Why do we book a ski holiday? When do we book a ski holiday? How do we book a ski holiday? Who do we book a ski holiday with? Since we started running a luxury ski chalet company in 2003, we ask ourselves these questions every year. We are always asking ourselves; How do we improve, how do we push on, how do we market ourselves and how do we attract more guests. It's an interesting psychology, to which we have never really found the ‘perfect answer’.
Why do we book a ski holiday?
It’s fairly obvious and well written about (you just have to google that phrase).
It makes you feel good. It’s exciting. It’s something to look forward to. It’s a bit of control, it’s a structure and its planning towards something that you really want to do.
If you love skiing, you are going to book a ski holiday. If (for example) you love the culture of the French Alps, you’ll most likely book your holiday to France. If you prefer the Austrian gemutlichkeit you’ll probably book a ski trip to Austria.
Skiing is a sport, skiing is outdoor and active and exciting and adrenalin pumping. You have to like all that to be considered ‘a skier or a boarder’. Or you wouldn’t book a ski holiday…..
The Alps cater for that – the mountains, the terrain, the amount of km’s of piste, the endless off piste, the quality of the lift system, the speed of access, the ‘guaranteed’ snow, the restaurant selection, the apres ski – non of this we (Kaluma) can control. That’s the buyers decision.
So what can we control in this question – ‘why do we book a ski holiday?’
Some people don’t ski yet still want to come to the alps. So what attracts them (other then the mountains?). Accommodation? Hospitality? Service?
We can aspire to have the best product. We can have the most beautiful luxury chalets. We can offer the best, most comprehensive service, we can promise the best experience whether skiing or not skiing. We can look after you in our own unique way. All of which we strive to do at Kaluma Ski. We want to offer the best. To be the best and provide for the best…..We want all our guests to enjoy their best ever ski (or non ski) experience with us. We want it to be personal and put together so its exactly what ‘you want out of your holiday’.
When do we book a holiday?
I am sure many people have spent a lot of time and a lot of brain power and probably a lot of money observing booking patterns and algorithms, researching timings of bookings, early bookings, late bookings. Deciphering if it’s the cost, the psychology of a sale, a last minute availability or a crash price dump….or if you plan ahead, choose what you want, book what you want, get what you want. Are people incentivised by a ‘regular booking offer’, a returners discount, a ‘limited time offer’ or are regular guests so determined not to lose out on their chosen property, in their fav resort with their trusted service that they book a year in advance….
From all our research, again, there is no silver bullet answer….there is no buzzer beater….there is no holy grail of booking patterns. Put simply, there is no pattern to booking a ski holiday.
Yes – of course, there are spikes and dips in sales and they could form a ‘loose pattern’. Usually good sales at the end of a season for the following winter, dips in the summer months a bit when its hot and no one thinks about snow or skiing. Picks up end of August/start of September when the schools start back, holidays are over and people are looking for their next big holiday – which happens to be winter…..Slows down and dips again around December and can often pick up again with a flurry straight after New Year.
No doubt that is quite a common pattern for most ski companies and there will be theories as to what/why/when to look for some reasoning and justification.
However in complete defiance of that pattern and in mixing in with some of the suggestions mentioned above, we have some of best and biggest bookings come in the heart of summer, when the weather is at its hottest and everyone is on holiday…..but don’t forget there are many countries in this wonderful world who have their winter in our summer – so are already thinking of skiing. We have many international guests who book holidays to suit their own home countries holiday dates – and that’s the joy of a trusted and regular international clientele. The Australian and U.S holidays are different to the UK and European holidays. The Scandinavian holidays differ to the main European dates and the South American market offers another date check for great availabilities through the euro winter season.
We have a great demand for weekend skiing. We, Kaluma, are one of a very small handful of Chalet Operators who offer weekend / short / reverse weekend breaks. Its hugely popular with our corporate ski market, as well as regular ‘ski groups’ who only come for 3 or 4 days skiing. Such is the demand and the desire for short breaks and in particular the corporate ski market that our weekends get booked up a year (or more) in advance. With not many chalet operators offering bespoke, luxury chalets for larger groups the need to book early is important!
How do we book a ski holiday?
The simple answer is on line or in person.
On line is ever popular as its so easy. If you know what you want, you can almost ‘click and collect’ your ski holiday. Great if you know what you want, where you want it, what you’ll get and how it will be….its fast, efficient and confirmed with a few clicks of your touchpad or smartphone. It’s the ease of consumerism. If it works for you – perfect. Maybe great also if you don’t know what you are looking for and you want a whole host of ideas and suggestions to suit your taste, budget, likes and dislikes – an on line agency is perfect for offering you as much choice to match the time you have to choose it!
You book in person, on a phone, speaking to a real person, or engage over e mail or even walk into a travel agency (remember them?!) and speak to someone face to face.
Ask a specialist to help you find the perfect property, use a regular agent/agency who knows your likes and dislikes to help book your ideal holiday or find the operator you most like holidaying with and enjoy the personal approach to making sure you have every aspect of your holiday covered.
You have quite a choice on how you book a holiday– and its very personal. What makes you book one way over another – again, I’ve researched and researched and read and discussed possible answers with a whole host of friends, colleagues, professionals, journalists, insiders, specialists and it’s a personal choice. No set answer, no right or wrong answer.
At Kaluma, we know, because we set it up this way, that we want to engage with our guests. You cant ‘click and collect’, you cant choose from a whole host of options, you can’t piece your holiday together on line – we want to speak with you, we want to put together your best ever holiday. We want to explain all the finer details so that your ski holiday experience with us is the very best it can be and is personal to you and your group. We have a good website that gives all the main details and presents our image. We have great specialists in our office who know the product and service better then anyone and who put together your trip and guide you through your holiday. We then have excellent concierge teams who ensure the whole trip is seamless from start to finish and we compliment that with our in resort teams who make sure they deliver on our promises.
That’s our decision and that’s our market place. Yes – it perhaps limits our scope of market size – but we’re ok with that. Maybe because in our own psychology of booking a ski holiday – we know we do it very very well. Maybe?
Who do we book a ski holiday with?
Everyone has their niche, everyone has their USP – its getting that message across that is the marketeers challenge for any company (not just a ski company). What makes one person book with one particular company over another? It’s the ‘ultimate question’. It’s the one we all want to have the golden ticket for, the front row seat for the perfect answer……
I think this question combines all of what is discussed above and a pinch of luck to get to your own answer….If you don’t get it right first time, you tweak it, move on, improve.
If you have never travelled with a company before and you are researching your trip, I know there will be more straight forward answers like; financial protection, size of the company, time in business, the size of portfolio, the service you receive etc….. and to me that boils down to TRUST.
If you have already travelled with a company before and you are prepared to book again and go again with that very same company it tells us that you have had a good time, enjoyed it, want more of the same and ultimately that you trust them to deliver that same amazing experience.
So my answer is TRUST.
Trust a company who offers a great product
Trust a company who has been in business for a long time
A company who has endured a few economic crashes, that Brexit thing, a worldwide pandemic and still pushes on with heads held high and does the right thing by their guests
Trust a company who has great reviews and many regular, returning guests
Trust a company who promises to give you the best experience to date
Trust a company with an international reputation, represented by a very international guest list
Trust a company who always wants to improve and always wants to offer more
Trust a company who is proud of who they are and what they do
See you on the slopes.