During the high holy days of a Wisconsin summer, it’s hard to think about anything but beautiful weather. But, if you’re an innkeeper or someone in a business related to tourism, you’re always keenly aware of how weather can affect travel. Summer droughts, unexpected flooding, winters without snow, icy spring weekends, autumns when the leaves seem to disappear in an instant—all these scenarios can have a huge impact on travel numbers.
While the weather or the changing of the seasons is one of the major drivers of tourism, depending on these factors isn’t a good way to sustain a tourism business. Weather in Wisconsin is fickle. Every season has a mind of its own. The destination or business that leaves its fate solely to the weather is asking for trouble.
One way that businesses and destinations can combat the fickleness of Mother Nature is promoting weather-proof activities and attractions. By mentioning indoor and all-season activities in your promotions and informational materials, you help to shape travelers’ expectations and prepare them for less-than-perfect conditions. If the result is a happy traveler—i.e., a traveler who is likely to visit your business or community again—it’s worth the effort.
Here are some suggestions to help you come up with your list of all-season alternatives.
- Indoor options – Every lodging property owner or tourism professional should have a list of indoor entertainment options, including art museums, historical society museums, children’s museums, large antique malls, movie theaters, shops and galleries.
- Tasty treats – When the weather is frightful, it’s a great time to head to the ice cream shop, fudge shop, candy shop or coffee shop.
- No snow? Tell ‘em to take a hike – Cross-country skiers and snowshoers need a good layer of snow. Have a list of hiking options available to satisfy their urge to go out trekking.
- Scenic secrets – During the late fall and early spring, when there are no leaves on the trees, have a few “scenic secrets” up your sleeve that are beautiful no matter the season. Covered bridges, waterfalls, caves, rocky ravines—all of these types of attractions will impress, no matter what it looks like outside.
- Go picking – Regardless of the autumn color, fall is a great time for apple picking or visiting the pumpkin patch.
- Take a drive – Scenic auto tours can be relaxing and give travelers a chance to gain a deeper connection to your destination.
Weather will always have an impact on tourism, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight back! Right now, while the weather is fine, it’s a good time to start building your own list of all-season alternatives.