Hospitality Industry
6 min read

Key trends to consider when investing in Swiss ski resorts

Pierre Verbeke
Written by

The Swiss Alps have always been a popular tourist destination, with demand for reservations at ski resorts, restaurants, and other hospitality-oriented businesses in the mountains seeing a sharp increase in recent seasons.

This is great news for industry hospitality professionals who are looking to invest in a related business, as putting money into the thriving ski resort facility arena is a bright investment plan to consider right now.

The increased interest from travelers, combined with the fact that online hospitality related companies like VRBO, Airbnb, and easyJet make the Swiss Alps easier than ever to visit no matter where you are in the world, means a booming business in the future for those in the hospitality industry, as people cannot wait to explore this exciting destination.

Why Swiss ski resorts are a savvy choice for hospitality investors

Now is the perfect time to invest in Swiss ski resorts and also non-ski-oriented businesses within the domains. Interest is high and the opportunities for success are endless. Here are some key ski industry trends that indicate that investing in the hospitality industry in Switzerland is a bright way to spend your money.

Popular ski industry trends that indicate good investment opportunities ahead

  • Popular year-round enjoyment – While winter is still the peak time for people to plan ski vacations, alpine resorts in Switzerland are now seeing an increase in guests during the summer season as well. This provides a variety of new opportunities for the traveler as well as the business investor for activities and accommodations for guests to enjoy when the weather is warm.
  • Alpine mountain sports – The mountains of Switzerland are the perfect place to accommodate the fitness and wellness boom the industry has seen over the last 10 years. The demand has proven that more lodging, dining and sports-oriented activities are needed in the area to keep up with those who like to take part in marathons, cycling, hiking, festivals, and events planned for the various seasons in the Swiss Alps.
  • Back to nature – While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on travel as we know it, lowering the bottom line severely for those in the hospitality industry, it has also brought about lifestyle changes that have already begun to increase visitor numbers and transactions at Swiss ski resorts. People all over the world are showing a new appreciation for getting outdoors and enjoying nature. With plenty of wide-open spaces, mountain ski resorts are more popular than ever, and ski industry trends indicate this will most likely continue long after the pandemic, creating a whole new set of enthusiasts who will want to travel to peaceful mountain area.
  • Quality family time – The typical busy schedules and hectic lifestyles that we lead today often leaves less time than we would like for quality family time together. Since uninterrupted quality time is such a challenge for many families to experience today, guests are looking at Swiss ski resorts as a wonderful place to escape to, so they can relax with their family and reconnect. To be able to share an adventure and explore a new hobby together is priceless.
  • Not just for skiers – There is so much more than just skiing in the Swiss Alps and travelers know it. The number of people who visit alpine areas with no intention to ski continues to rise. What do they do instead? These clued-up travelers enjoy Michelin-starred restaurants, shop at high-end retail establishments, visit exciting water parks, explore the mountain bike trails, and much more. Offering a variety of activities and a beautiful mountain destination, the Alps truly have something for people of all ages, making it the perfect choice for family vacations.
  • Choosing a healthier lifestyle – Since the pandemic, people are spending more time and making more of an effort to leading a healthier lifestyle. Personal wellness and fitness are a priority now and are leading travelers to alpine destinations for the combination of fresh air, open space and an abundance of recreational activities. Exasperated by the lockdown, people are ready to escape to the Alps for freedom, plenty of exercise, outdoor adventures, and peace of mind that time spent in the mountains can provide.

Spread the word about your Swiss ski resorts by using clever marketing techniques

Mimicking ski industry trends in the US, Swiss ski resorts are using key marketing techniques to attract visitors to the various resorts. Many properties are coming together to offer package deals that enable guests to easily access the multiple resorts during their vacation stay. For example, the “Magic Pass” offers skiers a seasonal pass that allows them to visit 30 resorts including Villars, Crans-Montana and Grimentz.

Clever marketing, creative vacation packages and a branded new launch of your ski resort-oriented business will help you reach more potential guests and make your investment a successful one.

Swiss ski resort

Take a step up with smart design and technology

Infrastructural investments at Swiss ski resorts including features like new ski trails and high-tech lifts not only improve the experience at local resorts, these smart investments actually go further. The improvements to the infrastructure have a major impact on the area, which ultimately result in rising property values. Here are some smart ways to see an increase in guest visits as well property prices.

  • Plan and expand for new adventures – Enthusiasts enjoy new challenges so be prepared to provide an updated and unique experience as often as you can. Having a new mountain sector to explore via your new, high-tech ski lift or a fun new gondola for an exciting ride up the mountain can attract new and returning guests to your property for a huge increase in visitor numbers.
  • Join forces to promote – Working with other local ski resorts to offer discount promotions is a good way to increase sales and see profits without the need for costly updates and intrusive construction. Work with other resorts on strategies like lift passes that offers access to all properties, offer combination packages such as stay and play themes, and other creative incentives to attract customers to all businesses involved.
  • Property renovation – Sometimes, a complete property renovation is in order. Updating a lift, rejuvenating guest rooms, and giving the resort a more modern look is very appealing to visitors, which is a sure way to increase revenue. In addition, adding new restaurants, bars, and activities to the resort will attract new guests who want to enjoy the space as well as return guests who want to check out the new amenities.
  • Link domains for success for all – Use your marketing power to advertise the assets and amenities of two ski-oriented businesses to link the two domains. This will effectively raise interest in both companies and increase visits to each. Do not be afraid to join forces and link any business that can positively affect the traffic to your property. From ski clothing purveyors and trolly ride companies to nearby restaurants and popular wineries – everyone benefits when you link domains.

Work from home at a ski resort in the Swiss Alps

Since the pandemic, the number of people who work from home has more than quadrupled, and this trend is expected to continue as the norm for many years to come. The good news for the hospitality industry is that as long as there is a good internet connection, working from home can be done from almost anywhere – even a plush ski resort in Switzerland.

Not only does the option of working from a Swiss ski resort have major appeal to many, but it also allows guests to arrange for longer stays, which increases revenue over the typical weekend getaways.

This new and more flexible working from home situation has also provided people with an opportunity to move away from the crowds in the city to a less populated area in the mountains away from it all. Both Swiss residents as well as those from abroad have been relocating to the mountains and working from 'home'. They are now living in beautiful resorts and ski communities that are expanding their amenities, planning more social events, and offering an active sporting calendar to attract more residents and increase revenue in their resorts in the Swiss Alps.

In fact, ski industry trends have shown an increase across all ski markets over the past six months where second homes in popular mountain ski areas have been reclassified as semi-permanent homes. This, of course, brings higher expectations of accommodation. The space that is being used as their new work from home office must have all of the comforts of the guest’s full-time residence, as well as the perks of their former office or work space. This means faster broadband, a conference room, smart technology, gathering space, entertainment and easy access to food and beverage.

This new increase in demand for long-term work from home opportunities in popular ski resorts, where you can actually hit the slopes once your afternoon Zoom meeting is completed, has really given hospitality investors a myriad of opportunities to explore and at amazing return rates.

Investing in the future of Swiss ski resorts

The ski resort industry in Switzerland is working hard to upgrade, expand, and develop the ski and non-ski infrastructure needed for a thriving industry as well as other non-ski-oriented entertainment and accommodation options for guests.

With an influx of private investors as well as people wanting to spend more time in the mountains, this investment in upgrades and expansions is critical to meet the new demands of the area. Resources like new ski lifts and snow-making equipment, new residential developments, resorts, hotels, and entertainment opportunities to attract tourists is the key. These upgrades will not only attract guests but will help escalate property values and help the resort areas thrive.

Investors can enjoy the privacy and security of investing in the safe haven of the Swiss franc while also having the opportunity to obtain a ski resort property that can potentially offer a gross yield of around 2.5%. This, combined with the fact that there are substantial shifts in buying power for overseas buyers due to currency movement, means that this is a smart financial decision as well.

Ski industry trends point to smart investment opportunities in the Swiss Alps

The pandemic has started a new push for living a healthier lifestyle, including getting more exercise and reducing stress. In addition, it has spurred a productive new work-from-home environment that is so successful, it is here to stay. Ski industry trends indicate that more people are migrating to the relaxing ski resort communities tucked away in the mountains. Private investors would be smart to take advantage of this opportunity to expand and upgrade the infrastructures needed to meet the new demand of guests and make a substantial profit.

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Written by

Director Hospitality Advisory Services at EHL Advisory Services

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