Now is a great time for agents to capitalise on the growing interest in dynamic packaging within the winter holidays market to boost sales and profitability for winter 2009/10.


The dynamic packaging opportunities for the ski market are endless, thanks to frequent flights from a wide range of UK airports to all the key ski destinations with no-frills carriers such as Jet2, easyJet, bmibaby and Flybe.


And, from December 19 until April 17 2010, customers can take the ski train, operated by Eurostar.


Winter sports fans can board at St Pancras International or Ashford International and be whisked direct to the resorts of Moutiers, Aime la Plagne or Bourg St Maurice at 186mph.


 


Engage your customer


Offer customers an alternative to traditional winter sun holidays with the opportunity to warm up with a more active winter sports break.


Winter sports holidays are all about enjoying the beautiful mountainous settings of your resort by relaxing outside with a warm drink, jetting off down the slopes by board or skis, or enjoying the resort’s après-ski at night.


Perfect for a family getaway, a fun-filled holiday with a group of friends, or a romantic winter break cuddled up in a cosy log cabin, winter sports holidays have something to offer everyone.


Thanks to dynamic packaging products offering customers the flexibility of low-cost transfers, alongside low-cost flights and accommodation, it is a hassle-free, cost-effective option for winter holidaymakers.


 


Know your slopes


As with any specialist travel interest, you might not be fully aware of what destinations are up and coming for winter sports this season, where to find the best nursery slopes, or where to find the best après-ski, so here are a few suggestions.



  • Sauze d’Oulx, in Italy, is ideal for a group of friends holidaying together as it offers excellent après-ski facilities, including an array of restaurants to suit every taste and pocket. 

  • Up-and-coming resort Bansko in Bulgaria is suitable for every ability level, from beginners to semi-pros. 

  • Arinsal in Andorra is great value for money, with accommodation available from £19 per person per night. 

  • Zell am See in Austria is family friendly, with a traffic-free centre and nursery slopes for beginners.

  • Snowboarders should head to Mayrhofen in Austria for its world-class fun park.

 



Be flexible



The whole appeal of dynamic packaging is that the product can be as flexible as the customer. Know what options are open to you, and you will be able to match customers’ needs and increase their overall satisfaction.


Narrow down dynamic packaging options to suit your customers’ individual needs. When recommending a winter holiday resort, carefully consider the customer’s requirements (see suggestions above).


Winter sports resorts offer a range of half-board, self-catering and bed-and-breakfast options, so ask your client which option they prefer. Transfer options also vary hugely. Think coach, shuttle bus, taxi or even private limousine.


No-frills carriers offer frequent services from a range of regional UK airports, so you can opt for a convenient choice to suit their needs. But flying is not the only option as customers can take the Eurostar ski train from December 19.


Some clients may even prefer a self-drive holiday as ferry crossings from Dover to Calais or via the Eurotunnel are a quick route to Europe. Driving keeps costs down as there are no excess luggage fees, and clients can save money by shopping in a supermarket before hitting the resort.


 


Keep an eye on the weather


Good snowfall ensures customer satisfaction. For weather forecasts, snow reports and in-resort webcams and maps, visit snow-forecast.com, which is updated four times a day.


 


Karine MercerKarine Mercer is hotel4u.com’s ski and product manager