Seasonality in tourism can have profound economic and social impacts — resulting from fluctuations in tourist arrivals or overnights throughout the year and resulting in peak, shoulder, and low seasons. DMOs face numerous challenges related to seasonal demand, including the precarious nature of short-term, low-quality jobs during peak seasons, missed investment opportunities, and underutilization of tourism infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants, and attractions. 

The issue of seasonality in tourism is not only an economic and social concern but also an environmental one – the third aspect of sustainability. The traditional peaks and troughs in tourist arrivals can place immense strain on local ecosystems and resources during high seasons, leading to overcrowding, overuse of natural assets, pressure on transportation systems and increased energy consumption.  

Recognising the significance of this issue, destinations worldwide have been actively working to reduce seasonality — however, these efforts focus on medium and long-term solutions, often taking years to implement effectively.  

To combat the negative effects of seasonality, DMOs typically employ a three-pronged approach: developing new products for the shoulder seasons or off-season, marketing these products to new customer segments within existing or emerging source markets and improving connectivity during periods of low inbound demand to make their destinations more accessible year-round. 

Practical steps: How DMOs can address seasonality 

Examples of concrete actions that forward-thinking DMOs are taking to reduce seasonality include:

Making data-driven decisions: the role of Destination Gateway 

To make these types of initiatives effective, and direct spending efficiently, DMOs increasingly rely on data analytics and insights to inform their seasonality strategy. That’s where ForwardKeys Destination Gateway comes in — empowering destinations to understand traveller behaviour, track market trends, and identify growth opportunities.  

This data-driven approach enables DMOs to make informed decisions and allocate resources more effectively. Destination Gateway offers two primary ways for DMOs to track destination seasonality: 

Performance Tracking: monitors arrivals data to provide insights on where tourists are coming from worldwide and how they contribute to your destination’s overall visitor numbers. For example, it can show which countries or regions are the primary sources of inbound tourists. 

Market-Centric Tracking: a more focused approach that centres on tracking the seasonality patterns from a specific source market to your destination — including information on the seasonality patterns, preferences, and trends of visitors from that market. 

Now, Destination Gateway introduces a new and powerful tool: the Outbound Market Trends view. This provides crucial insights into how a specific market segment has travelled throughout the last 12 months, helping DMOs identify new opportunities and understand the preferences of that market. 

Outbound Market Trends

Key features of the Outbound Market Trends view include:

Outbound Seasonality
fers weekly granularity and year-on-year variations in overnight stays from a specific source market. 

Destination Comparison
llows DMOs to compare the seasonality patterns in their destination with those of their competitors. 

Top Destinations
dentifies the most preferred destinations for the market in question. 

Tourist Profiles
Provides data on trip purposes, length of stay, and group sizes of visitors from the source market. 

Looking to the future: how ForwardKeys continues to innovate for DMO success 

Currently, ForwardKeys is working on expanding Destination Gateway to create a comprehensive view that connects the dots between a destination’s own seasonality, competitors’ seasonality, and source market behaviour. Keep an eye on our blog and socials to learn more. 

Seasonality remains a persistent challenge for destinations worldwide. However, with the new outbound market view in ForwardKeys Destination Gateway, DMOs have a powerful tool at their disposal to better understand their source markets, identify growth opportunities, and ultimately mitigate the impact of this phenomenon.  

By taking a proactive approach and harnessing the insights provided by Destination Gateway, and our broader suite of solutions, we predict that DMOs can enjoy ever greater success in creating more sustainable and year-round tourism models. 

“At ForwardKeys we are committed to understanding the needs of tourist destinations, and providing the comprehensive and granular data they need to make decisions in pursuit of sustainability. Reducing seasonality is an important part of this overall goal.”

Florencia Lapadula
Business analyst

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2024-05-29T09:11:22+02:0013/12/2023|All, DMO, Events|
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