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Big pre-season discounts? Is this a new thing or are we in new terrority?


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Just looking at some of the links and pages on the places to stay etc and seems that quite a few of the places and companies are offering fairly considerably discounts, even at this stage. I don't know Hokkaido well but I can't recall seeing that kind of thing before - have they done things like this before or is this year proving to be more difficult (for the operators/hotels) than it has been before?

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From what I know and hear: places are certainly not booking up as quickly as they have been in recent years. Just like many businesses are doing, people booking holidays are delaying decisions.

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Last year many who booked early were put in very difficult situations when the Yen soared against most other currencies. Many just weren't able to afford the final payments on their holidays and had to forfeit their deposits.

Many travel agents were also hurt as they were selling the holidays in Aussie $ and when the exchange went nuts they either had to bump up the cost significantly or lose money on a booking. Many big Aussie agents haven't even released their Japan brochures yet this year!

So it was always going to be difficult to get a lot of early bookings this time around. Most of the companies agreed to an early bird discount of 25% off the rack rate for accomm. Most are still offering this deal up to the end of this month. After that there will still be some deals for up to 15% off.

So for those looking at coming over next season best to book now to get the best deals on offer, it will get more expensive later on.

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Originally Posted By: Error404
Unless it gets cheaper because there are empty rooms, no?


Unlikely. At least at the company I work for our bookings are looking pretty good at the moment. Especially during busy periods like xmas/new year and Chinese new year availability is already getting very limited. Basically if you want well positioned apartments then the sooner you book the better. If position or quality is not a big consideration then waiting till later in the year should be no problem.
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I'm tipping you're not looking to stay in ski in/out or in a penthouse suite with a jacuzzi though Bill?

As I said if position and quality are no issue then later should be fine.

Remember the big management companies here make most of their money selling people into luxury western-style houses and apartments. It is only this section of the market where availability can become an issue.

If that's not what you're after then waiting later is usually no problem.

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As I've mentioned before up until last year the demand for accomm in Niseko had been far outstripping the supply so there had never been 'price wars' previously. Prices had only increased year after year. Now we find that supply is well and truly meeting demand so competition for bookings is strong between the companies. Our marketing is definitely having to become a lot more sophisticated. You wouldn't believe how amateur marketing has previously been. The place was basically selling itself (word of mouth) so virtually no companies here had anyone with actual marketing qualifications or experience. Somewhat amazes me that Niseko had such a meteoric rise in popularity!

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Just my own personal observations to add to this - I know a few people back in Aus who are just 'window shopping' right now. Just looking and waiting. I reckon if things don't get suddenly worse again there'll be a bit of a rush on come November.

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Last season was the first real season that the Honshu Ski areas jumped into the overseas battle. Many associations started actively marketing an option to Niseko. Furano continued to push as well. There really is a limit to the overseas ski market in Japan and the pie is only so big.

 

The Global economy isn't exactly on fire. If you go shopping anywhere right now there are tons of deals. The 25% discount in Niseko is really sort of old news. Those discounts were offered in early March. The most aggressive one I saw was; an ad that was willing to undercut any official quote be 20%.

 

The large problem with price cuts (in any bussiness) is that it hurts the bottom line. It is also hard to justify a significant price rise the next time, because the value of the product has changed.

 

Right now no one really knows what is going to happen within the ski market of Japan. Last season a huge chunk of the overseas market paid way too much for their vacations. How much of that chunk can afford return? Generating new customers to action sports, expensive ones at that is not easy. It is especially hard in tougher times to convince someone to spend a good chunk of coin on something totally new.

So with my limited marketing education I would say that the marketing managers know this and want to lock in as many early guests as possible. It is like selling seasons tickets or seasons passes cheaply. You secure your revenue to secure your business.

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I would guess a lot is going to depend on exchange rates. I hear the Aussie dollar is getting back to something like 'normal' but the pound is still very weak. I know some people who would love to go, but it's too expensive as is. If it went back to 210 yen a pound that would change things. But at 150 or so, 25% more expensive.

 

We're definitely going though, making our plans now.

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Luckily most Honshu resorts had a pretty awful season last winter so hopefully not many of those who tried out down that way will want to risk it again! Come back to where the snow is always good, Niseko!! razz bestsnow

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Originally Posted By: Go Native
Luckily most Honshu resorts had a pretty awful season last winter so hopefully not many of those who tried out down that way will want to risk it again! Come back to where the snow is always good, Niseko!! razz bestsnow

lol

We are all booked and paid.
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Hard to say as I don't think any have sold recently! lol

 

As I said bookings are actually going pretty well. We've had very solid early season bookings considering that some of the biggest Aussie agents have barely even started pushing Japan yet. Pretty sure we'll be in business for awhile yet.

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