Here at Alpine Answers we like to keep tabs on the latest trends and tendencies in the chalet market and after all the festivities one of our highest priorities was to see whether there were many beds left to sell across the Alps.
We work with a huge number of chalet operators and collate availability for more than a thousand properties of various quality and size, which gives us a good idea of what is out there and helps our clients to make the right decisions and avoid disappointment.
The table below shows how booked up each of the remaining weeks of this season are. Data collated on 31st December 2012.
January Departure weeks
This season many people organised their parties early, booking their chalet well in advance. This resulted in almost 80% of January beds being sold by the end of December – an unprecedented high figure. Perhaps this can be attributed to some growing confidence in the UK economy but undoubtedly the amazing snow falls from the very start of the season have played a major role here.
Over the course of this last month big groups have struggled to find much choice, especially when looking for holidays packaged with flights from the Northern UK airports. However, there were some great deals in January, the cheapest period of the season so far being the 19th/20th January departure week with prices plummeting as low as £229 per person (catered chalet with flights and transfers). However, these prices were rare – and the chances of bagging last minute beds this cheap were not high.
The main UK Half Term week (16th – 23rd Feb 2013) is very busy but some operators with remaining beds and flights have started to discount so there are actually some great deals up for grabs. The week starting 09th/10th February was originally priced very steeply (many tour operators assumed it was a popular UK school half term week) and as a result was only 60% full by the beginning of January. The low popularity to travel on this week has now created some massive discounts for this period. Those parents that do have children with this half term week are in luck if they are looking for a last minute getaway to the Alps or North America.
March Departure weeks
March weeks have not been discounted yet but from the beginning of February we will start seeing some reduced prices for these weeks. Bearing in mind that over 50% of March beds were sold during the last 4 weeks big groups can’t be too picky and must book on the spot when they come across something they like. For families looking to ski over Easter the latter of the two Easter weeks starting 06th/07th April is relatively under sold at this point in time. Perhaps there will be some late deals to be had for this week. Although please remember that the higher, more snow sure, resorts will always get booked out early.
Next Winter season 2013/14
Just out of interest I had a look on the next season’s enquiries and was surprised to find out that we have already been contacted by over a 100 separate party leaders with their 2014 requirements. So it’s certainly not too early to start seriously thinking about your next perfect white Christmas or happy New Year holiday!
Unless you are just two people living near London who don’t care what room you stay in, and have absolutely no preference on which resort to go to the lesson to learn from the above statistics is to book in advance. You should also bear in mind that small independent ‘accommodation only’ chalet operators can’t compete on late deal prices with the larger package holiday tour operators who cut their prices in order to sell their committed flight seats. Therefore when booking late it never works out cheaper to buy flights in advance and wait for an ‘accommodation only’ late deal. Of course there are advantages in booking with a smaller (accommodation only) chalet company - higher quality service from more motivated staff; better chalet cooking using higher grade ingredients and superior chalet furnishings. It’s just that price, on a last minute booking basis, is not one of those advantages.
If you are looking for advice on any of our chalets or hotels please get in touch as we are here to help. Call us: 020 7801 1080 and speak to one of the sales team. Or visit our website: www.alpineanswers.co.uk