Airbnb Experiences are part of a larger travel ecosystem so it can be natural for things to slow down after your busiest season. With a little creativity and planning, an off-season can bring opportunities to experiment, grow, and even thrive.
Here are some ways other hosts have kept their experiences active year round.
Embracing a new season
A few tweaks to your experience page can go a long way in keeping potential guests interested year-round. Travellers visiting during an off-season have most likely done their research and may have no concerns about dealing with cool, wet, or snowy weather. Make outdoor off-season experiences an adventure or highlight the ways your indoor experience is a great alternative!
Here are a few ways seasoned hosts have made the best of changing seasons:
Tania and Silvia show their guests having fun on their walking tour, even with a little rain!
- Updating their experience photos
If a winter traveler goes to your Experience Page and sees photos and a description highlighting warm, summer months, it could give the immediate impression that this is not the optimal time to book. Consider adding photos of guests enjoying your experience year-round. Make a bigger impact in search results by setting your cover photo to reflect the current season.
- Revising their description
Even just a short sentence that states your experience will be fun for guests “rain or shine,” can go a long way. Take it a step further by updating your description to acknowledge how weather may affect (but not cancel!) your experience. Keep your experience description positive! For example, you might say, “We’ll keep warm by popping into a few hidden (and toasty) shops and coffee spots for a hot cocoa or latte!”
Many hosts note that when guests feel informed and prepared, they already feel cared for when they show up to the experience. This can also make potential guests more confident and ready to book!
- Positioning your experience as a gift
If your off-season is near the end of the year, encourage potential guests to book as a gift for a loved one. Let them know why your experience makes a great gift right in your experience page’s description.
“Weatherproof” your Experience
Angie, a host in Portland, where the weather can often be rainy and cool, has mastered the art of keeping her guests feeling prepared and cared for:
I treat it like the weather is part of the experience. Like if it didn’t happen rain or shine nothing would happen in the northwest. In the fall and winter I switch from sparkling water in spring and summer to hot tea. I also bring ponchos and have thought about providing little hotties hand warmers. I included it in my notes on my experience page, as well. – Angie F., experience host in Portland
Small changes to your experience’s logistics can instantly take your experience from “seasonal” to “weatherproof.” Consider these helpful ideas:
- Minimizing guests’ transit time to an experience may also have an impact on bookings. Consider making your starting point somewhere central and safe from the elements.
- If your guests spend time walking outside, like during a walking tour of downtown, consider adding in extra stops to warm up in indoor locations. You might even find something interesting about one of your new stops and add additional value to your experience.
- Or, you might want to reduce to fewer stops, and find ways to spend more time indoors.
Since my Experience is primarily outdoors, I worked in some hot coffee shops, and found warm-up spots throughout to make sure they were comfortable. My guests were such troopers! I learned that when you’re working with the elements, you have to be flexible and adjust your route accordingly, even if your initial plan is perfectly timed. – Jess, experience host in Toronto
Evolve your experience
Whether this is your first time offering your experience at this time of year, or you’re a more established host, taking time to experiment with your calendar, or even prices, may help you find the right way to unlock more bookings in a low season. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- You might try offering your experience on different days and times during the week to discover what works best this time of year.
- Take holidays into consideration! You may want to offer more dates when people are traveling to your city to celebrate a holiday.
- If you need a little booking boost, many hosts have found that lowering the price of booking even just a few dollars can make a huge difference.
- If you want to keep your price the same, you might want to increase the perceived value of your experience by adding something special and seasonal to what you currently offer. This can be as small as a latte!
Craft a new experience
Consider using the weather, seasonality, and holidays to your advantage. If you host a biking or walking experience, consider reflecting the uniqueness of the seasons. If you’re in North America, for example, consider adding spots that highlight the changing foliage in November, or add in spots that have been decorated for the winter holidays in December.
Changing seasons could be a great time to consider testing out a new experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you submit a new experience:
- What’s unique about your city during off-season months?
Local restaurants and bars may focus on different dishes, drinks, or specialities in winter months. There may also be outdoor activities that are only offered this time of year and different areas of your city may be easier to highlight, like shopping areas for the holidays or neighborhoods that decorate for winter holidays.
- What do locals love to do?
What do you and your friends do more this time of year? Perhaps you visit art galleries, museums, breweries, or eat out more often? These can help inspire a new experience with an indoor focus. Here are some categories that we’ve noticed more locals booking:
- Music related experiences, like lessons, jam sessions, or concerts
- Art centered experiences, like painting with a twist, crafting, or writing workshops
- Wellness focused experiences, like workout classes, meditation, or nature walks
- Food related experiences, like cooking classes, wine and cheese tastings, or food tours
For many hosts, a quiet season can give you some extra time to prepare for the next busy season. Consider using this downtime to plan for new experiences in the coming months, build relationships that could turn into beneficial partnerships, or even just get your finances and taxes in order!
Most importantly, have fun with it. This seasoned host sums it up well:
Consider quiet seasons as opportunities to experiment: e.g. add indoor elements to your experience, adjust the price (not necessarily lower), what could you change that might make people book despite the cold. One of the busiest periods I had (in terms of guests demanding more days than were available) was during the Christmas week. It often has little to do with the season itself. – Anthony D., experience host in London