Off-Season Travel Is Becoming More and More Popular. Here’s Why.
This trend is doing away with the traditional notion of “high season.”
BY Mary Gostelow  |  April 1, 2024
3 Minute Read

Goa’s high season used to be six months—now, it is year-round.
Image courtesy of Ashutosh Saraswat/Unsplash

In April 2017, Emma Morano died at the age of 117. She attributed her longevity to eating three eggs a day, but others might cite exercise. In a bid to keep going, your correspondent climbed down and up the Spanish Steps every day for four days—132 steps down and 132 steps up, times four. Most importantly, the main takeaway was not that she did it, but that there were so few crowds around in what was still winter. In summer, the same activity would be like trying to get into Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concert without a ticket.

The realisation of the joy of travelling out of season is expanding. More and more appreciate planning and taking trips when crowds are less dense, and when prices for airfares and rooms and suites are lower. Because of this, the shoulders between high and low are stretching and “the season”—high season—is also lengthening.

A large brown palace sitting atop a lake, against a background of mountains.
Jal Mahal, a landmark on the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Image courtesy of Sohan Rayguru/Unsplash

In Goa, says Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO of IHCL, parent of Taj Hotels and Resorts, the season was only six months. Now, it is year-round. In Rajasthan, where temperatures can soar to 45 degrees Celsius, the season has doubled from four to eight months. In both instances, the same number of tourists is not more widely distributed—there are simply more tourists.

A brown historical building surrounded by trees and skyscrapers.
Capella Sydney is located in the historical heart of the city.
Image courtesy of Timothy Kaye/Capella Sydney

Marc von Arnim, GM of Capella Sydney, feels Southeast Asia really doesn’t have a low season at all. “Sydney sees far more demand for travel in winter months, [which is] traditional low season. In Australia, travelling without children off-peak means less queues and more access to popular spots.”

This out-of-season trend extends even further east. Speaking from Tahiti, Guillaume Epinette, area GM of InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), says that throughout French Polynesia, the distinction between high and low season is gradually fading. Advantages of travelling during the slightly quieter periods include opportunities to delve deeper into the culture and experience the true essence of the beautiful islands.

Hotel lounge with colourful armchairs, dining tables, and a bar.
Four Seasons Hong Kong.
Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, Christian Poda, VP of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and GM of Four Seasons Hong Kong, agrees completely: travelling out of season allows you to experience a more authentic culture with deeper engagements with locals.

Poda also, from an outbound viewpoint, stresses that, indeed, global travellers, many of whom he sees in transit, are certainly redefining traditional travel patterns by venturing to destinations during what was previously considered off-season. “The distinction between high and low seasons becomes increasingly blurred,” he says.

But does low season always mean low(er) pries? Not always. Jill Goh, who recently relocated from Hong Kong to be GM of Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, points out that sometimes travel periods are determined by adults’ work or kids’ school breaks. In Singapore, she says, one can visit 365 days and the prices of hotel do not fluctuate too much.

Poda, in Hong Kong, gets the last word. “To sum up, one of the key benefits of off-season is the opportunity to avoid crowds and experience popular destinations in a more peaceful and authentic way.”

And, as a worthy and related postscript, he adds that impulsive travel is currently a trend. As travel decisions are significantly influenced by social media and television develops travel desires, if influencers travel out of season, why not tag along, and perhaps stay younger longer?