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Shoulder Season - Changing and narrowing your target audience

As we bid a fond farewell to high-season and welcome Autumn, it is time for travel businesses to take stock of what went well and what didn't. In this article, we bring you through a few methods for assessing and improving your business



  • Define your current customer type
  • Explore alternatives for that customer type
  • Benchmark from competitors
  • Apply your findings

1 - Look at your current customer base

As a business owner, you may want to believe that your service will appeal to absolutely everyone but more often than not this isn’t the case. Your current customer base is made up of people who currently buy your service in what is called your niche. Your niche comprises of a certain gender balance, age range and interest range. Identifying and drilling down marketing efforts into your niche will save you time, effort and money in attracting more of your niche customer type during the high season, but what about shoulder and low seasons? For this you will need to diversify your niche.

For example - I run a tour or activity that appeals mostly to young/middle aged men. What other settings that young men can be found in can I specifically appeal to? Here are a few examples:

  • A work outting
  • Group of friends [the whatsapp group]
  • Club or society
  • A stag or bachleor party

2 - Check out your competition

Ask yourself, has your competition started tapping into alternative markets. If so, what are some of the good ideas or marketing angles that they have tapped into? It’s no secret that everyone in any type of marketing benchmarks off what others do and what has worked for them previously, it’s how we apply our own creativity to the marketing initiative that counts.

3 - Analyze your product/service

We mentioned eariler that our product appeals mostly to younger men, we have to ask ourselves, does our product acommodate other usertypes related to younger men. For instance, if our ideal customer type has kids, can they come too and is this something we can run a specific marketing campaign for?

The shoulder season is the perfect time for analyzing our product/service and seeing what worked during high season and where ground can be made up on what didn’t.

4 - Choose specific demographics to target

We kind of jumped ahead of ourselves earlier in this article when we proclaimed that our service appealed mostly to younger men, but lets explore that a bit more. It can be a useful exercise to create user personas for your business. Basicially a persona is where you create a person within your target market, you give them the following information; a name, age, martial status, education level, bio, habits, motivations, wants and frustrations. With a persona you try to diversify your target demographic as much as possible. This helps you to identify different routes to take when considering psychographices.

5 - Consider the psychographices to target

Don’t get put off by the title, you don’t need a degree in psychology to understand and use psychographices. Psychographices is a qualitative methodoology used to describe traits of humans on psychologial attributes. In simple terms - it is defining; personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyle.

How does this apply to a toursim business I hear you ask?

Everyone who visits your business has a personality, they value certain things and most definitly one of the reasons they visit your business is because you fall within their interests and they can afford your product/service due to their lifestyle.

If you take a little bit of time to understand the pshycographices of your visitors and match them to your target demographic, it will give you an in-depth view of who is the ideal person to attract to your business. Once you have this information, it will enable you to narrow your marketing efforts for years to come.

6 - Evaulate your decision

We have asked you to do quite a lot in the above bullet points. Right now and in the short term heading into shoulder season, it is important for you to diversify who you market to. Consider exploring the different types of non-seasonal dependant events where someone may consider booking your service; family days out, office team building, partys or celebrations. Tapping into these events could very well tide your business over the low season.

In the medium to long term, explore who visited your business in the high season, or prepare to gather that information next year. By focusing down to the target market that best suits your product/service you will save money and increase your profit margins moving forward.

Speak with us today to explore your business and how we can work together to achieve your business goals.

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