The number of skiers and snowboarders travelling with tour operators has risen steadily by 5% since 2006/07, with more people seemingly attracted to the ‘value for money’, inclusive deals and financial security of booking with a bonded operator. Due to unfavourable exchange rates and rising fuel prices, the cost of booking holiday components individually remains higher than booking a package holiday. This could account for the subsequent drop in the independent and self-drive travel sectors’ market share.
Awkward holiday dates led to a difficult season structure in 2011 and may have deterred bookings. A very late Easter, sporadic snow conditions and early spring thaw are thought to be the main catalysts for the 4% drop in the snowsports holiday market.
Caroline Stuart-Taylor, Chief Executive of the Ski Club, commented on the report:
“Tour operators are innovating and adding value to their holidays in a number of ways – from introducing more all-inclusive packages, to offering deals on lift passes and free child places. Resorts are also doing their bit by revising their pricing and offering special promotions in an effort to win back the UK market. We hope this, combined with a more positive season structure (including an earlier Easter), will entice more people back to the slopes for the forthcoming winter.”
Despite the hard economic climate and fluctuating exchange rates the average cost of a ski holiday remains virtually unchanged year on year and now stands at £717. Tour operators have engaged their significant buying power and passed many savings on to the consumer.
Other findings from the report include:
Austria has increased its market share by 5% since 07/08. This is due to people seeking a more affordable destination and an increased capacity offered by tour operators to Austrian resorts.
The ski touring hardware market is reportedly as big worldwide as the snowboarding market.
Self-drive holidays and train travel to the mountains both dropped by 1%.
Club hotels saw a 2% increase in market share and we expect this figure to grow along with the number of catered chalets available for the coming winter.