Skiiers prefer to book by phone

Most snowsports holidays are still booked over the phone, with online bookings continuing to grow their share, the Ski Club of Great Britain’s annual report has found.

For 2008/9, 47% of snowsports holidays were booked over the phone, the same level as last year. Online grew to 16% from 14%, “helped by the fact that more holiday companies now offer an online booking facility”.

High street agents saw their share of the market drop for the fifth consecutive year – now 8%. In the 2003/4 survey one in four snowsport holidays were booked on the high street.

The study also found a small shift in favour of tour operator packages against independent travel. Lack of  consumer protection, the limited availability of low-cost seats for key resorts at peak times and the prohibitive cost of checking in ski equipment is working against the DIY market.

Within the tour operator sector, all-inclusive ski breaks are more popular with self-catering seeing a decline.

Eurostar’s ski services are also taking an increasing share, transporting more than 36,000 on their 2008/9 ski services compared with 31,000 in 2007/8.

France remains the most popular destination, Austria has increased its share increase for the second season in a row, while Bulgaria and Andorra fell away. North America also saw a decline in share, due to Zoom’s demise and the strengthening of the dollar, pushing up costs.

 Overall, the UK snowsport market dropped by 6% to 1.27 million passengers in 2008/9.

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