Bracing for impact

Millbrook ops manager Brian Howie. PHOTO: ARCHIVE
Millbrook ops manager Brian Howie. PHOTO: ARCHIVE
Brace yourselves. 

With this week’s long-awaited — and perfectly-timed — delivery of white gold, Queenstown’s preparing for the snow rush.

While forward bookings for this winter have, anecdotally, been slower to come through than normal, accommodation providers are getting ready for their phones to start ringing off the hook.

Millbrook Resort operations manager Brian Howie says at a meeting of Queenstown hotel GMs this week there was a "pretty optimistic" feeling now the snow’s arrived.

"Over the winter season as a whole, bookings are on par or ahead of last year, and with short lead times for bookings, we hope the recent snowfall will see occupancy pick up."

He notes last winter the Australian and New Zealand school holidays were condensed into a shorter period.

There was a concern, too, given there wasn’t too much snow on the hills this time last year, visitors may not have had the best experience, which "might have had a legacy coming into this year".

But normal transmission seems to have resumed.

In Australia, the school holidays are spread between June 22 and July 21, while Kiwi school holidays officially start on Saturday and end on June 21.

And the snow’s arrived at the right time.

"The snow is undoubtedly going to help," Howie says.

"I think when you’ve got snow there, you’re going to get people who are having a better experience, they’re enjoying it more and I think that undoubtedly helps us again for next year, because people have got that memory of having a great experience, and they’re more inclined to book earlier on."