Will This Recession Finally Kill the Ski Industry? Erna Low Says: No

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With the recession deepening and a big question mark looming over how tour operators will fare next winter, Erna Low has conducted several studies on why our clients changed their holiday habits. Where did we lose bookers? Where did we gain? Will skiers ski next winter in the light of economic uncertainty? The results are released today in the Erna Low Credit Crunch Report.


  •     How Erna Low fared last winter season
  •     Results of surveys on client base - why we lost and why we gained
  •     Study of notable trends
  •     Forecast for next season

With the recession deepening and a big question mark looming over how tour operators will fare next winter, Erna Low has conducted several studies on why our clients changed their holiday habits. Where did we lose bookers? Where did we gain? Will skiers ski next winter in the light of economic uncertainty? The results are released today in the Erna Low Credit Crunch Report.

The International Passenger Survey predicts that 2009 is likely too see the biggest negative growth for a considerable time and only the second fall in overseas holidays in over a decade (after 2008). However, from the recent studies conducted, Erna Low is confident that skiers will still find a way to keep skiing for years to come.

Notable changes in habit include: choosing less expensive departure dates; opting for self catering packages rather than a catered chalet holiday; a preference to self drive; heading for less expensive resorts with good quality accommodation. Due to Erna Low's extensive portfolio of accommodation in over 80 resorts worldwide, we are well equipped to offer clients great alternatives when economising on their ski holiday.

Key highlights of our '08/09 season survey showed that while Erna Low interestingly lost marginally more clients than were gained, the value of the holiday booked increased, providing a more profitable yield. With 45% of lost bookers blaming the financial situation for not taking a ski holiday, nearly a quarter of new bookers opted for Erna Low purely for price and excellent value of product. Several responses to our survey stated a move away from the more expensive package operators to Erna Low as a means to keep quality skiing in the recession.

'The current economic climate did change our plans and we took a self catering rather than hotel option - surprisingly we did find that self drive was very convenient, especially with a family. It was also a last minute decision encouraged by great snow conditions which meant we felt that the deals available were not too expensive,' says one happy client who almost decided against taking a ski holiday last season.

Looking at the winter season ahead, Joanna Yellowlees-Bound, CEO of Erna Low states: "Skiers have enjoyed excellent prices this season and have scooped up some considerable bargains but next year is going to be different, and skiers need to be aware of this. Last year the major tour operators and chalet companies did not see the crunch coming, and were badly burnt. They took large bed guarantees and they had to sell, come what may. The only way to do this was to slash their prices. Next season will be very different - greater caution amongst operators and far fewer bed guarantees will result in reduced capacity all round. But this isn't death to the next ski season - it's a simple case of good housekeeping to ensure survival."

Erna Low has many great tips to help skiers, their friends and families to ski this winter - without breaking the bank! Full results and money saving tips for savvy skiers can be found in the Credit Crunch Report as a download from the press centre on our brand new ski holiday website.

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Sappho Barkla
Erna Low
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