Ski Travel Agency warns of lack of vacations for sale
A longtime specialist ski travel agency has warned that travel agencies could be at risk due to a combination of factors, one of them being the lack of ski vacation packages currently available for sale.
“Agents who are only third-party dealers will be under tremendous pressure this coming season due to an unprecedented level of toxicity,” said Nick Edwards, boss of Snow hunters, who was talking after the small tour operator agency Ski2, which had been operating for more than 20 years in the Aosta Valley as well as in Morzine and Les Gets in France, became the latest ski company to announce the cessation of its activities due to the impacts of Brexit and Covid.
“The problem we face as agents is the lack of stock to sell,” said Edwards, adding: “Tour operators operate with low margins under heavily regulated conditions with a risk / reward ratio that would be disconcerting. anyone. I would say vacation package availability is down about 50% for this winter. It is not surprising, given post-Brexit access to employment, that the market cabins was hit the hardest.
The warning comes as many UK ski travel companies say their booking levels for the upcoming season are significantly above pre-Covid levels for this time of year, in part due to the number of vacations retained by skiers from previous winters and partly from pent-up demand that is starting to break free.
Mr Edwards says his company is not in the same kind of danger that it has its own ATOL license which allows them a degree of autonomy and flexibility in the market that many agents do not have.
“One operator in particular has already cut commission rates to unsustainable levels, which has made the situation even worse. Then mix that up with the merchant facilities refusing to cut rates, the bond being harder and more expensive and the principles refusing to refund after a chargeback has been made against the agent and many will simply close their doors, ”warned Mr. Edwards.
In terms of advice to skiers for the coming winter, concludes Mr. Edwards,
“For the majority of skiers, that means fewer options, higher prices and an absolute obligation to book early. Last minute deals on struggling stocks are highly unlikely to be offered this season, as demand will outstrip supply. If there are any last minute deals it means that the suppliers will sell inventory to cut their losses and this in turn will lead to more financial failures, there is no doubt about that. Thus, skiers on fire and benefiting from late offers will slaughter the goose that lays the golden eggs. I may sound like a snake oil salesman, but the truth is, UK skiers need to support the package market if they want a stable and sustainable ski market with a quality holiday.
“If skiers are haggling over prices that are already much cheaper than they can get by doing it on their own or waiting for struggling stocks to buy at bargain levels, they’ll just hammer the remaining nails into the coffin of the ski industry. We send an SOS – a fair price for a fair holiday. Support your ski businesses or they will disappear and skiing will be taken back to a bygone era of the elite.