Ski specialist travel agent, Skiline, has reported a significant increase in its advance bookings for the 2023-24 winter season.
This follows a report from skiing journalist Patrick Thorne, looking at a wide range of tour operators all reporting their strongest ever sales over the 2022-23 winter.
Skiline during the month of January saw an increase of 73% year on year and for the first three weeks of February, a 53% increase. This was following the company’s strongest sales ever during 2022 over the same period, suggesting this is not linked with a Covid return to travel scenario, but rather a trend in skiers and snowboarders understanding the need to secure their choice of accommodation and flights well in advance.
Whilst the numbers across the industry reflect the demand for skiing holidays during the ‘post Covid’ era, the question seems to be why this is happening.
Founder and managing director of Skiline, Angus Kinloch, can see a trend that has formed due to several influences over the past few years. Kinloch said: “Our customers now want to secure the best chalets and accommodation deals well in advance, especially for the peak season weeks of New Year and February Half Term. Families in particular want good chalet accommodation over these dates and they know that if they don’t lock that down now, they will lose out”
The consolidation of the chalet market since Brexit and wider EU employment legislation has meant less catered chalets are available on the market. This has driven demand but Kinloch and Skiline are seeing growth in other areas too:
“Our Club Med product has gone from strength to strength and it offers an alternative to the traditional chalet holiday with its all-inclusive packages. We were the first travel agent to offer Club Med skiing holidays in the UK and I don’t think at first, many British skiers understood the product. Now we get so many repeat bookings from groups, couples and families, it really has become one of our strongest products. But because it’s a very international company, our customers know that during the peak season weeks, they need to book quickly and especially the travel side. Club Med’s own charter flight for February Half Term week in 2024 was sold out within 4 hours of launching”.
But chalet holidays remain popular and they key message from Kinloch remains the same as ever: “We have obviously been advising our customers to book peak season dates well in advance for years and the canny ones understand that this isn’t simply marketing spiel. The fact is that for groups or families wanting to secure the best chalets for those holiday weeks, they need to book now or even earlier. We don’t see that changing and in fact the way things are going, we only see it becoming busier in January and February for the following winter – this is now a change in booking habits when before, people would wait until summer to book”.
“There are less chalets available now yet the chalet concept remains highly popular – the cull in chalets isn’t down to consumer demand for the product, it’s down the loss of chalets over the past few years driven by a combination of factors including Brexit and Covid”.
Skiline offer holidays in 9 countries including catered chalet weeks and all-inclusive Club Med packages as well as the Eurostar train to the French Alps.
www.skiline.co.uk, 020 8313 3999