Businesses throughout Mt Washington Valley offer mixed reports for Christmas Week, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 3, 2011
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, firstname.lastname@example.org
CHRISTMAS WEEK/NEW YEAR'S EVE HELD MIXED BAG FOR MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES
Varied responses from businesses to survey about holiday week in Mt Washington Valley
North Conway, NH - The responses went from low to high extremes from businesses who responded to an informal survey from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce about the holiday vacation week. While a threatening blizzard caused cancellations for some lodging properties, the resulting snow meant a boon for business in the northern most parts of Mt Washington Valley. Retailers reported strong sales over the vacation period and many businesses offering recreation from skiing to dogsledding weighed in with record sales. Overall, those reporting to the survey felt Christmas Vacation Week/New Year's weekend was strong.
Peter Gagne of Northern Extremes Snowmobiling reported he was happy with the Christmas Week, despite a lack of snow in all but the Northern parts of the Valley. His company transported guests to Bretton Woods, which received close to three feet of snow at the beginning of the vacation week. While business was down compared to last year, he was happy there was snowmobiling available in the Bretton Woods region and could accommodate those interested in going. Similarly, Terry MacGillivray of Northeast Snowmobile Rentals reported that while trails were unavailable in Fryeburg, they were able to accommodate customers on the trails in Gorham. For both companies, the warmer weather on New Year's Eve weekend hurt business, yet snowmobilers still came out to enjoy the trails. Susan Logan of the Conway Scenic RR shared her impressions of the vacation week noting a 100% increase in business over last year. Logan said, "This was the first time in our 36 years that we were open at this time of year, and hundreds of families visited and enjoyed our old-fashioned railroading experience. First Class cars regularly sold out, customers were spending money over the vacation week". Logan noted a strong share of U.K. visitors rode the Conway Scenic RR during the week. Record snowfalls in Bretton Woods and Jefferson, NH contributed to a 50 percent increase in business for Muddy Paw Dog Sled Adventures for the Christmas week. According to Karen Tolin & Neil Beaulieu owners of Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, "We reached full capacity on three days and for the first time on our history had to turn away reservation requests," at most of their dog sledding locations. They were fully booked at all three locations for New Year's weekend, and observed an increase in travelers coming to the Valley with pets.
While many of the ski resorts received snow at the beginning of the vacation week, warmer temps over New Year's Weekend made it tough for XC Centers. Yet, skiers came out in crowds to enjoy time on the slopes. Kathy Bennett, Director of Marketing at Cranmore Resort shared, "We had several days of record breaking revenue during the vacation week across all lines of business, including our children's lesson programs, thanks to our new Arlberg Children's Center". She followed up by mentioning, "By doubling our snow gun arsenal and revamping our snow making system, our snowmakers were able to provide great snow surface conditions on top of the foot of snow we received at the beginning of the holiday week". Additionally, record numbers of riders took to the new Mountain Coaster with thousands riding daily during the week, according to Bennett. Thomas Prindle, Director of Marketing at Wildcat Mountain, shared that the holiday week was good considering it started off with a Nor'Easter weather event that delayed the start of vacation plans for some and contributed to lift wind holds across New England for ski resorts. Prindle explained, "When favorable weather did move in and progressed to "spring-like" conditions, business levels were very strong and parking lots were full at Wildcat Mountain for the latter part of the week Wednesday through Saturday and not far off from numbers seen last season, even with the storm's impact on the early part of the week".
A number of lodging properties experienced cancellations due to the forecasted blizzard, yet most recovered during the week. Charlene Brown of the Farm by the River B&B and Stables reported that they were full all but one night of the vacation period and that there was high demand for sleigh rides, especially after the snowfall early in the week. Ken Lydecker of the Riverside Inn reported a five percent increase over last year, attributing early week snowfall to bringing XC skiers to enjoy the trails by the inn. Lydecker explained, "Guests were pleased with the weather, the many things to do from North Conway fireworks to Great Glen skiing, to Bretton Woods canopy tours". Tom Spaulding, VP Hampton Inns of New England and General Manager of the North Conway Hampton Inn & Suites reported that while the hotel received a number of cancellations with the adverse weather forecast at the beginning of the holiday week, the week was even with last year. The hotel sold out for New Year's weekend too. He also was encouraged that it appeared that people were spending more and booking less discounted rooms as evidenced by an increase in average daily revenue for the hotel. Mary Ann Mayer of the Mt. Washington Bed & Breakfast in Shelburne reported that Christmas week bookings were up about 20-percent in 2010 over 2009, and attributed the increase in business to the snowfall in Northern New Hampshire bringing guests for outdoor winter adventure.
Retailers responding to the survey were cautiously optimistic with the results of the week. While the snow kept some away from the Valley for the early part of the vacation week, Lynda Schuepp of the Penguin Gallery in North Conway Village reported that the store welcomed a 20-percent increase in sales over the New Year's weekend. Rob Nadler of Ragged Mountain Equipment piped in with an enthusiastic report of a 37-percent increase over last year for the vacation week, observing that there were more people shopping in the Valley this year than last.
Overall, the majority of those responding to the Christmas Week/New Year's wrap up survey were generally optimistic while not overwhelmingly impressed with the outcome of the week. The majority responded that New Year's weekend was stronger than Christmas Vacation Week due to the more favorable weather. For more information about Mt Washington Valley tourism and travel, please visit http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org/ or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for more information.
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