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Ski Holiday Bookings – what is REALLY going to happen this winter?

July 15th, 2009

There has been a lot of talk around the internet about an impending supply disaster when it comes to booking your 2010 ski holiday. We reported on this on a earlier thread (read: Ski Holidays 2010 - Book Early To Get The Best Deals).

On the face of it, these stories have been pitched as “useful advice for consumers”. However, dig around a bit behind the scenes, and cynics might claim that these stories are just “spin”, generated by the ski industry to try and encourage early bookings for an uncertain winter season.

We spoke to an independent tour operator in Chatel, France, who claims that the theory of reduced supply is incorrect.

“Just because large tour operators have reduced the number of chalets that they offer, doesn’t mean that there will be less chalets to rent. On the contrary, there are now a large number of chalets available which were previously tied in to expensive contracts with tour operators.

In our resort, a catered chalet operator decided not to continue for the following season. On the face of it, this meant that there are now less catered chalet holidays available. However, the ski chalets which were rented by this company are now available with a number of different booking agents, in many cases at a lower price.”

So yes, book early to guarantee the right chalet in the right resort for the right week. But if you can’t commit to a ski holiday now, don’t worry. Chances are there are going to be a lot of independent chalets available at reasonable prices throughout the Alps.

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Articles, General News, Ski & snow news, Ski Advice

Ski Holidays 2010 – book early to get the best deals

June 8th, 2009

It has been a funny old year. Recession hit the UK, the pound crashed against the Euro, holidays in the Eurozone became a lot more expensive for Brits, and the Alps received some of the best snowfall for 25 years, with the season opening in style in November and continuing with fantastic conditions until the end of April. So a bit of a mixed bag for British skiers – great snow conditions vs expensive European holidays.

It wasn’t all bad news however. The sheer number of catered chalets available coupled with a significant drop in clients booking early meant that there were a lot of amazing deals available as increasingly desperate chalet operators dropped their prices in an attempt to fill their beds.

With an uncertain climate still prevailing throughout the British Isles, and based on what happened last year, skiers would be forgiven for thinking that the best thing to do for 2009/2010 would be to wait until the last minute, and try and get a reduced deal. However, if you are serious about your skiing, that could prove to be a mistake.

Based on the poor performance of many chalets during the winter 08/09 season, many chalet operators have dramatically reduced the number of chalets they will be operating. In simple terms, this means that there won’t be enough chalets to go around, especially during the peak weeks. Demand is predicted to massively outstrip supply which could result in price rises of between 10-30 % as the season approaches.

Because the news of these chalet cuts have yet to filter through to all the smaller chalet operators and owner run chalet operations, prices at the moment tend to be comparable with last year, or in some cases even cheaper. However, as the season approaches and it becomes clear that it is a seller’s market, prices for remaining weeks and beds are predicted to rise sharply.

At the moment, there are still some good deals to be found for next winter, even for the New Year and half term weeks. The shrewd skiers are booking now. Says Liz of independent ski holiday portal, All Mountain Holidays;

“Many people think that the thing to do this year is to book late. However, traffic on our site is currently high, and most of the quality chalets are already booked for Christmas, New Year and half term. For many chalet owners, Easter is also selling fast. I think it is going to come as quite a shock to people who leave it until the autumn to book a ski holiday during the school holidays – there will be very little availability, and what will be left will be phenomenally expensive. Even the non school holiday weeks are going to suffer price rises as the season approaches and availability becomes more limited.”

In order to avoid disappointment next winter, if you can afford to, get a deposit down on your 2009/2010 ski holiday as soon as possible. If you leave it too late, you may find that there isn’t much choice!

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