Contemplating the ski season in Bulgaria
On October 14, as the sun shone down on Sofia and the population lapped up the late summer sun, the ski season opened in Kitzbühel.
This was the first resort in Austria to open for the winter season, albeit skiing is only possible on the higher slopes in the region. Most other ski areas open their lifts on the last weekend of October. There layeth the problem for the Bulgarian winter resorts: the length of the winter season.
The best the Bulgarian resorts can realistically offer is around 15 weeks of solid skiing and the businesses that exist in Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo have to try make their money in that short period of time.
Thankfully, the recent years has seen some of the better hotels in these areas focusing efforts on making themselves a year round destination and serving the Meetings, Groups and Events sector.
The Kempinski and Premier Hotels in Bansko have been particularly successful in this area and by being successful and attracting footfall they are also helping the municipality and its inhabitants by providing both year round employment and year round income. The Rila and Samokov Hotels in Borovets also have a similar focus away from the main ski period.
The days are long gone when a hotel could open 15 weeks a year and this applies to both the snow based hotels as it does to the beach based ones. Those hotels who have the foresight in realizing that there are all sorts of markets out there and who have a need for hotel space 52 weeks of the year will be the most successful ones. That, in turn, requires the hotels to have owners and managers with both foresight, experience and industry knowledge.
(Main photo: Kempinski Grand Arena Hotel Bansko)