Mt Washington Valley businesses report strong 2014 summer and Labor Day holiday
News from Mt Washington Valley, NH – September 2, 2014
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, firstname.lastname@example.org
MT WASHINGTON VALLEY ENDS A ROBUST SUMMER SEASON WITH STRONG LABOR DAY
Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce survey shows summer and Labor Day up over last year for many Valley businesses
North Conway, NH – The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce conducted a post-Labor Day informal survey of membership and learned from responding businesses that Labor Day weekend topped off a very strong summer in the Valley. An increase in Canadian, European and Asian visitors, fabulous weather, new marketing strategies, and strong traveler sentiment were among the reasons offered for positive growth over last year. The unanimous response from businesses weighing in was that overall, the 2014 summer season was up over 2013, and that Labor Day weekend was either on par or exceeded last year for sales and traffic.
“We are happy to hear from so many members that a very strong summer season was topped off with a busy Labor Day,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “With a prediction for a gloriously colorful fall foliage season, we cautiously forecast continued growth over last year throughout the busy fall season for businesses throughout Mt Washington Valley,” finished Crawford.
The chamber heard positive news about the strong Labor Day weekend from campgrounds, B&Bs and hotels. Swans Falls Campground and Saco River Recreational Council a very strong summer at the campground and on the river; one of the best in years. Woodland Acres Campground weighed in saying that the summer ended up from last year too, crediting a new online reservation system with an increase in sales, and noting that most weekends were sold out.
Tanglewood Motel & Cottages also saw an increase this summer over last summer, crediting a website redesign for some of that growth.
Ken Lydecker at the Riverside Inn B&B expressed that he felt a number of factors lead to a strong summer and a 25-percent increase for the B&B, including their wheat-free focus, more Canadian visitors and great summer weather. Steve Lambert, innkeeper at the Bernerhof Inn B&B, shared that the inn had a 12-percent increase over last year for this Labor Day weekend and commented that their Babymoon Package drove business from Rhode Island and Boston.
Christopher Bellis, co-owner of Cranmore Inn Bed & Breakfast told the chamber that the inn was booked solid for Labor Day weekend both this year and last, but that people reserved their stays earlier to insure a room this year. He also observed that people seem more willing to travel this summer explaining, “We started strong in June, stayed steady in July and built up some business in August. People seem to be positive about the economy and their lives and therefore are willing to travel more.”
Gary Sullivan, owner and General Manager of White Mountain Hotel and Resort shared that in 2014 the resort has experienced an excellent summer season. “Our business for this summer was up overall,” said Sullivan, adding that “June was up 7-percent, and was very strong in the last two weeks; July was up 10-percent, and was strong across the board.” Sullivan added that the hotel saw a 13-percent increase in August, with marked growth in Canadian and European business, crediting new and better Internet marketing strategies for some of that increase.
We heard from a number of representatives from Mt Washington Valley’s attractions that business was up over last year for both summer season and Labor Day. The Mount Washington Cog Railway responded to the survey saying that overall summer 2014 business has seen a substantial increase over last season and is on track to be another record year. Labor Day sales were up 15-percent over last year at The Cog too.
Jack Mahaney, Assistant GM at Story Land said that traffic was up over last year for Labor Day weekend, due in large part to better weather and forecasts this year and the attraction of their new Roar-O-Saurus roller coaster.
Peter Gagne of Saco Canoe Rental Company reported that the outfitter had its best Labor Day in five years. “Business was up 20-percent over 2013,” explained Gagne. “We had a huge increase in Canadians and lots of day trippers. Overall, summer was excellent; despite the lack of heat it was much better than expected,” finished Gagne, noting that their new location was a hit with customers.
Becca Deschenes, Marketing Director at Cranmore Mountain Resort, shared that for Saturday and Sunday, park admissions for the Aerial Adventure and Mountain Adventure Parks were are up about 10-percent this Labor Day over the same period last year, and summer season was up 17-percent over last year. “I think weather has played a huge part in our business levels, along with our new partnership with White Mountain Attractions,” said Deschenes.
Similarly, Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director for Wildcat Mountain and Attitash Mountain Resort shared that both Attitash & Wildcat were up considerably in visits for the Labor Day holiday weekend as compared to the same long holiday weekend last year. According to Prindle, “Weather, of course, remains a major contributing factor to the success of our outdoor attractions, but I do believe that the ever-increasing digital market environment, with social photo and video content sharing mediums available to showcase the many experiential activities in the Mt. Washington Valley contributes to greater exposure.“ Prindle added that having had a strong Labor Day weekend, if weather favors the remaining weekend-only operations in the fall, the two resorts are in a good position for this summer/fall operating season to remain on par with last year, if not exceed it.
Susan Logan, Marketing Director at Conway Scenic Railroad, commented that favorable weather contributed to a slight increase in business over last year for this 2014 Labor Day weekend. Logan also noted that there were many Canadian visitors, especially from the province of Quebec. She also shared that while the train ride typically welcomes international visitors in the fall, over the last couple of summers, Conway Scenic Railroad is noticing more European visitors in the summer, and also a notable increase in of travelers from China and India.
Weighing in from the golf course, John Pawlak, Director Of Golf Operations at Omni Mount Washington Resort shared that rounds of golf were up 14-percent over last year for July and August, due to offering many junior golf programs including free lessons in May and “kids play free” in July, along with marketing slower times. He also noted that average spending at the course was up this year over 2013 too.
Often when the weather is conducive to outdoor adventure, retail activity sometimes suffers, but not this Labor Day weekend where retailers in North Conway Village responded with enthusiasm to the Labor Day survey. Deborah Jasien, owner of Fields of Ambrosia: BATH-BODY-AROMA, said that Labor Day sales were better than last year, and that summer sales were up over last year too.
Tim Psaledakis, owner of Jewelry by Timothy W. Psaledakis & Friends, told the chamber that the store saw an increase over last year in foot traffic and that sales were on par with last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend. Psaledakis also noted that sales for this summer were up over numbers from last summer, partly crediting a refurbished store as a contributor to strong sales.
Matt Fusco, Owner of The Rugged Mill reported that Labor Day Saturday sales were up 47-percent, Sunday sales were up 22-percent and Monday sales were down 38-percent. Overall store sales we were up 18-percent according to Fusco, who credits people spending more and a growing customer base for the Labor Day increase. Similarly, the store sales were up 24-percent in July and 9-percent in August.
Dot Seybold, General Manager at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village, told the chamber that just the right combination of weather and great sales at the stores over Labor Day resulted in a great wrap up to a strong summer at North Conway’s largest outlet mall.
When it comes to restaurants, Kevin Flynn, co-owner of the Snowvillage Inn, credited their Farm-to-Table focus for the restaurant with growth this Labor Day weekend. He also commented that increases in sales for both the summer and Labor Day weekend were fueled by both a rise in Canadian and European visitors looking for a unique experience and local flavor.
Looking forward to fall foliage season, optimism among Mt Washington Valley businesses is high. While weather dependent, many of those who responded to the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce’s survey conveyed that strong traveler sentiment is translating to more travelers taking more trips. This bodes well for the upcoming colorful fall season in Mt Washington Valley.
For more information about visiting Mt Washington Valley, including complete trip planning resources, visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org. To talk directly with a vacation planning concierge, call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). For more information on planning a visit to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photos available upon request. For access to the Mt Washington Valley photo gallery, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwvchamber/sets/.