Hotel Plan announced today that it was closing its family ski tour operating arm ‘Ski Esprit’ at the end of this winter. The holidays for families that have already booked in for winter 2023/2024 will go ahead as planned.
Ski Line were the first travel agent to be appointed by Ski Esprit, the family ski specialist in the years before Hotel Plan took the company over. At the time Ski Line was a Teletext agent in the cut and thrust of the last-minute bookings ski market. My two sons both learnt to ski on an Esprit holiday in La Rosiere, so our connection is personal too.
Over the years Ski Line became Ski Esprit’s most successful agent. But our bookings with Ski Esprit have been in decline over recent years, this year we had less than 300 passengers booked with Ski Esprit.
Some of their chalets had been around for a good few years and were beginning to look a little tired. But some are very good and we expect these could become available, either via the Inghams brand or possibly Ski Famillie, who going forward will be the only ski chalets specialist for families.
Ski Line are not surprised that the decision to shut down Ski Esprit was made. School holiday dates in the ski season are for just 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year, the February half-term and 2 weeks at Easter. Schools have been fining parents who take children out of school in term time, making it almost impossible to profitably compete when the business is left to market to only families with preschool children booking the remaining 15 weeks of the ski season.
When competition came from Club Med, whose all-inclusive concept Ski Line have been instrumental in advocating. Club Med very quickly became our most popular ski holiday choice for Families.
Club Med appealed to our clients from our first launch and the repeat booking rate was 98% after the first winter.
Ski Famillie are now the last remaining ski chalet specialist aimed at families, I expect their director Ian Hope will be negotiating with Hotel and Chalet owners to secure the best of the Ski Esprits programme for themselves.
Dan Woodley Ski Lines marketing manager said “Our offering to skiing Families has reduced a bit today, but we still have 15 family ski chalets, Mark Warner has an excellent chalet hotel in Tignes and of course, Club Med is going from strength to strength at Ski Line. Ski Line set new sales records this January, helped in part by the launch of Club Med prices for next winter.”
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