Overview of Summer Business and Labor Day Weekend, 2006
For Immediate Release - September 5, 2006
CONTACT: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LABOR DAY AND SUMMER 06 WRAP UP FROM MT WASHINGTON VALLEY
Canadian visitors and one-tank trips translated to a good summer for Mt. Washington Valley, NH
North Conway, NH - Unanimously, members of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce responding to an informal survey concurred that the Valley is welcoming more Canadian visitors now that the exchange rate is evening out. Add that to the fact that Mt. Washington Valley is a one-tank trip for most travelers from throughout New England, and these trends translate into a good summer and Labor Day weekend for most businesses in Mt. Washington Valley. Many businesses echoed the sentiment that travelers waited until August to vacation, which meant that business was up over last year's figures for the month and for Labor Day.
Terry O'Brien of Red Parka Pub reported that both Labor Day weekend and the later part of the summer were well ahead of last year, noting also that they're welcoming more Canadians than in the past years. Valerie Boatwright of the Eastern Slope Campground concurred, explaining they welcomed many more campers from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec. In Jackson, Sally Carter and Dick Green, owners of Carter Notch Inn and Dana Belcher from the Lodge at Jackson commented that they're seeing more Canadians this year, especially as last minute travelers, according to Dana. Retailers including Aaron Hats and North Conway Hannaford concurred with the rest that Canadian travelers were definitely visible this summer and Labor Day. Howard Stanten, Owner of The Metropolitan Coffee House noted brisk sales over the Canadian Civic Holiday in August.
Lodging properties weighing in on the survey all noted a strong summer and Labor Day weekend. Martha Wilson, PR Director for the Mount Washington Hotel reported increases in occupancy from ten to twenty percent for each day of Labor Day weekend, with summer figures not yet in but definitely up over last year. She attributes the increases to aggressive pricing and marketing. Dana Belcher, owner of the Lodge at Jackson also reported a ten percent increase over last year for Labor Day and a twenty percent increase over 2005 for the summer months. He attributes the increases to better Internet marketing. Sally Carter & Dick Green of the Carter Notch Inn reported a twenty percent increase over last year for Labor Day weekend, and increases for June and July over last year's figures with August on par with last year. They speculated that more Canadian visitors and Jackson's "one-tank" distance for many visitors helped to fuel increases this summer. Gordon Young of the Saco River Motor Lodge attributed his increases over Labor Day and this summer to noticeably more Canadians and better Internet Marketing. All lodging properties maintained that travelers are continuing to make last-minute decisions when traveling, although Gordon Young at the Saco River Motor Lodge maintained that his advance sales for fall foliage and Fryeburg Fair week are way up over last year. A good sign for a strong fall foliage season.
Lucie Villeneuve, owner and operator of Wilderness Guide Service, on the other hand, reported that people planned ahead reserving guided hikes for family reunions last summer. Her business benefited from increased exposure through the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, with a strong summer business fueled by a desire for outdoor recreation. She also reported seeing a lot more French-Canadian hikers on the trails.
Eastern Slope Campground reported that after a washout of a spring, gas prices actually contributed to increases in length of stays for campers. To make it worth their while, campers stayed longer and towed cars to avoid driving RVs throughout the Valley.
North Conway retailers including Aaron's Hats and North Conway Hannaford reported a strong summer season and Labor Day. Once again, Internet marketing, weather and an increase in Canadian businesses were cited as reasons for increases. Aaron's Hats was up 38-percent over last year for Labor Day weekend, attributing their growth to the popularity in hats and the cooler weather. The Metropolitan Coffee House reported steady growth throughout the summer, with Labor Day figures exceeding last year too. They attribute their growth to increased interest in coffee, strong customer service and marketing.
While all are sensitive to the complexities of Route 16 traffic, none of those responding to the survey reported an effect from the construction. In fact, some reported that they felt their businesses benefited from it due to travelers having more time to notice stores along the way. David Brooks at the Mt Washington Valley Children's Museum said that his sign is his strongest marketing tool. "People have time to notice our sign as they approach the Village," said Brooks. The Metropolitan Coffee House mentioned that they've benefited from sales to construction workers.
Mt. Washington Valley businesses have clearly survived everything from construction barriers to increased gas prices and actually grown in the midst of weather and economic difficulties. Looking toward fall, businesses are optimistic for a strong foliage season.
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