How to Prepare Your Business For Peak Season As Domestic Tourism Returns

Domestic tourism for cafes and restaurants

With many Australians holidaying at home this Christmas – and a lot of people raring to explore domestic travel after almost a year of lockdowns and border closures – signs are pointing to a bumper festive season for domestic tourism businesses.

2020 has been a tough year for business owners, making it more critical than ever to capitalise on peak season. Here are some tips that might help the a surge in local visitors over the summer holidays translates to strong sales.

Create an operational plan for peak season

  • Learn from last season. Think back to Christmas 2019 and reflect on what worked well and areas for improvement. Were there patterns to your busy periods or days of the week where you were consistently quiet? Did you sell a lot of a particular product type or struggle to move others?

    While each year is different, considering last year’s learnings will mean you’re better prepared for what’s to come. Having a solid understanding of how your business operates during the peak season will allow you to make informed decisions about purchasing, resourcing, marketing and more to prepare for domestic tourism.

    If you’re considering implementing new systems or processes as a result of your last-season review, make sure you implement these well ahead of the holidays so that you can iron out any teething problems.

  • Ensure you’re well stocked and staffed. As a business owner, there’s nothing more frustrating than running out of a popular item during busy periods. Not only do you lose a sale, but you run the risk of losing that customer altogether as they search for a comparable product elsewhere. Assess your stock levels and get on top of your inventory management to ensure you’re fully stocked for the festive season.

    Likewise, a constant queue out the door and slow or error-prone service due to insufficient staffing can affect your business ongoing. Take a proactive approach to holiday season staffing, such as offering casual workers more hours and reaching out to former employees to see if they’re available in preparation for the domestic tourism season. If your busy periods are unpredictable, you could err on the side of overstaffing and pull together a list of tasks for employees to work through during quiet times, so they’re still productive even if they’re not serving customers.

  • Spring-clean your premises. Your business should be looking its best going into the summer holidays. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, step back and take a critical view of your premises through fresh eyes. Does your exterior need a fresh coat of paint? Could your windows do with a professional clean?

    If you deliver a mobile service like surfing lessons or quad bike adventures, make sure your equipment is fully serviced, sparkling and sending a premium message.

Optimise your online presence

  • Tweak your website. Your website should be easy to use, mobile-friendly, and make key information (your contact details and operating hours, etc.) clear on the Home page. Ensure your content and photos are engaging, include customer testimonials or reviews, and consider offering an online booking option.

  • Refresh your socials. Update your Facebook and Instagram profiles with fresh content. You might consider running a competition to drive engagement and capture customer photos that you can share to show your product or service in action.

  • Ask customers for Google reviews. If you capture your customers’ contact details (and the appropriate consent to contact them), reach out after their visit to thank them for their business and ask for a review. A five-star Google review builds your credibility and can be used across your social platforms.

  • Consider a Google AdWords campaign. If you’re offering a popular product or service in a busy market, a Google AdWords campaign could help you to appear at the top of relevant search results. Well-targeted ads with a strong call to action could allow you to capture potential customers before they consider your competitors.

Increase your offline marketing efforts

  • Opt in to visitor guides. Most towns with a strong tourism industry create visitor guides to share with tourists. Reserving an ad in the end of year issue could mean thousands of eyes on your business – you could even consider paying for a premium ad (full page or full colour) or working with the editor to create an article showcasing your business.

  • Place brochures in local accommodation. Many accommodation providers display a range of brochures promoting local tourist attractions at reception. Speak to these businesses about adding your brand’s brochure – you could even provide a free or discounted offer to encourage them to try your product or service so that they can tell their customers about their great experience with you.

  • Operate a pop-up in a high-traffic location. Promote your business where your customers are by speaking to your local council or shopping centre about running a pop-up shop. Market your kayaking with dolphins experience on the foreshore, or sell your most popular products outside the supermarket, referring customers to your regular store if they’d like to keep shopping with you.

  • Consider partnering with nearby or complementary businesses. Combine your marketing efforts by partnering with your local business association or neighbours to create special offers that drive more foot traffic to your location. If you’re a day spa, you could partner with a local candle or skincare brand to create two-way offers that encourage customers to buy from both businesses.

With international travel off the cards this Christmas, savvy business owners will pull out all the stops to attract local and interstate visitors. Preplanning will ensure your business is well placed to make the most of the peak season and hopefully enjoy a profitable summer holiday period.