Christmas and New Year departure dates 2016 have been thrown into some confusion for the Winter 2016 as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are on a Saturday in December 2016. We explain how the ski holiday industry is getting around this issue.
In travel industry parlance (particularly regards chalets) the ‘changeover’ day is the day that guests are expected to leave and new guests are expected to arrive. Chalet operators will want to ensure that as far as possible every bedroom is occupied throughout the season without gaps in their reservation planning and given that the accepted holiday duration is 7 nights the easiest way to achieve this is to make sure that all guests arrive and leave on either a Saturday or Sunday. This then allows bookings to be dove tailed together ensuring maximum occupancy, efficiency and revenue.
New Year Ski Holidays in Megeve
For those chalet tour operators that also have an ATOL licence to enable them to include flights as part of their chalet holiday packages the fixed change-over day of either Saturday or Sunday also helps them to arrange contracts with their charter airline partners.
In a normal year a Saturday or Sunday changeover day suits everyone – chalet operators get to fill their properties without gaps and guests are happy to travel weekend to weekend as it best suits their work commitments and holiday entitlement. However, this season Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Saturday (Christmas Day and New Year’s Day on a Sunday). As guests would be very unlikely to want to travel on the key days of the festive period alternate changeover days were required. However, in dropping the normal weekend changeover days the ski holiday industry has opened Pandora’s Box. With so many possible combinations of stay durations available to the chalet operators over Christmas and New Year the ski holiday industry has ended up in something of a muddle. Choosing a chalet with the correct changeover days over Christmas and New Year to suit your specific needs has all become rather complicated this season.
Luckily we are here to help. With 25 years of experience and dealing with well over 150 different ski chalet operators covering all shapes, sizes and prices of properties we are uniquely placed to give a round up (as far as this is possible) on the differing changeover days offered for Christmas and New Year ski holidays this season. We look at 40 different chalet companies to spot the more common durations/changeover days on offer and explain the relative merits of each.
Christmas Ski Holiday changeover days
Saturday 17th – Monday 26th December (9 nights)
Ski Amis is one of only a few chalet companies offering a Christmas ski holiday which starts Saturday 17th December. This allows them to offer holidays of a 9 night duration (priced at their normal 7 night price) which end on Monday 26th December. Ski Amis offer cheaper priced chalet holidays in some of the best French ski resorts and represent great value, especially if you are driving out to the Alps. The dates above account for under 3% of the chalet market.
Sunday 18th – Monday 26th December (8 nights)
Just under 10% of the chalet holiday market, the most notable players being Club Med, Consensio, Mountain Exposure, Scott Dunn and YSE, are offering an 8 night Christmas duration from Sunday 18th to Monday 26th December. These companies offer flight inclusive chalet holidays from mid market to high end.
Monday 19th – Monday 26th December (7 nights)
Just over 10% of the market offer these dates. The most notable are Cimalpes, Tasty Ski and VIP Ski with the latter also including flights and transfers in their packaged holidays.
Tuesday 20th – Tuesday 27th December (7 nights)
35% of the market is offering Tuesday 20th to Tuesday 27th December and are those that ordinarily would have Saturday as their changeover day. These companies include: Alpine Action, Bramble Ski, Chardon Mountain Lodges, Le Ski, Mountain Rooms & Chalets, Neilson Ski, Ski Cuisine, Ski Olympic, Ski Val and Skiworld, and they cover the full price range with most holidays packaged with flights and transfers.
Wednesday 21st – Wednesday 28th December (7 nights)
Just 4% of the chalet market is offering this duration with companies including Purple Ski, TG Ski, Kaluma and Ski Hiver all with chalets available.
Friday 23rd – Friday 30th December (7 nights)
33% of the market is offering Friday 23rd to Friday 30th December and given the late arrival of the snow for the last two winter seasons one could argue that this later arrival for the Christmas period offers the best chance of good snow. Three days may not sound much but as the weather in the Alps can change very quickly during December arriving in resort on the 23rd rather than the 20th might make all the difference to the skiing conditions. The main holiday companies offering these dates are: Alpine Infusion, Fish ‘n’ Pips, HIP Hideouts, Inghams, Mark Warner, Meriski, Mountain Heaven, Ski Armadillo, Ski Blanc, Ski Esprit, Ski Famille and Ski Total.
Saturday 24th – Saturday 31st December (7 nights)
Although there are a handful of other smaller operators Ski Beat is one of the very few larger companies which are offering the standard Saturday to Saturday stay at Christmas. The later arrival will maximise the chances of best snow but arriving on Christmas Eve and returning back to the UK on New Year’s Eve may not be to everyone’s liking. Ski Beat offer very competitively priced chalet holidays (with flights and transfers included) to the main French ski resorts of the Espace Killy and Three Valleys ski domains. 5% of the market is offering the dates above.
New Year Departure Dates 2016 – Ending 01st – 04th Jan (60% of market)
This is where the fun begins! Most of the chalet holiday market (60%) is offering a 7 night stay over New Year.
20% of the market has chosen the dates Monday 26th to Monday 02nd January and these companies include: Cimalpes, Club Med, Consensio, Mountain Exposure, Scott Dunn, Ski Amis, Tasty Ski, VIP Ski and YSE. 37% of the market is offering Tuesday 27th to Tuesday 03rd January (Alpine Action, Bramble Ski, Chardon Mountain Lodges, Le Ski, Mountain Rooms & Chalets, Neilson Ski, Ski Cuisine, Ski Olympic, Ski Val and Skiworld). 2% of the market offers a 7 night stay from either Sunday 25th or Wednesday 28th December.
Longer New Year Ski Holidays: Ending 07th/ 08th Jan (40% of market)
18% of the market offers the Friday 30th December to Saturday 07th Jan (8 nights) and these companies include Fish ‘n’ Pips, HIP Hideouts, Inghams, Mountain Heaven, Ski Blanc and Ski Famille. However, the longer 9 night duration from Friday 30th to Sunday 08th Jan offered by the likes of Ski Esprit, Mark Warner, Meriski, Ski Armadillo and Ski Total may prove to be more popular. These 9 night duration holidays are beginning to be marketed at a 7 night price which makes them very good value. 16% of the market is offering these 9 night dates but there is a small 2% of the market that offers 9 or 10 night durations starting on either Thursday 29thor Friday 30th December. 6% of the market (the most notable being Ski Beat) offers a 7 night stay from Saturday 31st December to Saturday 07th January. However, arriving on New Year’s Eve may be too late for most.
Very Early January Ski Holidays: 4 – 11 nights
The 60% of chalet operators that offer a New Year holiday ending very early in January are then offering a short break holiday to get them back on track with the normal 7 night weekend to weekend duration holiday which would start on either Saturday 07th or Sunday 08th January. There are lots and lots of variations on the short breaks on offer during this period but the most popular dates and durations on offer are as follows:
Monday 02nd – Sunday 08th Jan (6 nights)
16% of the market: Club Med, Mountain Exposure, Scott Dunn, VIP Ski and YSE.
Tuesday 03rd – Saturday 07th Jan (4 nights)
22% of the market: Alpine Action, Mountain Rooms & Chalets, Neilson Ski, Ski Cuisine, Ski Val (Val d’Isere) and Skiworld.
Tuesday 03rd – Sunday 08th Jan (5 nights)
7% of the market: Chardon Mountain Lodges, Le Ski, Ski Olympic and Ski Val (St Anton)
Bramble Ski which is a large company offering a wide range of luxury chalets in Verbier, Lech, St Anton, Gstaad, Tignes and Zermatt are offering a 7 night holiday from Tuesday 03rd to Tuesday 10th January to coincide with the Russian New Year holiday period at the start of January. Consensio which is also aimed at the international luxury market is also offering a holiday to fit with the Russian New Year period. They have a great collection of luxurious chalets that are bookable for a 9 night holiday from Monday 02nd to Wednesday 11th January. Both companies then offer a short break from Tuesday 10th or Wednesday 11th to Sunday 15th January to get back on track with the normal weekend to weekend rotation of guest arrivals and departures. Together these two companies offer nearly 8% of the chalet market.
Have you got this far? Still confused?
See, I told you it was a bit complicated. To make life easy on yourself all you need to do is call us and tell us roughly what you are looking for in your ski holiday (budget, number of people in your party, type of resort and accommodation etc) and then also let us know if you have any dates that you are bound by. Perhaps you have a family Christmas planned at home with people to stay, or maybe you need to get children back to school in Early January. Just let us know these little issues and we will do the rest.
We have been dealing with the ski holiday market (especially chalets) for 25 years and know exactly what will work and what will not work for you. So don’t tie yourself in knots trying to work out which Christmas or New Year departure dates 2016 suit you best – instead let us do all the figuring out for you. Alternatively why not make a great start by viewing all our Christmas chalet holidays or our New Year chalet holidays here.