FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 5, 2008
CONTACT: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, email@example.com
FEBRUARY VACTATIONERS AND SKIERS ARE LOVING THE SNOW
Mt Washington Valley businesses offer glowing reports for Feb Vacation Week and
cautiously optimistic predictions for summer travel
North Conway, NH (3/5/08) - While Mt Washington Valley residents may be tired of shoveling snow, an informal survey of Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members proved that skiers and vacationers were still motivated to travel through it in February. Businesses throughout Mt Washington offered enthusiastic reports for increases over last year in bookings and sales. All businesses credit the great skiing and near-record snowfalls for attracting visitors this year. Additionally, a number of businesses noted an increase in Canadian and U.K. visitors as a contributor to increases in Mt. Washington Valley tourism this winter over last year. When asked about early indicators for summer travel, cautious optimism was expressed. In fact, a recent nationwide survey of over 300 American travelers who booked at least one leisure trip in 2007, conducted by RUF Strategic Solutions on behalf of AIG Travel Guard, found that, in spite of the weak economy, 72 percent of those polled said that they are not cutting back on the amount of leisure trips they are taking in 2008. This bodes well for tourism in Mt Washington Valley.
Lodging properties unanimously weighed in to the survey noting increases in bookings over last year. Nellie Filip at the
Spruce Moose Loge and Cottages reported an slight increase in business over last year during February Vacation week,
yet also noted a 40-percent increase for January 2008 over 2007. Lyn Norris-Baker from the Inn at Ellis River also credited
snow and an increase in visitors from the U.K. as a contributor to bookings even with last year's February Vacation Week.
Miriam Habert, co-owner of the Bartlett Inn reported occupancy was up 17-percent and revenues were up 20-percent
over last year. Jerry Jacobson, General Manager of the Eagle Mountain House reported a 12.5-percent growth in
overall sales over 2007, attributing the increase to snow not only in our backyards but also in the backyards of
Bostonians. Don King at the Royalty Inn reported a 15-percent increase over 2007, also crediting the great skiing
conditions for a rise in demand for Mt Washington Valley vacations. Jason Robinson, Director of Marketing & Communications
for Mt Washington Valley Accommodations/ Eastern Slope Inn Resort & Attitash Mt Village Resort reported a 10-percent i
increase over last year, saying "The snow certainly gave guests the confidence to book early and also contributed to an increase in last minute bookings." Matt Massei, General Manager, Mount Washington Resort said "we have seen an increase in occupancy over the same time period in both months of January and February. With all the snow, we have seen a tremendous increase in participation in all the winter activities and amenities too."
Not surprisingly, ski resorts and XC centers weighed in with enthusiasm and reports of large increases not only for the February
Vacation Week, but for the whole winter. Thomas Prindle, Director of Marketing and Sales at Wildcat Mountain Ski
Area said, "prior to the February vacation, we were almost 100-percent ahead of last season looking at lift ticket
revenue." Prindle went on to say "this season has some great momentum and could prove to be one of Wildcat's best."
Prindle credits increases there to not only the great snow conditions but an increased online presence making use of many
interactive online outreach vehicles including videos, podcasts, and advance lift ticket sales on Liftopia.com. Howie Weymss,
General Manager at Great Glen Trails noted an increase in revenues over 2007 in 2008. He also commented
that there's been no apparent decrease in spending, in fact customers are spending more due to the increased
snow this year. Liz York at Black Mountain reported a 17-percent increase in sales in 2008 over 2007, noting that
the ski school was filled to capacity too. Chris Ellms, Bretton Woods Director of Ski Operations at Mount Washington Resort said
"this season Bretton Woods has had a record November, record December, and record January, in terms of both skier
visits and revenue, and we're about even for February compared to last year, which was a record February." He added,
"the Bretton Woods Nordic Center has been going gangbusters with all the snow this season, and has seen an
increase in family participation."
Most retailers, although not all, reported business increases too. Peter Edwards, co-owner of Zeb's General Store credited the snow and great skiing attracting more visitors to the Valley which contributed to the 8-percent increase the store posted in 2008 over 2007 for February vacation week. Dot Seybold, General Manager of Settlers' Green Outlet Village and Settlers' Crossing noted that while not all sales were in but tenants were smiling indicating they had a good week. Dot said "While the skiing was great, bargain hunting at Settlers' Green was the afternoon activity of choice for visitors." Dot noted a large population of Canadian shoppers over February Vacation week too. Yet, for retailers, the snow is a mixed blessing, as Dot commented saying "The skiing is fantastic and it's bringing in a lot of happy visitors, but bad weather keeps shoppers home until it's over. The big snow storms are a clean up nightmare leaving people less time to do the things they love, like shopping." Sean McFeeley, Manager
Of the Framed Art Outlet concurred with Dot, saying the snow kept some people from coming up, plus the people who did come up, went skiing, not shopping. The Framed Art Outlet did not post increases in sales for the 2008 February Vacation Week.
When asked about early indicators for summer travel to Mt Washington Valley, Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members offered mixed responses. Nellie Filip at Spruce Moose Lodge and Cottages reported a 60-percent increase when comparing future bookings in February 2008 to February 2007. Jason Robinson at Mt Washington Valley Accommodations believes business will remain steady, and even forecasts a slight increase. Matt Massei, General Manager at Mount Washington Resort noted "We see a lot of families, so for this summer we are continuing to increase our family programming," noting that the golf course restoration planned for completion this summer and the new spa and conference facility slated to open in December is adding to guest excitement. However, other lodging owners were guarded in predictions. Jerry Jacobson at Eagle Mountain House said "The good news is I believe people will keep coming to the Mt. Washington Valley; however, I think the radius from which tourist will travel from to get here will shrink."
Thomas Prindle believes expanding the new Zip Rider ride at Wildcat will help to increase revenues for summer operations at the resort. He said "Wildcat has always been an affordable means for year-round recreation and a tightening economy will find the general touring consumer seeking value when vacationing." Howie Weymss, GM at the Mount Washington Auto Road commented on summer 08 saying "I see no down turn in interest. We may see a slightly different mix of people but we'll have a good summer if the weather is with us." Black Mountain is adding horseback riding to their repertoire of summer activities to attract warm weather visitors.
Dot Seybold summed up a prediction for Mt Washington Valley business in upcoming months by saying "There's a lot of uncertainty in the economy, but I am convinced that North Conway is fairly recession proof as we have so much to offer for all income demographics, plus outlet centers will be popular for bargain shoppers."
Even if the prediction that we'll see more snow in March than the rest of the winter combined isn't true, one thing is certain. Mt Washington Valley will have a fabulous spring skiing season, offering plenty of snow well into April and May at the Valley's ski resorts and XC Centers, followed by a stellar spring skiing season well into June in Tuckerman Ravine. For vacation planning resources and all the information needed for a great Mt Washington Valley getaway, visit http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org// or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for more information.