Businesses Report Changes In Vacation Schedules Boosted Prez Week
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 8, 2011
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NH AND MA VACATION WEEKS BLEND INTO ONE VACATION PERIOD RESULTING IN INCREASES OVER PAST YEARS FOR SOME MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES
North Conway, NH - Many Mt Washington Valley businesses reported increases over last year for February Vacation weeks, according to an informal survey distributed by the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce this week. Most attributed the increases to a schedule change for many New Hampshire school districts, moving the NH vacation week into the same time as other New England states. The result was an increase during President's Week, but a decrease in business during the traditional NH vacation week which used to follow President's week. Overall, the majority of the businesses reporting to the survey shared that February was strong for lodging, shopping, dining and attractions businesses in the Valley, although snow storms throughout New England grounded some vacationers during this week.
Don Bilger, owner of Inn at Jackson, Whitney's Inn and the Shovel Handle Pub reported that his lodging properties had more advance reservations this year, reversing a trend from past years. According to Bilger, "The restaurant business was up 20% based on a higher guest count and higher average per ticket".
Ron Krieger at The Seasons Condominium Resort shared that the property was up nearly 9 percent for the President's Vacation Week, yet down significantly (54 percent) for the following week, traditionally called New Hampshire vacation week. Krieger shared "With the majority of "New Hampshire week" schools sharing the "Massachusetts week", the MA school vacation week was in higher in demand then previous years". Yet weekends on both sides of the vacation weeks were strong for The Seasons, which resulted in a successful month overall for the condominium resort, according to Krieger. Tom Spaulding, GM at Hampton Inn & Suites weighed in saying he was even with last year because both years were sell-outs. Along with other lodging and attractions business, Spaulding agreed that the weekend snow storms hindered visitors getting to the Valley, and affected business during the two-week vacation period. Laura Gorman of Tanglewood Motel & Cottages reported a strong President's week, as one family rented their cottage during entire week.
Peter Gagne at Northern Extremes Snowmobiling felt it was an excellent President's vacation week, despite less business during the week after. Overall, he reported business up 10 percent over last year for the two week period. The ski areas reported the challenge of weekend storms on both sides of the President's Week, but were generally happy with business. Thomas Prindle, Director of Marketing at Wildcat Mountain told us "The President's vacation week of this season is not easily compared to last because the majority of Massachusetts and New Hampshire schools' vacation periods aligned to occur on the same week. Aside from the one week period of February 19th to the 26th beginning and ending with some challenging weather conditions for both Saturdays, we had strong numbers and revenue that could have easily been higher had it not been for weather affecting business levels." He then added "The NH Vacation week was surprisingly stronger than expected when you consider that many of the New Hampshire schools had vacationed the week prior on top of the Massachusetts vacation week. With great conditions and significant snow that fell and allowed us to be 100% open for most of last week, we were pleasantly surprised with better than expected skier visits." The Mt Washington Valley XC Ski and Snowshoe Center welcomed 881 people for the annual Chocolate Festival the last weekend in February, and all-time record, according to Rob Nadler of Ragged Mountain Equipment. Other ski resorts weighed in saying that customers spent more on ski school, food and beverage and ski shop purchases in 2011 compared to 2010.
Reports from retailers were mixed. The winter's heavy snow and the Chocolate Festival sent customers to Ragged Mountain Equipment where sales were "way up" over last year, according to Rob Nadler. Yet, sales were off a bit from The Penguin's record year in 2010 due to where the holiday week fell. "Last year vacation week fell over Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is the day for giving gifts, so all those last minute shoppers bought their gifts here," observed store owner, Lynda Schuepp.
Dining establishments were generally happy with the two vacation weeks too. Elvio De Cilla, owner of Elvio's Pizza, reported a 5 percent increase in sales over 2010 for the President's week, and a 25 percent increase in sales for the subsequent week. Linda Rafferty of Rafferty's Restaurant and Pub noted an increase in business over last year during President's Week, and Thursday was a record breaker for the restaurant. Rafferty also noted that the Cinco de Marzo Chilly Chili stroll was a great way to end the two week period. Ken Donabedian of Pricilla's Country Kitchen noted the President's week was even with last year, but the second "New Hampshire Vacation Week" was up 20 percent over last year, speculating that because the restaurant was filled with people from New Hampshire, people were less worried about spending money on gas and therefore spent more eating.
Given the weather challenges and the change in schedule for many New Hampshire schools, Mt Washington
Valley businesses were generally pleased with the two-week vacation period. For more information on business trends and vacationing in Mt Washington Valley, please visit http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org/ or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364). For more information about New Hampshire including digital images, visit the New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism website at http://www.visitnh.gov/.
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