Seasonality is a major disadvantage
of tourism and often leads to
negative economic effects on a
destination. Global tourism demand
Peak season creates large revenue
needs to last all year.
Considering all tourist activities 10
worldwide at a given time will
produce a less seasonal pattern Skiiing
than looking at specific resorts. 5
E.G. high levels of tourism in Sea/Sun
December to April (skiing) 0
somewhere else in April to Global
September (sun holidays).
Specific resorts and the tourist
provisions within them will be
affected by seasonality.
Causes of seasonality.
Weather (Sun & Snow)
Holidays school / works
Social / fashionable
Consequences of seasonality.
Boom bust economic
Over/under utilisation of
Dependence on tourism.
Negative effects in times
of crisis, such as war,
terrorism or bad
Seasonality in focus.
We will now look at how seasonality
effects the following tourism functions:
The Problem of Seasonality For
The Outbound Tour Operator.
The Top Four Tour Operators.
SOURCE: Keynote Market Report, Travel Agents and Overseas Tour Operators, 2002
Tour Operators Booked Through Travel Agents
22% First Choice
SOURCE: Keynote Market Report, Travel Agents and Overseas Tour Operators, 2002
Percentage of Holiday Makers Per Month in 2001
Jan/Feb May August Nov/Dec
What Problems do they Face?
Supply and demand are rarely in balance, and supply
can not change quickly
Fluctuation in demand effects capacity utilization,
overcrowding in peak and under utilisation in low
These lead to inefficient uses of resources, as such
high operating costs
So What do Tour Operators do?
The introduction of new operating strategies has
Introduction of different kinds of holidays e.g. Ski
hols, Sports/Activity Hols
Vertical integration has allowed tour operators to buy
Hotel Chains and Airlines, this integration offers
greater cost advantages
Negotiating contracts with Hoteliers
Segmenting the market by similarities
Spread their fixed costs more evenly over the entire
Marginal costing techniques
What Has This Lead to?
Seasonality is often viewed as the reason for
difficulties in gaining access to capital, for obtaining
and retaining full time staff and for under utilisation
Adapting to seasonality allows:
Resources to be utilised e.g. Flight Only
Margins to be increased
Less seasonality in the workforce
Attractions – overcoming
Attractions are just one part of
a tourism industry
Attractions can be affected by: Destination
Seasonality effects attractions:
- location and the destination in
which it lies.
- the attraction itself and not
the surrounding area.
• 37% of uk attractions do not charge entrance fees
• Price discrimination.
-Charging different prices at different times
• Special offers
-buy one get one free
-kids for free
-modifying attractions to appeal to different market segments.
Blackpool located on the North West Coast of
Two biggest attractions are the pleasure beach and
Blackpool hosts over 10 million visitors annually, of
which 750,000 visit Blackpool Tower.
Over 700,000 of these visit the Tower during
Blackpools tourism peaks.
Seasonality is a huge problem for Blackpool
Suffers seasonality problems due to the
location in which it lies.
Blackpool has many frequent visitors.
A large proportion of Blackpools visitors are
As will be seen, the extent of seasonality on
the destination and ultimately the tower has
meant little can be done.
What is currently being done
-Summer – November – during seasonal peaks.
-Half term holidays
At all other times, the tower is open on Wednesdays and
The Towers location is its major strength being situated in the
UK’s most popular seaside destination. It is less than an hour
away from Manchester airport and 7.5 million people live within
Trough Period - £5.00 for children
- £6.50 for adults
Peak season - £6.00 for children
- £8.00 for adults
Tower offers numerous different forms of entertainment:
-the tower circus
Also offers a loyalty card and a gold card.
Seasonality in Hotels.
Type of accomodation. % Peak season % Off peak season
The impacts of seasonality do not affect
hotels as much as the other tourist
Hotel 10.2 15.4
Guest house / B&B. 16.3 5.1
sectors we have discussed.
Self catering flat / cottage 26.5 18.8 Many hotels suffer seasonality on a
Caravan / tent 15.3 40.2 weekly basis. Monday to Friday Business
Home of friend / family 18.4 13.7 travellers. Weekends attract short breaks.
Second Home 3.1 6.8 Prices are significantly lower on a
Other 10.2 N/A weekend to attract customers.
Source: Dorset tourist board figures. Location determines the level of
seasonality, as seaside located hotels will
suffer more fluctuating demand than a
city based business focussed hotel; due to
weather, habit, and school holidays
In many cases, the use of hotels increases
in the off peak season, as the figures
produced by the Dorset tourist board
highlight. The percentage of visitors
staying in a hotel peak season is 10.2, this
increases to 15.4 off peak. This again is
due to lower prices and special offers.
One technique Hotels can use is
price discrimination. ‘Charging
different people different amounts
of money for the same service in
order to manipulate demand.’ Quality Exec king King & Sofa Suite
This can be seen in the table Feb. Midweeek 109 134 144 154
opposite, as it shows the prices for a Feb. Weekend 70 95 105 115
Marriott hotel both midweek and Mar. Midweek 109 134 144 154
weekend. As you can see weekend Mar. Weekend 75 100 110 120
customers pay up to 25% less for Jul. Midweek 109 134 144 154
the same service. Jul. Weekend 75 104 124 134
This is a good method of demand Aug. Midweek 109 134 144 154
manipulation, however this is only
Aug. Weekend 75 104 124 134
applicable to city centre type hotels.
Resort based hotels (e.g. seasides) Nov. Midweek 109 134 144 154
may need to do the opposite to this Nov. Weekend 70 95 105 115
by lowering prices midweek, as
Source: Marriott hotels price list. Hollins Hall.
there is sufficient weekend demand
most of the time.
As previously mentioned, the
location of a hotel can have a
Seasonality of Tourism in Dorset. great bearing on its
seasonality. Hotel based around
200000 resorts or attractions suffer the
same peaks and troughs as the
Visitor resorts themselves.
numbers. In the example of a seaside
50000 resort; tourists only really visit
0 in the summer months. This
S1 leaves a large 8 or 9 month off
peak period of low demand.
Month. Seaside resorts are not
synonymous with business or
Source: Dorset tourist board figures. conferences, therefore people
have very little reason to visit
them in the shoulder season,
causing a major ‘trough’ in the
Reverse yield management.
Hotels employ the concept of reverse yield management
in order to try and ensure they have high utilisation and
reduce the effects of seasonality.
Unlike the airline industry where the earlier you book
the flight the cheaper the ticket. In the hotel industry,
the longer you leave it before booking the room, often
the cheaper it is. This is because the marginal cost of
renting a room is very small, and as long as a booking is
covering the variable costs and is at least making a
contribution to fixed costs, most hotels will accept a far
reduced price for the room rather than have it vacant.
Hollins Hall Hotel.
‘It is only a 10-minute
drive from Leeds/Bradford We will now focus on a real life
International Airport. hotel, and how they seek to
Business travellers will overcome the problems of
find a welcome retreat in seasonality.
the hotel's 200-acre site Hollins Hall Hotel is part of the
with its extensive meeting Marriott chain, it is situated in
facilities & Country Club.’ Shipley, about 5 miles from the
‘This is an ideal base It is mainly marketed as a business
from which to explore hotel, as the main features are its
local attractions such as close proximity to local businesses,
as well as as the cities of Leeds and
Salt's Mill, with the Bradford. Business services are well
David Hockney advertised also.
Exhibition, Bronte The hotel is also described as being
Country, Harewood ‘perfectly located in the heart of
House, York and Yorkshire.’ The local tourist
Harrogate, Museum of attractions are also listed in order to
appeal to leisure travellers.
Film, Photography &
Television.’ Source: www.Marriott.com
Core business. Subsidiary activities.
Price discrimination. Up Golf course.
to 25% cheaper to stay Gymnasium.
on a weekend. Conferences.
Marriott reward scheme. Weddings.
Senior travellers discount Parties.
of at least 15%.
Theatre breaks. brunch.
The concept of seasonality can never be fully resolved, however there
are methods that tourist functions can employ in order to reduce the
negative effects. These can include:
Pricing strategies – price discrimination.
Accurate forecasting of demand.
Flexibility of resources.
Despite these methods to help resolve negative impacts there are
natural phenomenon that can not be manipulated by any management
techniques. For example:
Disasters. War & Weather.
Generate accurate demand forecasts
Further diversification needs to be undertaken:
New markets, ‘Adventure holidays is the fastest
growing market in the tourist industry.’ Source:
New customers. E.g. 50 + winter breaks.
Try to create relationships with third parties. Ie
schools trips in off peak periods.
Educate people, in order to reduce dependence on
tourism, by promoting other industries.