Skip to main content

Designing and Marketing Low Season Tourism Experiences

September 2021

Designing and Marketing Tourism Experiences


Tourism, hospitality and events businesses need to learn how to reduce seasonality now more than ever.  Inspired by 27 real case studies across primarily the UK, France, this manual has been designed by the University of Surrey to support the visitor economy during autumn and winter. Targeting public organisations and businesses, this guide is based on six key messages: 
1. Products, make way for experiences. Products are so yesterday, and customers want to engage with your offering with all their senses. 
2. Different seasons, different markets. You will need to adapt your offer to different types of customers to balance changes in demand. 
3. There’s something special about your place in the low season. We often take for granted what’s on our doorsteps, so let’s look at your resources with fresh eyes and see how you can turn them into something special. 
4. Let’s design innovative experiences. You will need to create experiences that are great, even when it’s cold, wet, and the days are short. Co-create experiences with nearby partners and use events to drive demand. 
5. Time for marketing and storytelling. New experiences require a lot of marketing effort, but if they are truly innovative and you’ve communicated them well, consumers will share the messages for you. 
6. Be clear what benefits you expect. Visualising the results you want to achieve will help you have the determination you need to make changes. 

Design a Business Model all-year round with experiential tourism. Increase your relationships with residents and other businesses in your regional network. Developing experiences during the low season is not only a path towards sustainability, but it is also more fun and participative!

The manual and training materials are available to DMOs and trainers and are free to use and adapt, including for commercial purposes. You are welcome to download the manual and PowerPoint slides, and attend the first train the trainers briefing. 

SIGN UP TO THE TRAIN THE TRAINERS BRIEFING: Monday, 4th of October, 10:30 to 12:00 (UK)

FACILITATOR: Dr Xavier Font is Professor of sustainability marketing at the University of Surrey. He specialises in helping small firms to gain competitive advantage from using sustainable tourism as a tool for product development, marketing and communications.  Xavier has run marketing courses more than 3,000 accommodation and activity suppliers, tour operators, national parks and government agencies, in the UK and overseas.