Labor Day 2009 -- Business Wrap Up
A survey sent to Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members over the weekend revealed that Labor Day 2009 spending in Mt Washington Valley was up for 64.3 percent of respondents over 2008 for the weekend.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 8, 2009
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MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES CELEBRATE STELLAR LABOR DAY
After a lackluster summer, businesses applaud successful Labor Day weekend
North Conway, NH (9-8-09): A survey sent to Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members over the weekend revealed that Labor Day 2009 spending in Mt Washington Valley was up for 64.3 percent of respondents over 2008 for the weekend. More than 72.4 percent of the lodging properties who responded to the survey revealed that occupancy over the Labor Day 2009 weekend was also up over 2008. Concurrently, 71 percent of the restaurants, attractions and retailers concurred, disclosing a increase in paying guests in 2009 over 2008. The successful Labor Day weekend was a welcome change after Mt Washington Valley businesses faced economic and weather challenges throughout the summer. More than 76 percent of those responding to the survey said that paying guests decreased in summer 2009 over 2008 (summer is defined as June 21 - Labor Day).
Even with Labor Day occurring after school started this year, good weather brought people to Mt Washington Valley to enjoy outdoor activities. Many survey respondents credited the glorious weather to their increases in customers and spending.
Generally, survey respondents agreed that the wet weather in June and July coupled with continuing economic woes for travelers put a damper on the beginning of the summer. However, for many businesses, the warmer, sunnier weather in August meant an upsurge in business. "After a slow start, the summer has picked up speed and again," said Roderick Bartlett, General Manager of Red Jacket Mountain View Resort. Jessica Zorenko of the Cabernet Inn concurred, noting, "After experiencing eight weeks of rain and clouds, I think when the sun finally appeared, people realized that summer was about to come to an end so they had better do something fun before it was over."
Mt Washington Valley businesses used many different marketing approaches to attract travelers throughout the summer. "We have created a lot of packages that give our guests value and they have appreciated this," said Sheryl A. Doucet, General Manager Nordic Village Resort. "Anticipating the loss of revenue because of the economy, we did not lower our rates and our ADR has been higher than last year," finished Doucet. Tim Ostendorf, co-owner of the Inn at Crystal Lake commented "Overall, the numbers were about the same, but we did notice less families coming in to the restaurant and for over-night stays, than in the past. We also went from being open five nights a week to six for the restaurant, which helped make up some of the difference."
Roderick Bartlett of the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort credited the new Kahuna Laguna indoor water park with increases experienced over the summer. He shared "With a tough weather stretch starting off the summer and continuing through the end of the second quarter 2009, we were able to bounce back towards the end of July which got us off to a good start for the third quarter. Summer mid-weeks have been softer than 2008, but weekends have been strong. We have certainly felt the effects of the economy and adapted to our economic environment by creating special rates and packages...We have done well in an otherwise down summer season and we are thankful for the solid relationships we have with our repeat guests and the allure of our new Kahuna Laguna Indoor Water Park."
Other lodging properties shared comments about the summer season too. "We noticed that families only stayed two or three nights instead of a week like last summer," said Richard LeFave, owner of Old Red Inn and Cottages. Jessica Zarenko of the Cabernet Inn continued to observe "Though the 2009 summer season wasn't as good as 2008, it wasn't too bad....we noticed less international and Canadian travelers, more one night stays in less expensive accommodations, tons of deal seekers and the majority of the bookings were all last minute". The MWVCC survey showed 41 percent of businesses noticed a decrease in international visitors and 31 percent noted a decrease in Canadian visitors. The trend toward less international visitors mirrored an overall decrease in international travel to all parts of the United States. In May, 2009, the Department of Commerce announced a 12 percent decrease in international visits and a 6 percent decrease in Canadian visitors to the U.S. over last year, with an overall spending decrease by international visitors of 22 percent in 2009 over 2008.
Spokespeople from the attractions community added comments about the summer season. "Our number of groups in 2009 was roughly the same as in 2008; the headcounts, however, are lower with fewer motorcoaches arriving full," said Susan Logan of Conway Scenic Railroad. She continued to say "All the rain in June and July did not hurt us. Business has been essentially flat - which is the new "up"! We even saw a slight bump in family visits in July due to increased attendance at our Day Out With Thomas event," finished Logan. Tom Caughey, General Manager of Wildcat Mountain Ski Area weighed in too, saying "We were directly affected by the wet weather of June and July and the weekends in August with tropical storms Bill, and Danny". He continued to say "When the weather was nice, we were up in revenue and visitors however our overall season is not as strong as summer 2008" Caughey reminded us that "The best part of scenic travel season is coming up over the next several weeks with fall foliage."
Genn Anzaldi at J-Town Deli shared they had more repeat customers this year who spread the word by bringing in friends to experience the great food. Natalie Spak, co-owner of the Oxford Inn noted "Families were taking simpler vacations, i.e. canoe trips instead of Disney World. The rainy weather caused less outdoor bar-b-quing, increasing dinner business for the inn".
If traffic was an indication, people were definitely shopping at Settler's Green Outlet Village over Labor Day weekend. The parking lots were full and overflowing into the streets, according to office personnel there.
As reports of recession relief trickle in and fall hues begin to peek through the trees, Mt Washington Valley businesses remain cautiously optimistic about the upcoming foliage season, Mt Washington Valley's most spectacular pageantry of color. The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce sent their Labor Day and end-of-the-summer survey out to chamber members on Sunday, September 6. More than a 10.5 percent response rate offers valid insight into business trends for the summer and its concluding Labor Day weekend. For more information on visiting Mt Washington Valley and complete vacation planning resources, visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364).
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