Vallnord finished the winter season on March 14, conditioned by COVID-19. Achieving the minimum objectives in such an atypical season is not an easy task, but breaking records is reserved only for a few ski resorts.
Despite that certain locations managed to open their skiable domains earlier than many others (partly thanks to the snowfalls during November), the rest of the winter season was not generous in snow. Only the resorts that have planned and undergone over the improvement of the wintering systems can state that the season has been positive enough. Among this selected group, there is Vallnord – Pal Arinsal.
We delve into the situation that the Massana resort has experienced, to better understand the good results obtained despite the regrets.
The 2019/2020 season seemed pretty promising. Everything seemed ”peaches and snow”. The good snow conditions, the state of the slopes and the events predicted a record season. But the expectations were all gone when the coronovirus started spreading in Europe, causing the sudden closure of almost all the skiable domains in the world.
When a fifth of your season suddenly disappears and the snow has not been enough during the seaon, the economy of the ski resort is also compromised. It is commendable that a resort like Vallnord – Pal Arinsal has managed to exceed 85% of the planned ski days, despite the aforementioned closure by COVID-19 on March 14.
But luckily, not everything is snow related in ski resorts that increasingly ensure their conversion into mountain destinations, with activity throughout the year. The seasonality of the snow business, together with the visible signs of the always threating global warming, aimed this familiar resort to work on products and services oriented to summer “SKI & BIKE”. Actually, the resort is already working to open during summer in order to offer a breath of fresh air on the heights. A thing that we will need so desperately after these toughs days of confinement.
Out of the 135 days that were originally planned to open during the winter, the Vallnord – Pal Arinsal ski resort has finally opened 104.
The predictions were to achieve the objectives and even going a step further. During Christmas there was a 26% increase in occupancy rate. Carnivals, as considered tradition, were celebrated in style in Vallnord – Pal Arinsal and the events were chained one after another during the season; providing that different way of living that we gladly like to find on vacation . But above all, enormous amounts of quality snow that allowed showing the most wintry face of the La Massana resort.
Vallnord – Pal Arinsal infographic 2019-2020 season
Vallnord registers a positive balance despite the closure by COVID-19
The resort closes with a total of 431.566 ski days, 15,3% less than its initial target (510.000 ski days). This number represents a decrease of 11,7% compared to the previous ski season, taking into account that the 2018/2019 season was 143 days.
Even so, the average number of skiers per day score increases by 19%, a situation that shows a trend in improved occupancy.
The management company EMAP closes the season with -15% billing and an average customer expense of -3,2%, a little less compared to the 18/19 season. Regarding the forfait sales, this season the result has been -9% compared to the previous season. But out of this number, 50% comes from tour operators, 42% from ticket offices and 8% from the Web. The restoration wing notes a drop in turnover of 13% due to this early closure, that for sure would have reported different results with the terraces and the sunnier days period at the end of the season.
Regarding online sales, although the season has not ended on the scheduled days, Vallnord – Pal Arinsal closes with record numbers, if we compare them with the previous an latter years.
It is shown once again that online sales channels manage to record increases every year, and the customer gets more involved into booking his own holidays through the internet. This season, the Vallnord – Pal Arinsal resort has growth the number of online reservations, registering 34,19% more.
Vallnord bets on loyalty, providing premium customer service
Vallnord – Pal Arinsal intended to exceed 135 days and the weather conditions were supossed to ease achieving it. This year, the resort set itself the goal of being able to open at 100% when conditions allowed, and it almost succeeded, with 97% of its slopes and facilities opened every day. A great effort both in terms of economycal and human resources, but luckily customers know how to value.
One of the Andorran crown jewels is without a doubt La Capa trail, the longest black trail with 1000 m of uneveness. For the first time in years, has been openned for more than 70 consecutive days thanks to excellent conditions. This trail has received a total of 14.814 skiers, 94% more than the previous season. Other resorts’ goal was to open Les Marrades trail each day, the lowest in the resort that reaches the Arinsal town at 1500 meters at the foot of the slopes; it has been so until March 14 2020.
Customer satisfaction is one of the key strategies of Vallnord – Pal Arinsal and the results begin to speak for themselves. The commitment to an excellent quality service, perfectly knowning what kind product or service is offered, or to satisfy the expectations of the customers.
Something that seems so clear as treating the customer with respect and courtesy, always rewards what is promoted. Even assuming that it is more important to retain customers and improve their “shopping cart” than to increase in volume, are some of the strategies carried out by the La Massana resort, where the profits speaks for themselves.
The maintenance tasks have allowed to offer perfect conditions throughout the season and fulfilled the openings in the same way. During this season 349.365 cubic meters of water were needed, 10% less than the previous one, on behalf of the artificial snow network. This amount is distributed in 215.374 cubic meters for Pal and 128.091 cubic meters for Arinsal. This is a very positive number, since it shows that investments help optimize performance and snow production tasks, saving water and energy resources.
Snow activities for non-skiers still a booming trend in Vallnord
Alternative activities (Big Zip, snowshoes, Parc de Cordes, Snowtrike …) designed for children and adults have been highly valued by the smallest in the house; also by grown ups. These alternative activities show an increase in turnover of 86% compared to the previous season. Likewise, Christmas activities such as the Santa Claus visit, become a classic; recieving more than 1300 visits, that is, 23% more than the previous year.
As for snow schools, the resort of La Massana makes available for customers the Snowplus and the snow school. The Snowplus is the great bet for the kids, where they can learn to ski while enjoying the snow in a different yet playful way. Thus, this season has increased by 10% compared to the 2018-2019, in more specific data, a total of 1100 students.
The ski school, Snowboard and Snow Gardens, keep their essence and are considered one of the preferred options for customers who want to learn to ski. The Snow Garden and kindergartens have great positive feedback by parents who trust the resort monitors to take care of their kids.
Both gastronomic and restauration wings are a solid bet from Vallnord – Pal Arinsal. The latest investments for facilities improvements, as well as services, were key for the customer to enjoy a better gourmet experience.
As is already a tradition during winter, high mountain dinners are a great
service that works profitable year after year. Finally, this year the resort has been able to hold a total of 57 night dinners in three different establishments that held more than 4500 people. Fewer customers than last season due to the early closure again aforementioned, but the numbers are there to be compared.