Winter sports incentives are back on track after going off-piste during the recession, according to John Denham, MD of The Corporate Ski Company. Denham said that he had seen a marked uplift in corporate bookings and enquiries in the last three months, from both existing and new clients.
“The City types are starting to come back, but what’s been interesting is the growth in the rest of sector,” he said. “Going back 10 years the only people who would consider doing winter sports incentives were in the City because it was fairly elitist but now we have IT and law firms, vets and recruitment companies.”
Despite the resurgence, Denham points out that the nature of the trips has changed shape: “They’re much more business-orientated now, with serious meetings concluded with an afternoon on the piste. Companies understand that it’s such a great place to deliver a combination of work and play.”
He added that companies were choosing less luxurious places to stay, although Switzerland was still the number one destination. “The appetite for the five-star premium is still not there yet, but it is difficult to get companies to consider going to other, less glamorous, destinations, even though the euro is getting ever weaker against the Swiss franc. We did have one very successful event in Andorra but haven’t been back since.”
Owned by Vantage Point Group, The Corporate Ski Company currently attributes for 35 per cent of the group’s revenue. Ten years ago it accounted for 95 per cent and Denham hopes to see this go back up.
“It will go up again, although it won’t be more than 50 per cent,” he said.
“I’m hoping total revenue will go up 25 per cent. People are booking later, so come September I’m hoping it will be a busy period. It’s going to be an interesting last quarter and a true test of the temperature.”