Exclusive privacy: chalet tourism in transition

Natasha Robertson of Bramble Ski on the changes brought about by Corona.

4 March 2021

A look into the future: The largest luxury chalet provider in the Alps, Bramble Ski, explains how the Chalet tourism has changed over the last few decades, what changes the Corona pandemic will bring and what the chalet industry can expect in the coming years.


The luxury chalet industry could be in for a big boom.

The exclusivity of the chalets

In 2005, Bramble Ski was the first provider to offer full or half board as well as pure overnight stays without catering. Today, this concept can be found almost everywhere. A holiday in a chalet is now on the same level as a hotel stay in terms of services - but often offers even more exclusivity, a location in the middle of nature and sufficient space.

More and more people appreciate the exclusivity of their privacy.

Professionally trained staff and enhanced service

Starting with one chalet in Verbier, Bramble Ski has now expanded its portfolio to 120 chalets in six countries. Natasha Robertson, founder and COO of Bramble Ski, recalls the early days of what is now the largest luxury chalet provider in the Alps: "During the founding of Bramble Ski, the chalet industry still looked different. Tourism has changed in such a way that a holiday with untrained or inexperienced staff is no longer possible - demands have risen." As a result of this move towards professionally trained staff and increased service, the chalet customer base also widened. It was no longer only holidaymakers who wanted to spend a quiet time in their holiday home who booked a chalet, but also more and more hotel guests who preferred a chalet to a hotel but did not want to compromise on service. Nowadays, luxury chalets are widespread and more and more guests are drawn to the privacy of alpine chalets.

"The standards have gone up," says Natasha Robertson.

Holiday in your "own bubble

Clear changes and trends, which were favored by Corona, can already be read by Bramble Ski on the basis of the year 2020: A higher demand for long-term rentals and seasonal bookings - for the luxury chalet provider itself, it was just under 15 percent of all bookings in 2020, compared to just 7.2 percent two years ago. A strong focus of guests is currently, of course, on hygiene and safety measures. Holidays in the so-called "own bubble" are booming. Services have been adapted to the point where staff perform tasks unnoticed by guests, and often in their absence. Bramble Ski calls this the "Bramble Bubble." Chalet guests thus do not have to leave their "own bubble," i.e., the chalet, nor do they have to interact with others outside their group if they do not wish to do so. The contactless and invisible service thus enables housekeeping and catering without guests seeing or coming into contact with staff - in keeping with the spirit of social distancing. Ski equipment and ski passes are also organised and a private chauffeur takes guests to places in the immediate vicinity. In addition, the offer for long-term and seasonal rentals is being expanded.

You feel safest in your own bubble.

More flexible cancellations, more self-catering and more emphasis on exclusivity

Looking to the future, Bramble Ski is building on last year's experience. Natasha Robertson stresses that the willingness to travel is still being felt. She says there are many bookings from March 2020 that will be made up this year. Cancellation options have been made more flexible in recent months to accommodate guests' desire for more flexibility given the current situation. In terms of services, the provider is again seeing a downward trend: in the future, more guests will probably book self-catering again and not make use of the comprehensive service offer. Bookings with catering will possibly be subject to a service deposit so that the staff for the booked trip can also be organised in good time. Guests would have to pay a partial amount of the catering costs in advance. In general, more emphasis will be placed on exclusivity, private experiences and sufficient space.

Tourism wavers between self-sufficiency and exclusivity.

Picture Credits: Yves Garneau

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