Results released today from a survey of regular British skiers reveals the majority of ski holiday makers still wanting and expecting to take a European ski holiday next winter, although lacking in confidence to make bookings.
The survey reveals many people are not concerned about flights or resorts not operating, but are most concerned about losses and unexpected cancellations, suggesting operators are still not doing enough to ease these concerns. People are taking a wait and see approach to planning and booking, with just 5% having made some form of booking already, and 36% searching or making enquiries about destinations or accommodation.
Among those surveyed, 72% are very or extremely keen to take a European ski holiday, but confidence for a “normal” ski holiday next winter is moderate to low (13% Extremely/very confident, 40% Not at all/Not so confident). Just over half say they are expecting (52% definitely/probably) to go on a ski holiday, with a further 41% still undecided.
Further, the findings suggest how ski holidays could look quite different with demand for less known, smaller resorts and self-managed holidays (self-driving and self-catering) increasing, whilst larger resorts, après ski bars and restaurants may experiences challenges next season.
The results reveal après ski bars are looking at possible significant reductions in trade with one-third of those surveyed saying they will start to avoid those bars next season. This combined with one quarter of those surveyed expecting to avoid restaurants and choose self-catering indicates food and beverage operators will need to look at novel ways to maintain their trade next season.
The survey was conducted by Jasna Adventures, who specialise in chalet ski holidays to Jasna, Slovakia. They surveyed 100 people from their customer base from 25 May to 4 June, 2020.
As Justin Garrett, Co-owner of Jasna Adventures explains: “We needed to understand expectations for holidays to Jasna specifically given we’re a little off the radar but a growing destination among Brits. So it’s encouraging to see almost three quarters of skiers are keen for a ski holiday for next winter, but with 40% not at all or not so confident they will experience a normal ski holiday we all have some work to do on defining what the new guest experience will look like.”
Justin goes on: “But most immediately, we’re developing new booking and cancellation policies to make it clear what happens for guests in the case of a repeat of lockdowns, cancelled flights, and resort closures. This will include 100% refunds for booking deposits, free date changes, and credits for unused ski passes. We had guests directly impacted last season with early departures and cancellations, so we’ve seen first-hand the concern guests have when this happens. We’re using that experience to develop our more flexible booking conditions”.
The new booking conditions will apply retrospectively to all current bookings.
Given the rapidly changing situation, with borders opening, travel restrictions being lifted and many resorts launching summer lift operations there are plans to repeat the survey during the summer months to assess the change in British skiers sentiments and expectations.
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