Most Mt Washington Valley businesses report strong Memorial Day
Good news from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – May 29, 2018
Contact: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES WEIGHED IN WITH MOSTLY POSITIVE REPORTS FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
Retailers and indoor attractions benefited from weather
North Conway, NH – Despite forecasts from AAA and regional and state tourism officials for an increase in visitors to New Hampshire for the Memorial Day weekend, businesses reporting to an informal survey from the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce reported mixed results. However, with increases over last year’s Memorial Day sales coming in from 65-percent up to “slightly down”, the sentiment was mostly positive for Memorial Day weekend in the Valley. Traveler sentiment is reportedly positive for travel this summer, and even a forecast for rainy weather over the Memorial Day weekend didn’t squelch visitors’ pent up desire to spend time in the Valley. Weather is one of the most important factors determining traveler behavior, and this Memorial Day proved that in Mt Washington Valley.
“It was a great weekend to be in Mt Washington Valley,” said Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce. “With many of the attractions opening for the season, the Wildquack Festival in Jackson, golf courses in great shape, and plenty of sales at stores throughout the Valley, there were multiple draws for visitors. Going into the weekend we had an increase in calls. We think it will be a strong summer for tourism in the Valley,” finished Crawford.
Lauren Hawkins, Director of Marketing at Story Land, shared that while they feared the weather forecast would have a negative impact on park attendance, the excitement of Story Land’s opening prevailed. “Memorial Day 2018 was up slightly even with the grim forecast,” Hawkins told the chamber. “Saturday was a slower day than last year, but we rivaled sunny and pleasant weather on Saturday and Sunday last year. Overall it was a great weekend with a strong Monday,” she finished.
Jonathan Rivers, owner of Indian Mound Golf Course in Ossipee, shared that with the local campgrounds now open, the whole region is bustling. “What a great weekend for golfers,” he commented. Going into the weekend, reservations were on par with expectations, but the turnout was much better than anticipated, Rivers told the chamber. Indian Mound’s food and beverage sales were “maxed out” over the weekend too, said Rivers.
“Cloudy weather and rain are our friends, and our ticket agents think that the marginal weather definitely helped with our numbers, shared Susan Logan, Manager of Marketing and Events for Conway Scenic Railroad. “Saturday and Sunday were up 64% and 65%, respectively, over last year. Monday was up 16% but essentially flat because we had an extra 3:00 departure yesterday that we didn’t have last year,” Logan finished. She was among a number of other survey respondents that noted an increase in families visiting the Valley.
Cranmore Mountain Resort kicked off their summer season over Memorial Day weekend with the Aerial and Mountain Adventure Parks, plus introduced Knockerball to the lineup of attractions for the season. “Looking at the entire three-day period, we were off from last year. When looking at just Monday, we were up over last year,“ said Deschenes. “I do think weather scared people away, especially with the forecast calling for mostly rain in the middle of last week, and then changing toward the end,” she explained.
The chamber heard from Donna Pearce, Owner/Innkeeper at the Admiral Peary House in Fryeburg, that between weddings in the area, concerts and Fryeburg Academy graduation, the inn was filled with families. In addition, Bill Petrone, Owner/Innkeeper at the Buttonwood Inn shared that bookings were up over last year for the Memorial Day weekend. Craig Clemmer, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, also confirmed that the hotel was sold out for the Memorial Day weekend.
Conrad Klefos, General Manager of the Royalty Inn in Gorham, told the chamber that ATV tourism has been a great driver of business for inn with an estimated 80-percent of his guests there to enjoy ATVing. “The Memorial Day weekend was very good. Increased room rates and fewer discounts created the increase. Good thing for ATV tourism! “said Klefoes. Klefoes also shared he anticipates a great season due to the enthusiasm for ATVing in the region.
Few retailers responded to the chamber’s survey. However, Dot Seybold, General Manager of Settlers Green Outlets in North Conway, told the chamber that sentiment among store managers there was very positive. “The stores I spoke with reported it was a good weekend with Thursday and Friday sales strong. As usual, the bad weather helped push people into the outlet centers,” Seybold shared.
Looking ahead, tourism experts are predicting a strong summer for travel. Susan Logan confirmed that advance ticket sales are strong for the Conway Scenic Railroad, while lodging properties reported that the prevalence of last minute reservations makes it hard to predict.
For more information on visiting Mt Washington Valley, please visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org, your complete resource for trip planning, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk with Mt Washington Valley’s visitor services experts. For information on planning a visit to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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