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A good time to start a Chalet business!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
LiveLife Chalets wrote:
... The truth is we don't know how many vegans ski but we do know that almost a quarter of the UK population is actively trying to reduce meat and dairy consumption so why wouldn't many of those same people also be skiers or snowboarders?

There is a very big difference between people "trying to reduce meat and dairy", perhaps eating more fish or having a meat-free day once a week, and being prepared to avoid animal products completely for a week. Last year the Vegan Society estimated the number of vegans in the UK at only around 600,000, or 1% of the population, so your potential market may be quite small. You can presumably advertise through specialist websites/services. And there may be a bigger market in the rest of Europe, for whom travel would be easier / cheaper.

As others have said, the timing is not great - you should be prepared for next year at least to be non-existent.

LiveLife Chalets wrote:
... We think we can make this economically viable for between £1000-1200 per person per week. Travel, kit hire and lift passes would add around another £450 depending on how far in advance you book the train.
Does that addition include overnight accommodation in Paris? (Not sure if this would need to be on both journeys, or just one?)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@LiveLife Chalets, If you want to get your name out there, get on Vegan Travel Groups (if you haven't already).

FWIW. My Daughter would not pay considerably more than what we could stay in a hotel for.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Plus this is what you are up against when it comes to Vegan food and keen skiers. Do you even have a giant cat?

http://www.oresteshuette.eu/en/
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
At the very least I think that the OP would need to target the whole European market and not just the U.K.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:
Overall, I think your target market will mostly be vegans who would like to ski, rather than skiers who would like to eat vegan food. Here you'll find skiers, the vast majority of whom would not choose a holiday based on vegan food, which will skew the responses.

That!

Wrong target.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Our rental agency has said that the rental market is extremely sensitive to what clients perceive as 'the going rate' for what they seek. Even small differences in the weekly rate can make the difference between getting bookings and not getting them. I would take a look at the prices displayed for equivalent property and m² on agency websites in your village and set that as your baseline. Again, this is where the separation of catering and property helps - you can't charge more than the going CHF/m² for a particular category of apartment (based on m², nearness to lift, state of facilities, nearness to centre, underground parking etc.). On top of that and separately, you can then set the cost of the Vegan catering, and on this you will have to be realistic - if, say, a modern 4-bed apt like yours rents for £350/person i.e. £1400 for the whole place, then do you really think you can charge a further £650-£850/person just for the food?

If the answer is no, then you need to think just what premium would people pay? And if for example, £350/person for the accommodation + £350/p for the Vegan food is the answer, then obviously the next question is can you make a living out of this level of income? And to answer that, you need an idea of occupancy.

One guide to occupancy would be what answers you get from the rental agencies in your village when you go to them and ask what they'd charge to rent out your apartment. Now, you might have no intention of using them, but you're in a position for the proposition to be credible and to get a credible answer. f course, you'd have to temper that with their natural inclination to perhaps quote what their most successful clients achieve, not the average occupancy levels. But it might help.

You also need to think about publicity and booking. If you do approach some agencies, you'll be surprised at how big a slice they take. But in my experience this is a reflection of the effort involved, and a reflection of how difficult it is to get web exposure in a competitive market. Again, our agency not only has it's own site, but also advertises through a commercial service too, and that service is responsible for a significant proportion of rentals. The agency staff speak/write French, Dutch, German, Italian and English. They spend a huge amount of time to-ing and fro-ing with clients over email and suffer a lot of wasted time in people who say they'll make a reservation but never do. Plus all the work involved in taking reservations, issuing contracts, taking final payments, and dealing with people who miss deadlines for payments. You might consider using an agency for your first season just to get off the ground, but you need to be judicious in selecting one with a good track-record in publicity, on-line presence and rentals.

This doesn't preclude you having your own website as well. But be careful not to believe all they hype from website builders about how successful their clients have been. There's a temptation to focus on building a pretty site at the cost of refining your business plan.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
What do Snowheads think is going to happen to the ski market?Are you still planning to book a ski holiday next winter?@LiveLife Chalets,


What do Snowheads think is going to happen to the ski market? In the long-term, continued slow decline, I fear. In the short-term I fear it will be far worse.

Are you still planning to book a ski holiday next winter? - No. We only ever book a month or two ahead and economically I'd need to see how finances look in early 2021.

When will you feel confident enough to book? A month or two before travelling. If Adelboden has less than guaranteed snow then I'd also want to see how the season is panning out before booking somewhere like that.

Have your thoughts about where you might go changed as a result of the Coronavirus? Not particularly, although i suspect we will all be taking fewer holidays for the next five years or more.

Will you fly or look at places you can reach by train or by driving? Fly or possibly drive. Trains are too slow and too expensive for that distance.

Like PeakyB I wish you good luck but definitely wouldn't consider staying in a vegan chalet

A few other thoughts:
The majority of people I know (mostly self-employed or small business owners have had their income cut to zero or close to it with little expectation of any real income for several months. I think that means that the skiing population will be reduced and there will be massive over-supply of accommodation next year despite many hotels/chalet companies going out of business.

A single four-bed apartment is a pretty inflexible format. You are really only catering to vegan families of three/four or two vegan couples. Does the fully-catered option work for such a small set-up? I've always felt that one either needs to take over the entire chalet or be in a large chalet with several other groups/couples/families.

As others have said, I have serious doubts that the market is big enough for such a self-limiting niche offering.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Most of your logos look like weed companies (maybe that's the problem with plant based and green)

Actually I don't even like the name - too much overlap with pseudo medical industry and those ubiquitous Live Love Laugh type "inspirational" home tat. I'd go for something attention grabbing and memorable like Eggplant Ninja Chalets with a cartoon character, but then that probably isn't classy enough for your target price.


Signed

A Curmudgeon Esq
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
One tip re websites and business profile - it's entirely possible to have more than one business name and website, and to direct searches to a different landing page, depending on the user's search criteria. So if someone searches explicitly for 'vegan' then they go to the 'Vegan Alpine' branded page, with extra vegan content below it. But if they just search for 'alpine' or arrive any other way, sans 'vegan', they drop onto a version fo the site that's more generic and has less vegan content.

This doesn't ned to conflict with any rental agency web content. For example, we have quite a nice website for our apartment, built by me, using a standard toolkit from the hosting provider. The enquiries page just collects details on a form and emails the rental agency, who take it form there. Of course, the danger is that the agency might take this lead and offer them someone else's apartment: but this is always the risk with any agency. We just tell family and acquaintances to contact us directly, not the agency, to get a discount. We then check with the agency to see if the place is free and if it is, make an owner's reservation for the week.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Whitegold wrote:
A niche and declining chalet market, in a niche and faddy vegan market, in a niche resort, with skyhigh costs, with a mixed snow record, at lowish altitude, shortish winter season, in an era of global boiling, not known for its summer sports, in the middle of a global economic collapse, while Switzerland is swamped with a corona death plague that today is 20 times worse per-head than China.

Sounds good.

Who do I wire the monies to.


And I can't indulge in my ritual consumption of a good cote de boeuf, several steak hache's, fondue and charcuterie and wax lyrical about how much better meat tastes from properly slaughtered cattle and that's without having some faddist food crank in the room.
Sorry, to be a moody old git but you had me until the food menu, then the back bottom fell out of it
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Well I've had enough of gloom and doom! First of all top marks for the location. Lenk is a super area and grossly underated. Too low people say, well the slopes off Bettleberg are perfectly north facing through the forest and therefore great for snow holding. The sector of silerenbuhl (Lenk/Adelboden) is again perfectly n' facing with some extremely worthwhile red and black pistes.
Drop into Adel' short bus ride up to Engstligenalp, wow powder nirvana! Dare I mention perfect North facing slopes, sitting directly beneath the Wildstrubel.
Quick ride on the train (10 or12 mins) from Lenk back down the valley to Zweisimmen. Access to the beautiful Gstaad area. From Zweisimmen to Schonreid (8Km) all north facing slopes through very pretty forest.
Hope I'm painting a positive picture. The ski touring options are endless, this is how I originally found the area.
As for a vegan specific holiday base, definitely, it is a choice and life style that will only expand in the years to come.
When you are established with web-site, marketing etc I'll note your location and come and say hello!
Good luck to you both.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
LiveLife Chalets wrote:
Thank you for the comments about cost and Swiss employment laws. We think we can make this economically viable for between £1000-1200 per person per week. Travel, kit hire and lift passes would add around another £450 depending on how far in advance you book the train.


That's definitely pitching at a certain market, the majority of my ski holidays are less than a grand all in, maybe spending up to the £1200 kind of mark for new year. But that's including lift pass and travel. Admittedly I go self catering and am a big fan of the cheaper meats (your sausages and pork pies etc.), but I still think averaging a thousand quid a week is about the right cost for a ski trip in a normal time of year.

Unlike some others I don't think vegan is a faddy market, it's growing...but a number of those are doing so because of climate implications rather than humane reasons, so aren't likely to be having a lot of ski holidays abroad. It's certainly a brave step but good luck to you.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@LiveLife Chalets, I think unless you can offer mid season rate chalet weeks for less than £1k you may struggle.

A four figure sum for the few peak weeks in the season maybe not such a problem.

Even assuming a reasonably quick return to normal travel freedom, I think there will be significantly less disposable income around for several years.

Wish you well.
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