Beating the Winter Blues: How Florida’s Ecotourism Businesses Survive During the Off Season

Florida’s Ecotourism Doesn’t Shut Down During the Winter

Winter hits Florida, and a chilly 60 degrees makes the natives pull out their winter gear and bundle up in jackets and boots. For them, a day swimming in the springs or paddling a kayak down the river really isn’t on the top of their minds during winter season.

But as an ecotourism business in Florida, you have to learn how to embrace the winter and continue attracting new and old customers during seasonal slowdowns. It’s vital to understand customer behavior and then think differently and adapt.

So, throw on that extra layer because we’re going to show you how to get your customers outside to enjoy the Florida winter.

Stock Your Gift Shop

For all the businesses who offer swimming and diving tours with manatees, winter is their busy season. For those who don’t provide these excursions, you can still capitalize on the influx of tourists.

When tourists flock to see the manatees, stock your gift shop with concession items and manatee keepsakes. If you don’t have a gift shop, create a pop-up one. Visitors who share a special experience with the manatees would love to take home a memory.

Consider Adding a New Activity

If you’re a kayak, canoe or paddle board instructor or rental company, you can thrive during the slowdown in November through March by taking advantage of the peak manatee season.

To help supplement renting to fewer people or giving classes to smaller groups during the slow season, consider canoeing or kayaking with visitors on the water to see the manatees. As a resident, you know the waters better than anyone else, and tourists will rely on you for your insider knowledge. However, if you want to take visitors to swim or snorkel with the manatees, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission first because there are only a few sites where this is legal.

Focus on the Snow Birds

While Floridians are adding extra layers, snow birds are shedding them. For those who visit from up North, 50 degrees is a welcomed change compared to a freezing minus 15º.

These sunshine seekers are looking to kayak, snorkel, fish, boat or anything that involves the outdoors. During your off season, point your marketing efforts up North rather than focusing on your in-state residents.

Feature Your Business

If you’re looking to advertise and showcase your ecotourism business even further, request to add it to the featured activity section on the Ecotourism Florida homepage.

New and returning visitors come to the website in search of a true Floridian adventure, and your business may be the place to find it.

In the meantime, make sure to use #EcotourismFL on any of your shared adventures to expand your reach and potentially be featured on the Ecotourism Florida Instagram.