Mt Washington Valley businesses comment on February Vacation Weeks
News from Mt Washington Valley, NH – March 3, 2015
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-650-1741, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
SNOW OVER VACATION WEEKS: A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD
February Vacation Weeks wrap up from Mt Washington Valley businesses
North Conway, NH – Mt Washington Valley lodging properties and ski resorts responded to a survey sent over the weekend by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce with mixed reviews for the two vacation weeks in February. While skiing and outdoor adventure conditions were the best they’ve been in years due to recent snow, some businesses reported that the same snow grounded many Boston vacationers, requiring them to stay at home to attend to snow removal on driveways, parking lots and roofs. The general consensus among survey respondents was that President’s Week, which serves as a vacation week for most New England states, was weaker than last year for some but not all lodging properties, while the following week (New Hampshire school vacation week) was better and on par with last year. Of course, the feedback varied from business to business with some reporting sales increases for both vacation weeks.
A number of lodging properties weighed in with comments about the two vacation weeks with plenty of enthusiasm. Steve Lambert, innkeeper at the Bernerhof Inn, sent word prior to the survey that the Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend was strong, observing that his guests got out of Boston just in time to enjoy the snow in the Valley. “We were up 25-percent in rooms with packages. The blizzard didn’t create any fall off, people actually extended on Sunday. Bostonians buckled down or got out of dodge in time!” commented Lambert. He also shared that the dining room and spa were a sold out both nights of the President’s Day/Valentine’s Day weekend.
Similarly, Richard and Susan LeFave, owners and innkeepers of the Old Red Inn and Cottages in North Conway, reported an 11-percent increase in revenues for the President’s vacation week, commenting that it might have been higher if it weren’t for airline cancellations due to the snowstorms. The following NH vacation week was on par with last year for the inn. Both innkeepers speculated that people wanted to get out of Boston to enjoy the snow, not deal with it, and the second vacation week was better week for travel.
Frank Guerriero, Director of Marketing Eastern Slope Inn Resort and Attitash Mountain Village Hotel and Suites, reported that both vacation weeks were up over last year for bookings/sales. In explaining trends this year, Guerriero explained, “Spending was up, as consumer travel costs have decreased and consumer credit and spendable income witnessed steady growth trends in 2014. Canadian traffic spiked this year versus last, due to enhanced targeting initiatives. Snow has had a profound impact, inspiring vacationers to region and the Mount Washington Valley to enjoy some of the best skiing and riding conditions in a decade. The Consumer Price Index dropped significantly for gasoline, down 18.7% for January”. Clearly all of these factors played into visitors’ decision making and vacation plans.
Charlene Browne, co-owner and innkeeper at the Farm by the River Bed and Breakfast with Stables reported that both vacation weeks were on par with last year at the inn. She reported that sleigh rides were brisk and busy at the Stables, and that despite cold weather people braved the temps to enjoy sleigh rides during both vacation weeks. Browne also noted an increase in visitors from New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine during the two vacation weeks.
Conrad Klefos, General Manager of the Royalty Inn in Gorham, NH, explained that the President’s vacation week was down over last year by 14-percent, while the NH vacation week was even with last year. He heard from potential visitors from throughout New England that they were unable to travel during the President’s Week because they had to deal with snow removal at home. At the same time, a group that traditionally comes from the U.K. in February doubled in size this year, so demand for the Valley’s skiing was clearly high.
A number of hotels and inns responded to the survey but asked that their comments not be shared. The consensus among this group was that the snow in Boston impacted both vacation weeks sales, especially during the President’s vacation week.
Three ski resorts weighed in with similar feedback. Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing at Cranmore Mountain Resort, said “Who would ever think too much snow would be a problem, but with Boston and the Seacoast being snowed in, our business levels were definitely impacted.” Deschenes reported that Cranmore finished the first vacation week about 10-pecent behind last year. However, the NH vacation week was stronger and on par with last year for both the mountain and the Adventure Park.
Thomas Prindle, Director of Marketing for Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, had similar feedback. “President’s week started off softer than expected in terms of skier visits considering the great conditions we were offering, but we did begin to pick up momentum later in the week,” said Prindle. “The New Hampshire vacation week was decent, as expected, and the most recent weekend seeing a very strong Saturday with visits up over 20-percent as compared to the same day the previous season,” he finished.
Both Deschenes and Prindle expressed optimism for the rest of the ski season given the fabulous snow conditions. With nearly 160 inches of snowfall at Wildcat and more than 100 inches at almost all of the Valley’s 13 ski resorts and XC Centers, ski season is expected to last well into April this year.
“Ski resorts and XC Center staffers typically wish for snow in the back yards of those who live in Boston almost as much as in their own backyards,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Clearly this year a little went a long way and a lot of snow impacted plans for some skiers who weren’t able to get out before the storm hit. The lucky ones left the snow behind and vacationed in Mt Washington Valley. We are poised for a fabulous end to the ski season here in the Valley with enough snow to last well into April,” finished Crawford.
For more information on planning a skiing or winter vacation in Mt Washington Valley, NH visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). To plan a New Hampshire getaway, visit www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photos available upon request. Contact Marti Mayne at PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org.