The travel industry is, by its nature, seasonal. There’s the peak season, with its influx of customers, work, and money. Then comes the off-season and shoulder seasons, when business is more scarce. In this dormancy, resorts, hotels, bars, and other tourist-dependant businesses tend to lay off their staff. Or, if considered ‘employees’, they are ‘given unpaid leave’ for months on end. In impoverished communities, several family members could rely on a single salary, so the ramifications of not receiving income for months can be devastating. For economies that rely on tourism, it’s difficult to find other work. However, businesses find it a necessary consequence of staying afloat – after all, what can they do when there are no customers?
Traveling in the low season helps alleviate this difficult seasonal imbalance. Increases in business help families sustain themselves through the low season. With every restaurant you eat in, accommodation you stay at, and shop you buy from, you’re contributing to the local economy. For even just one employee who serves you, their single salary ripples on to their family, neighbors, and the rest of the community. Due to your ability to help sustain these communities, you’ll generally receive extra attention and better service from appreciative staff, elevating your experience.
To make an even greater impact with your stay, try to support businesses that look after their staff in the off-season. This is usually a time of instability and job insecurity, but some establishments are mindful of this and make necessary changes to their business model. They utilize the down period to train staff, improve their service, and fix up their infrastructure – all while maintaining their workforce’s salaries. Seasonality tests a company’s claims of having high socioeconomic sustainability standards, and those who practice what they preach should be rewarded with your custom.