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Sales of Ski Holidays Surge for Next Season

Operators report a rise in bookings and interest for next season.  It follows the roll out of vaccines, easing of lockdown restrictions, plus talk of vaccine passports to allow travel. Is it too soon to be optimistic? UPDATED

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The surge in interest in summer travel has been well documented this week with airlines, holiday companies and summer resorts reporting soaring sales.

It should be pointed out that this interest comes from a low base so percentage rises in sales should be judged accordingly.

The same spirit of confidence is reflected in ski bookings for next winter with a significant rise in interest.

“After the toughest year our industry has ever faced, it is at least encouraging to be able to report a marked upturn in new booking demand through February” said the MD of Ski Solutions, Craig Burton, to PlanetSKI.

“I believe a degree of optimism has returned to the market in part because cases of Covid-19 are coming down as the virus is brought under control, but also because of the roll out of the vaccine by the NHS.

“This is supporting a credible exit route for all of us from this crisis, and crucially what we expect will be a restart of international travel this summer”

“The industry is not out of the woods by a long way, but we can begin to look forward with greater confidence to next winter, and what we are seeing is evidence of the huge pent-up demand to travel again.

“Many people have missed two winters and are determined to make up for it in the season of 2021/22.”

There is great interest in chalets, not least because many operators have cut back on their offerings for the 2021/22 season so supply may be limited – especially at the peak holiday dates.

Most reservations can be made with a small deposit and people should book with a correctly bonded operator.

The traditional destinations are doing well, but there is also growing interest in other types of holiday.

Some are looking to go on a ‘trip-of-a-lifetime’ ski holiday – whether that be to North America or Japan.

Others are looking at a different post-pandemic ski experience.

Norway has seen high levels of interest.

“Bookings from our key operators across Europe are looking extremely positive from next winter, with some operators reporting 100% + up on sales figures from last Winter prior to COVID,” said the CEO of Norway-Home of Skiing, Trevor de Villiers, to PlanetSKI.

“These are very encouraging early signs that Norway will attract lots of travellers, especially from the UK which is a key international market for the Norwegian ski resorts.

“With the hugely positive roll-out of vaccines by the UK government, it seems that the UK will indeed be a leading source of tourism to the Norwegian mountains next winter and I believe people are looking for destinations with lots of uncrowded space which Norway is synonymous with.”

Skiing in Norway

Trevor de Villiers, Norway

Skiing can go on into June in the north of Norway and here at PlanetSKI we’re hoping to head there later this season – if travel restrictions and coronavirus circumstances allow.

We’ve always wanted to ski at Narvik near the Arctic Circle – watch this space.

The UK’s largest ski operator Crystal Ski Holidays offers holidays in Geilo, Beitostolen Hemsedal and Trysil

“We were so disappointed not to be able to take customers away to the mountains this winter,” said the Managing Director of Crystal Ski Holidays, Chris Logan.

“But we are seeing significant demand for next season.

“Bookings are well ahead of where we would expect to be at this stage, and this has been further fuelled by the Government’s roadmap announcement.

“The entire holiday industry is seeing a surge and for Crystal Ski Holidays that’s meant a daily 30% uplift, on top of already strong demand, since the timeline was outlined.”

Crystal Ski Holidays

Crystal Ski Holidays

In the more traditional destination of France bookings are rising.

“I’m pleased to say that business is starting to look a lot more positive again. Sales have really picked up in an encouraging way for next winter this last few weeks,” said the UK Sales and Marketing Manager for Ski France, Zac Brown, to PlanetSKI.

Next winter Ski France is offering a new product – ‘Contactless  Chalets’.

“Four days before arrival Ski France sends you a comprehensive provisions list with everything you would want for your holiday,” is the description of the service on its web site.

“That might be oven-ready meals, or the ingredients you’ll need for bolognaise, soufflés or cheese fondues.

“Dry goods, dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat or fish, beers, wines, whatever, all bought for you and stocked in advance.

“Beds will be made, bathrobes and slippers in the bathrooms, logs in the fireplace.

“Midweek, when you are out skiing, the professional concierge team will be back.

“Towels changed, beds made, chalet fully cleaned, fridge restocked.”

See here for further details about the product.

One of its UK agents is SNO.

“It is perfect in these Covid-19 times and the food is first rate from local shops and delis,”said the MD of SNO, Richard Sinclair.

“It is an interesting product for people wanting to be secure in a bubble of friends and families should there be new variant viruses around.

“The price point is also very good as the staff costs are reduced and these savings can be passed on.”

If you want closer contact by having a chef or a driver that can be arranged.

See here to contact SNO.

And if you want something different post-pandemic, how about some of the smaller resorts in the Tirol in Austria that you have probably never heard of?

“We are pleased to see that people are already booking for winter 21/22,” said Elena Protopopow from the Tirol Tourist Board.

“The holiday they have missed this winter will definitely be made up for next year.

“It is difficult to say whether and which measures will still be in place at this time. That is why we have to look at the situation on an ongoing basis.”

“Therefore, we remain optimistic for the next winter season. In any case, the demand for holidays in Tirol proves that exercise in nature and holidays in the mountains are still highly attractive.

“As soon as the general conditions – such as the lifting of lockdowns, the decline in the number of infections and the withdrawal of travel warnings – make uncomplicated travel possible, guests will come again.”

However is should be stressed that the overall coronavirus situation remains unclear.

Though the pandemic might have been largely brought under control, coronavirus will still be around according to scientific opinion.

Many think we will simply have to learn to live with the virus.

There could be restrictions in place, and upsurges in variant viruses may mean disruptions.

It is far too early to tell, but such things should not be ruled out and travel will have its risks.

There could still be social  distancing and other measures in place.

It is not likely things will be the same.

And here at PlanetSKI how do we know the talk from the operators is based in fact rather than wishful thinking and positive spin as they try to salvage business?

Our advertising department had three companies this week calling wanting to act straight away to tap into the surging sales as confidence returns.

That would not happen unless genuine bookings are coming in.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be posting some features over the next few weeks looking at holidays on offer for next winter to inspire you.

This winter is pretty much a write-off, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

We will also be looking at what a post-pandemic ski season may look like.

Do check back…

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