Make the Most of Your “Off” Season

Make the Most of Your “Off” Season

Ranches, lodges, and outfitters that provide all-inclusive family vacations and high-end guided experiences have been running gangbusters all summer. With schools going back into session, the end of another busy season is almost here, and the pace of work is getting ready to slow down. Yes, there will be plenty more guests and work to do throughout the fall, but it’s not too soon to think about catching a breath and gearing up for the “off” season.

Contrary to how it sounds, the “off” season is anything but a break for owners and operators of a seasonal business. Of course, there will be more free time, but this is their opportunity to work on matters better addressed when they aren’t focused on taking care of guests and clients. If you are heading into your “off” season, here are a few ways to make the most of it:

Take Stock of Wins & Losses

This is the best time to get with your team and make an honest assessment of what went right and what went wrong. It is also the best time to decide what projects need to do before major guest operations resume. Whether it relates to upgrades to your accommodations, staff housing projects, or changes to your property management software, it will require careful planning and execution to be successful. Word to the wise, be conservative and don’t bite off more than you can chew, it’s vital to complete these projects so they are not a thorn in your side come the next guest season.

Revisit Your 5-Year Plan

Take what you learned from the most recent season and pull up to a 30,000’ view of your operation. Revisit your 5-year plan and check the roadmap relative to your current progress vs. your long-term goals. It’s ok if you need re-sequence the priorities to stay on track. But most importantly, if there has been a change to the overall vision, then you must recalibrate promptly and chart a course that aligns to the new destination.

Retain, Recruit & Acquire Talent

Next step, get out the ORG chart and do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Define what needs to happen in order to retain the people that make your business a success. Make a point to understand their needs, learn what drives them, show them your business plan and map out their role in it. Finally, show your appreciation and compensate them accordingly. Employers often talk about how difficult it is to find good people, but the other side of the equation is keeping the ones they have. Once the foundation of your team is secure, get organized and actively recruit help where you need it most. The true costs of turnover in an organization cannot be understated, so don’t be penny wise and pound foolish with your talent acquisition strategy.

Fill Your Tank

Let’s face it, you’re in the guest business and you’re always on. People can tell when you’re not having fun, especially when you’re running on fumes. Make sure to take time off and refill your tank for the good of yourself and the people around you.

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