When the news of the Brexit decision landed on my breakfast table I was surprised to say the least, and thoughts immediately turned to how this could affect business this year for the ski industry as a whole.
Obvious factors you will have read about a thousand times between now and then: exchange rate, strength of pound, looming financial crisis and the desire to keep hands firmly in pockets.
These expectations pretty much came true and we saw a significant slow down in the summer months when we normally begin to see the first flourish of transfer bookings for the coming winter. Preparing ourselves for a tough time ahead we started to wonder if the worst doomsayers might be correct and a terrible time was awaiting us all. But then came August.
August this year has seen records broken across the board at Ski-Lifts and has more than made up for any reductions in the earlier part of the summer. It seems that people were just being a little bit sensible. How very British of them! Whilst there is no doubting the possible negatives going forward I think that there are other reasons for relative hesitance from the consumer. Two slow starts to the season from a snow perspective, for a start, can't have helped confidence at all and add to that Christmas dates not being the most conducive to last years (or this for that matter) traditional Saturday to Saturday changeover days. More on that in a moment.
Yes, there is still a degree of uncertainty in the air, but judging by our stats and the feedback we can gain from our broad spectrum of industry clients and the good old public, it seems that people still want to go skiing. And why would they ever not.
Conversations with our clients regarding their Christmas planning does vary from person to person some retaining their traditional Saturday to Saturday routine whilst I would say that the majority are tweaking their changeover days to meet the Sunday Christmas day with mid-week to mid-week breaks, and then short breaks on either side to plug the gap until they can get back into the routine.
Whilst this may not be ideal for some, what it does mean is that the public who are in the market for a ski holiday can definitely find some amazing bargains out there over this period. We won't tell you where to go looking for them but we will say that they are there. If you are prepared to do some shopping around you will be surprised at what you can get for your money this year.
All in all, these factors suggest to me that we can maybe put away the negative hat and step up to the challenge of making the best of what seemed to be a bad situation. It may yet prove to be one of the better winters in recent years.
Snow, on the other hand ... we will have to wait and see.
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