developing and attracting off-peak visitors, with more active weather patterns helping with adrenaline-based activities and creating more atmosphere within the natural setting. Areas and locations that were previously only open for the ski season are now offering nature experiences on the grassland areas and offering water sports, ideally focused to pre-family groups and the increasingly active empty nesters.
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