2 into 1 – the emerging congestion for winter 21/22

Client feedback suggests that a cancelled winter hasn’t been well received by corporate teams and they are already in the process of arranging their 2021/22 ski events. The knock-on effect is that popular ski event destinations are experiencing the challenge of trying to accommodate pent up demand caused by a cancelled winter, alongside the volumes of a regular booking season.

Many of our clients had teams whose biennial ski events fell during this last winter. Ski Sunday wasn’t enough to scratch the itch and they are mighty keen to get back on the snow at the first opportunity. This demand is combining with existing planned bookings for early 2022 and availability is already more limited than usual.

The peak corporate ski months of January and March are already very congested and only likely to get more so, as Europe loosens the restrictions over the coming weeks and a sense of normality begins to return. For corporate ski event planners, the likely scenario will be to make reservations now or delay and then possibly have to consider mid-week, December of April dates. Mid-week dates will provide more accommodation options for event planners but will require approval from enterprises for further days out of the office. December events should offer a wide range of options with the added advantage of very fresh staff and gleaming accommodation. The downsides could be disrupting the end of year preparations, although combing a ski event with a Christmas office party could cover 2 objectives, whilst at the same time avoid the desperate scramble for Christmas party event space in cities across the UK, Ireland and northern Europe. The industry consensus is that the Christmas 2021 office event scene is going to be a crowded space. Which leaves April 2022 and high-altitude resorts. These should deliver a great skiing experience, whilst resorts that access the glacier skiing of the Alps could be sensational in the last month of the season. Resorts and ski regions option that spring to mind in Austria are the Arlberg, Zell am See – Kaprun, Sölden, Innsbruck, or Mayrhofen / Hintertux Glacier. In France Les 3 Vallées, Val d’Isère and possibly Chamonix all offer great late season glacier skiing, whilst Zermatt in Switzerland is one of the best and the highest in the Alps. The chances are, there will be hangovers from the 2020/21 Covid winter into the next season and these will require some flexibility from event planners.

Accommodation have been badly affected by the lockdowns and government support can only go so far in softening the blow. It is still uncertain how hotels will manage their inventories to maximise revenues – whether they will embrace large bookings which will require some flexible in their usual allocation strategy or else they play it safe by reverting to more weekly leisure bookings. Time will tell, but despite the continued uncertainty in the world, now is the time to start planning for events for winter 2021/22.

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