47% of Americans prefer off-season travel, according to this American Automobile Association survey.
Why? It’s cheaper; there are fewer crowds and shorter queues; and families with school-age kids are safely back home, leaving the marvellous Mediterranean hotspots less hot but still ripe for exploring by the more affluent, discerning “Anglo-Saxons”, as the Italians like to call us.
We enjoy the cool and the quiet
It may come as a surprise to southern Europeans that cooler weather does not put off their northern cousins. We actually like it, whether it’s swimming in a Russian ice hole, browsing at a freezing German Christmas market, or taking a quintessentially British seaside stroll on a bracing Boxing Day.
Being on the sands at Positano virtually alone one February, looking up at the town in all its crisp, pastel glory – roaming the lanes of Capri with the locals for company – the sun glinting off the powder-blue snow flecking the Monti Lattari. It wasn’t hot, but the atmosphere was so beautiful, so authentic. I shan’t forget any of it.
Hoteliers – exploit the off-season!
If you’re doing what you can to control costs (even if the government isn’t helping you much), the other way to improve your margins is, of course, to get more customers in.
Prolong the season. Make the most of the “shoulders”. Fill those empty rooms. Plug those gaps in your revenue. Even if the Italians don’t want to travel when the weather is cooler (witness deserted, shut-down Sperlonga beach one balmy 1st October five years back), plenty of northern Europeans and Americans do.
To persuade them to stay with you – rather than the thousands of other places that they could go to – incisive English copy written by a specialist native-speaking professional will make all the difference.
Maybe this autumn/winter, some more of those Americans could be checking in with you.