UK Ski Operators Claim 2021/2022 Looking Good

That’s according to some UK ski tour operators and agents we have spoken to. This season is pretty much a total write off, though some hold out hope for the end of season. Are they correct about next winter?

The sensible ones are looking to the future.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking mixed in with some hope, but here at PlanetSKI we hearing some murmerings of optimism.

Recently Hotelplan UK, the company that runs the brands Inghams, Ski Total and Flexiski, announced it was axing all its ski holidays for this season at least until early April.

Hotelplans claims “strong booking numbers for next winter across our 2021/22 winter programme”.

It says the brands are “already over 45% sold for next winter, well ahead of the same period last year, so people should think about their plans for the next winter now to avoid disappointment.”

We are having an in-depth interview with the CEO of Hotelplan UK, Joe Ponte, this week so we will bring you an update on the situation.

Other UK ski operators report similar situations.

“We’re currently over 100% bookings over the same time last year,” said the CEO of SNO, Richard Sinclair this week.

“More than half of this increase is from cancelled customers this winter preferring to defer deposits and secure their spot next winter rather than refund, but we are also taking more bookings for next season than we ever have before at this stage in the year.

“The peak dates are selling out for next winter already, but new suppliers are picking up many of the chalets that the big operators have dropped, so we’re confident we can help customers keep finding their ideal package.

“The big advice for our clients, is don’t leave it too late, because deposits are still a very low-cost way of securing your spot.”

We spoke to Richard about next winter in this earlier article on PlanetSKI.

Another operator said “we are trading around 30% of what we should be doing at this time of year, but we will absolutely take that. We almost feel positive for the first time in a while”.

It is similar across the industry.

“There are some fantastic offers available right now, the smart ones are getting ahead of the crowds and securing their ski holiday for the best price,” said the managing director of Ski Solutions, Craig Burton.

“Ski Solutions has brilliant savings on your essentials such as ski passes and lift hire with  up to 50% off North America accommodation,” Craig added.

See here for some of next season’s offering from Ski Solutions.

It seems many of us want to have something to look forward to, plus realise the peak dates next season will be busy especially as capacity has been reduced.

However there is an elephant in the room – travel restrictions.

Innsbruck airport

Innsbruck airport. Image © PlanetSKI

It is far too early to tell what stage we will be at in the battle with coronavirus for the winter ski season of 2021/22.

But most medical and scientific experts believe the virus will still be around in some shape and form.

There are significant concerns about mutations.

Vaccines will have been administered, but by no means to everyone.

The simple logistics and the numbers of people not believing in vaccines and worried about the side effects.

This could mean travel restrictions are in place.

They are in countries like Australia and New Zealand that have very few cases.

Interestingly bookings for summer holidays in 2021 have eased as people realise the implications of travel restrictions over the next few months.

It is reported that currently most summer holiday bookings are now for 2022 and not 2021.

It is too early to make a judgement for the winter season of 2021/22, but it is a real concern.

So, is it time to book a ski holiday for the winter of 2021/22?

“There are two main decisions to make. First should you book then secondly, and perhaps more importantly, who should you book with,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

James Cove

James Cove, Aosta Valley Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

“The Package Travel Regulations and the financial protection regime in the UK gives good levels of protection to customers. Book with the right company, and there’s little to worry about – the risks and worries sit squarely with the operator.

“The system was severely tested last year, but it broadly held up and the vast majority of operators and agents did the right thing – though of course there are some examples of things not going well and companies being difficult to reach.

“So, choosing carefully how and who you book with is really the key decision as much as the timing – make sure there is robust financial protection in place in case the operator fails.”

“It is a good idea to check a company’s social media page for client’s comments and web sites such as Feefo and Trustpilot too.”