Businesses report strong Memorial Day sales in Mt Washington Valley, NH
News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – May 26, 2015
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
WEATHER, GAS PRICES CITED AS REASONS FOR GREAT MEMORIAL DAY IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY
Businesses celebrating increases over last year for Memorial Day Weekend
North Conway, NH – In an informal survey distributed by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, businesses throughout the Valley reported strong traffic and sales increases for Memorial Day 2015 compared to last year. While last year’s dismal Memorial Day weather forecasts and rain had a negative impact, this year’s warm, sunny forecast had a positive influence of equal proportions. “It’s amazing how much of an influence the weather has on tourism in Mt Washington Valley,” commented Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Vacations plans are made or broken over weather forecasts, and we were grateful for the prediction for warm sunny days over Memorial Day this year. We feel this, along with lower gas prices and strong traveler sentiment, contributed to a successful start to the summer,” Crawford finished.
Lodging properties reported strong increases not only in bookings but revenues over the Memorial Day weekend. Steve Lambert, Innkeeper at Bernerhof Inn, told the chamber that the inn was up 20-percent over last year both in dining in the Black Bear Pub and lodging. He attributed the increase to Providence and Boston guests who stayed multiple nights to take advantage of attending the inn’s Taste of the Mountains Cooking School.
Donna Pearce, owner of the Admiral Peary Inn shared that the weekend was either up or even (depending on the days) and that she hosted many Canadians on their way to Old Orchard Beach.
Similarly, Christopher Bellis, co-owner of the Cranmore Inn in North Conway reported an increase in revenues of 25-percent over last year, also mentioning that the weekend was sold out at his inn with guests primarily from Northern New England.
Conrad Klefos of the Royalty Inn informed the chamber that revenues were up 14-percent over last year, crediting the opening of ATV Trails in the area this weekend.
Many of the attractions and summer recreation opened to a banner weekend. Mike Rennie, Food and Beverage Director at Cranmore Mountain Resort reported a 62-percent increase in food and beverage sales, explaining that this year’s weather good weather and lower gas prices certainly helped to contribute to the increases at the Adventure Park. Becca Deschenes, Marketing Director at Cranmore Mountain Resort also chimed in reporting an 80-percent increase in admissions over last year’s holiday weekend for Saturday and Sunday, and a 172% increase in admissions for the park’s combo pass over the weekend, which includes access to both the Mountain Adventure Park and Aerial Adventure Park. “I think the weather played a huge role and after what seemed like a very long winter; it got people excited to be outside and for the warmer months ahead,” said Deschenes.
Jonathan Rivers Owners Indian Mound Golf Club in Ossipee also shared that the weekend was encouraging after back-to-back winters of extensive damage. “We are so far ahead of conditions, which were all off last year; we’re booking for the summer way ahead of last year at the same time,” said Rivers. “We look forward to a great golf season and we are positive the Greater Ossipee area with have a great season!”
After last year’s Memorial Day weekend was the worst one ever for Saco Canoe Rental Company, owner Peter Gagne shared his enthusiasm for a large increase this year over 2014, with a 100-percent increase in guests for Sunday. “People are very excited about playing on the river this summer,” said Gagne. “They can’t wait to get into the water. This weekend’s record breaking heat had people coming to the area earlier. Business will be up after a bad spring season last year,” finished Gagne.
By mid-day Sunday, and not including additional visits for the new ZipTour, Attitash Mountain Resort had exceeded total visits for the entire three-day Memorial Day Weekend the previous year, according to Thomas Prindle, Director of Marketing. "It is fair to say it was far better than last year‘s holiday weekend," said John Lowell, President of Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain. "Weather was favorable for visitors to enjoy the attractions at Attitash, we're excited to have the ZipTour operating for this summer and the strong Memorial Day Weekend is a great way to start off the season."
After rainy weather impacted sales and park attendance at Story Land each day of the Memorial Day weekend last year, this year the sunny weather brought more visitors to the park. Jack Mahany, Assistant GM at Story Land, reported that the park was up substantially from last year in both attendance and spending.
Jim Miller, Marketing Director at Santa’s Village told the chamber “We had a very good Memorial Day weekend, right on target with our expectations. With the sunny skies both Saturday and Sunday, and then the warmth to go with it on Sunday, we had a good number of families here sharing the joy.” Santa’s Village’s new You Tubing ride made its debut this weekend.
A few restaurants responded to the Chamber’s informal survey. Terry O’Brien, Owner, Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub reported nearly a 10-percent increase in dinner sales for Saturday night, and a 1-percent decrease for Sunday night, noting a fewer number of Canadian visitors and an equal number of families as in past years.
Kevin Flynn, who reports in as “Chief Bottle Washer and Philosopher” yet is truly the co-owner of the Snowvillage Inn and Max’s Restaurant, reported a 35-percent increase in dining sales for Max’s Restaurant over last year’s Memorial Day weekend. Describing his experience as “slow food”, Flynn commented, “The Chamber and Valley Originals have done a great job with their foodie promotions. People are looking for a dining experience rather than an eat-and-run night. There are many great restaurants that fill this need for our visitors.”
Carol-Ann Dahlmeyer from Bagels Plus also reported sales were “significantly better” this year than last year. She noticed an increase in hikers and international visitors at her restaurant this holiday weekend.
The good weather even brought out shoppers. Bill Crone, Owner, Aardvark Woodworking, exhibited at the Gibson Senior Center’s craft sale, and reported that sales were up about 4 to 5-percent, with many people buying items for themselves instead of for others.
Laura Tuveson, Marketing and Events Assistant at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village reported that the parking lots were busy and there was a solid amount of volume at Settlers' Green over the four-day stretch, including a strong Friday leading into the three-day weekend. She told the chamber that stores were generally reporting sales were even with last year’s Memorial Day weekend.
When asked about their predictions for the summer, all businesses responding to the survey were optimistic with a caveat about increases being weather dependent. Steve Lambert explained that he is forecasting that the summer will be up 20-percent over last year for the Bernerhof Inn due to prebooking sales. In fact the Bernerhof’s European and domestic guests have have already gobbled up 60-percent of available occupancy for fall foliage months. Donna Pearce reported that many weddings throughout the summer will fully-book the Admiral Peary House, and Christopher Bellis shared that he and his partner are forecasting a busy July, August and foliage season this year too. Likewise, Mike Rennie forecasts close to double-digit increases for food and beverage at Cranmore Mountain Resort, but contends that his prediction is completely weather dependent.
Those interested in booking summer and fall foliage vacations should make reservations now while a wide choice of room availability is still present. To plan the perfect summer or fall foliage vacation, visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). To plan a New Hampshire getaway, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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