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Gearing Up for Ski SeasonOctober 1, 2009 By: Michael Browne Home-Based Travel Agent
Here’s good news for home-based travel agents: Skiers and snowboarders continue to hit the slopes in strong numbers despite the ongoing economic woes, according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). Or perhaps it’s because of the economic situation. With many travelers looking for drive trips and “staycations” these days, ski vacations may be the perfect solution with a good portion of Americans living within a one-day drive of top ski resorts. (More than half of surveyed consumers said they will seek out destinations closer to home.)
Whatever the reason, skiing remains a hugely popular vacation option: Last year, the U.S. ski industry set an all-time record 60.5 million skier and rider visits.
The opportunity for travel agents lies in finding the best deals out there for their clients. While many travelers view a ski trip as a do-it-yourself vacation, savvy agents need to convey the message that they are uniquely qualified to sort through all of the offers and resorts and can come up with just the right ski destination for clients. Another advantage of ski travel is that it crosses almost all market segments—family, singles, couples, guy and girlfriend getaways, groups, gay, etc. In addition, agents with a little knowledge of the market can make profits on such trips by earning commission on their components, such as lift tickets, ground transportation, equipment rentals and insurance.
Now is the time to brush up on your ski knowledge—the newest resorts, what each destination has to offer beyond skiing, the logistics of getting there—and reach out to your client base.