Mass. February Vacation Week 2010-- Business Wrap-Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 22, 2010
CONTACT: Siiri Grubb, 603-356-5701, firstname.lastname@example.org
Business ‘On Par' Despite Spring Like Weather
Uncooperative Mother Nature played a big factor in February Vacation Revenues
North Conway, NH: A survey of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) membership comparing Massachusetts February Vacation Week 2010 with 2009, revealed varying results to a generally successful vacation week. While responses were mixed, everyone agreed that lack of snow played a major factor in this year's February vacation week. While ski areas praised snowmakers, attributing their successful week to quality manmade conditions, other businesses reliant on natural snow were not so encouraged.
According to the MWVCC survey distributed on Sunday, February 21, 46.9 percent of the survey respondents reported that spending had either increased or stayed the same as last year. Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director at Wildcat Mountain commented, "[Wildcat Mountain was] only slightly off on ticket revenue and some of that was attributable to actually slightly fewer International School Groups that coincided with the vacation week. We did see some other departmental increases, so the week was good, but we weren't exceeding last season's numbers for the week."
Some businesses including Riverside Inn Bed and Breakfast, reported major increases in business over last year with a 20 percent increase over last years numbers. Additionally, Northern Extremes Snowmobiling, a business reliant on Mother Nature, commented that it was an excellent week given the current snow conditions. 53 percent of the survey respondents stated that the number of paying guests either increased or stayed the same during Massachusetts February Vacation Week 2010 as compared with 2009, with 36 percent of those respondents reporting an increase. Ken Lydecker, Housekeeping Supervisor at Riverside Inn Bed and Breakfast commented, "[This is our] second year open, and despite the economy and lack of snow for x-country skiing, people are traveling and finding us."
The survey wasn't all optimistic however, as businesses noted a tougher vacation week with consumers being more cautious with their spending. "We had to work harder this vacation week. Guests were not spending their money on the high end items," reported Terry O'Brien of the Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub. Additionally, a majority of businesses responding to the survey (57 percent) reported that lack of snow and less favorable weather conditions were major factors this vacation week. "The biggest factor in our decrease in business is the lack of snow. With the internet, snowmobilers realize there is not much snow south of Pittsburg, NH and the trail reports are marginal to good riding. People didn't realize Bear Notch Area had some of the best riding in the area," commented Peter Gagne of Northern Extremes Snowmobiling.
Ski areas attributed their successful vacation week to momentous snowmaking efforts to offset the lack of natural snowfall in 2010. "I have to place some blame on the fact that February, at least for the Mount Washington Valley, has not been a banner month for natural snowfall. If it was not for the hard work of our snowmakers and groomers, it may have been trouble, but conditions remained great for the week and continue to be so," commented Thomas Prindle, Marketing Director at Wildcat Mountain.
However, despite the lack of snow, visitors flooded into Mt. Washington Valley last week. Siiri Grubb, Communications Manager of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce reported that traffic throughout vacation week was heavy in Mt. Washington Valley and inquiries for lodging accommodations and activities rang in steadily in the weeks leading up to vacation week. "We know people were here," commented Grubb "as traffic was backed up heading into North Conway Village for most of the week." Grubb continued, "We also received a report from David Bernier, Superintendant of the North Conway Water Precinct, noting that vacation week had record levels of water consumption. This is another indication that visitors definitely came our way." According to the report from the North Conway Water Precinct, Tuesday and Wednesday of Massachusetts February Vacation Week were record days for the largest water consumption levels since the new system has been installed with 729,000 gallons of water used on Tuesday, and another 752,000 gallons of water used on Wednesday.
According to the survey, of the 35 percent of lodging respondents, 23.4 percent reported that room occupancies either stayed the same or increased over last year's vacation week, with 17.6 percent of lodging businesses reporting that paying guests increased over last year. The 1785 Inn reported that their restaurant and lodging business was up a bit over last year, which they attributed to the economy finally starting to improve.
When asked what changes respondents observed for Massachusetts February Vacation Week 2010 versus 2009, 41 percent of respondents said they welcomed fewer international travelers, while more than half of the respondents noted that they welcomed more families and groups. "We saw more large groups trying to dine out together. Perhaps there was more sharing of condos by several families. We heard many guests talk about doing more than just skiing, as skating and tubing were mentioned often," noted Terry O'Brien of the Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub.
In general, businesses seemed cautiously encouraged with Massachusetts February Vacation Week, and attributed any downshift in business to the lack of much needed snow and nagging economic conditions; 80 percent of survey respondents commented that lack of snow was a factor this vacation week. Terry MacGillivray, Owner of Fryeburg Snowmobile Rentals, commented "Our business was cut in half from last year. If we had not moved up to open trails in Gorham we would not have been open at all." Other businesses echoed the sentiment that lack of snow was bad for business this year, however, despite the uncooperative temperament of Mother Nature, sales, especially among the retail stores and restaurants seemed to be on par if not better than last year.
After a largely successful Massachusetts February Vacation Week, Mt Washington Valley businesses are looking forward to welcoming more visitors for this week's New Hampshire February Vacation Week. Although New Hampshire February Vacation Week is typically slower than its Massachusetts counterpart, the prediction of snow early in the week has businesses and Valley residents excited.
Looking forward to spring with a plethora of spring skiing, competitions and valley events, 50 percent of the survey respondents forecasted that sales will either increase or stay the same as last year for the upcoming April vacation week.
Yet, most businesses reported that April Vacation is not typically as busy as February Vacation and with the tight economy, businesses remain cautious. Survey respondents noted that visitors are looking for the best deals and money saving offers to get the most out of their vacation funds. In fact, 35 percent of the survey respondents predict that business will decrease over last year's spring season, and many concur that it's just too early to predict, according to the MWVCC survey.
The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce will continue to entice visitors with wallet-saver midweek ski packages and look forward to the spring season with midweek golf packages and promotions. For more information about these packages, vacation planning resources or on visiting Mt Washington Valley , visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364).
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