Marketing the summer in Meribel

We’re taking our blog in a slightly new direction adding topics that come up in our day-to-day running of Alpine Ethos for those of you who are interested.  We’ll cover issues about running a small business, marketing, social media and web-design.  Here’s our first “In house” post.

This week, with the arrival of warmer weather, our thoughts have turned to summer. Last year it was announced that this summer Meribel would host the final UCI Down Hill (DH) World Cup event of the season (from 21-24 August). This is a huge event in mountain-biking circles as it sees the world’s best DH mountain bikers complete the annual 7 stage series and will almost certainly decide who tops the standings.

Meribel has hosted a leg of the French DH championships for the the past 3 years
Meribel has hosted a leg of the French DH championships for the the past 3 years

As keen mountain-bikers ourselves and followers of the World Cup we were stoked and started thinking about how we could get involved.  We emailed some of the teams with info about our chalet and what we could offer them and were delighted when the Madison Saracen team confirmed they wanted to stay.

That was nearly a year ago now but recently we’ve been contacted by a few other team managers who weren’t ready to book last year.  They remembered our email however and have been in touch as they are struggling to find accommodation in Meribel.  Now, you may think that this is a problem for the tourist office but it seems to us that there is a much broader issue here concerning small businesses like ours in certain resorts.  Here’s some context…

When you think of Meribel you’re bound to think of a world class winter resort in the heart of the Three Valleys ski domain.  However, unbeknownst to many people Meribel also has a huge number of activities on offer during the summer months of July and August.  Several ski lifts are open allowing hikers and mountain-bikers to ascend the mountains on either side of the valley in pursuit of views and adrenaline packed (or not) descents.

A couple of hours from Motteret and you can have lunch at the Refuge du Saut in the Vanoise national park
A couple of hours from Motteret and you can have lunch at the Refuge du Saut in the Vanoise national park

There is also a swimming pool (with slide) with big windows opening onto a grassy sun-spot, tennis courts, a horse-riding stable, a via-ferrata course (like rock climbing where you are harnessed onto the wire course), a high ropes park in the forest (like Go Ape in the UK), a golf course and nearby a swimming lake to enjoy. There are several bars and restaurants open (ok not the full complement enjoyed by winter holiday-makers but you won’t go hungry/thirsty).

Obviously our favourite part of the non-winter activities is the mountain biking.  We’re talking extensive down hill and enduro/all mountain style biking with a number of brand new, purpose built, gnarly, adrenaline pumping singletrack trails most mountain-bikers would give their right arm to ride on any given weekend.  Get yourself an IGN map and you’ll discover a staggering number of natural trails running from peak to valley bottom.

So given all these activities it is hard for us to understand why Meribel doesn’t really feature on the destination list of holiday-makers looking for their fair share of adventure on summer holiday.  Did we also mention that Meribel lives up to its “sunny valley” nickname?

So what can we do about it? Well, Alpine Ethos has a summer website (which we’re in the process of updating to match our new winter site) covering all that is fun to do in and around the resort as does the Meribel Tourist Office.  But apart from these and a few accommodation providers listed on chalet-finder type websites indicating that they are open year-round that’s about it.  So there’s no collateral.  There’s no collective marketing effort extolling the virtues of  Meribel as a stunning location in which to holiday and partake in the activities mentioned.

We do understand that competition for summer holiday-makers is enormous with world-wide resorts spending millions advertising their specific brand of holiday and that’s before we’ve even considered our local alpine competitors attracting their fair share of adventure seekers such as Morzine, Les Deux Alpes and Chamonix.

That said, it feels like Meribel is in a chicken and egg situation – bring the World Cup to Meribel to put the resort on the summer holiday map and put people off  as they struggle to find (open) accommodation or don’t hold the events such as these and suffer from unfilled beds in the few places that are open.

So what is the solution? Answers on a postcard….

Progress at Chalet Les Cabris

This a little picture blog about our new chalet for next season, Chalet Les Cabris. We hope you like it….

Chalet Les Cabris started life as a traditional Savoyarde barn…

Chalet Les Cabris pre-renovation
Chalet Les Cabris pre-renovation

With planning permission granted, work got underway on 1st April 2014 dismantling the existing structure to turn it into an 8 person chalet and a one bedroom apartment with parking.

Chalet les Cabris being dismantled
The barn is dismantled from the roof down

And by the end of April there was nothing left but a hole in the ground…

Hole where a chalet will be
This is where the old barn was and the new chalet and apartment will be

But then, from the ground, the new chalet started to rise…

First wall of Chalet Les Cabris
The first wall of the chalet, 1st May 2014

And by 14th May it looked like this…

Chalet Les Cabris 14 May 2014
The building work is progressing quickly

We’re looking forward to seeing the building grow over the summer until it looks a bit like this…

Architect's drawing of Chalet Les Cabris
Architect’s drawing of Chalet Les Cabris

We’ll be keeping our picture blog updated as the build moves along. In the meantime if you would like to take advantage of our special offer of a 15% discount on all winter 2014-15 bookings in Chalet Les Cabris get in touch before 1st June (that’s when the offer expires).

It’s all New! New! New! at Alpine Ethos

New Chalet!

Introducing Chalet Les Cabris

Be the first guests to stay in our new chalet! Based right in the centre of Les Allues, Chalet Les Cabris, is a traditional barn that is currently being converted into a modern, stylish chalet. It will sleep up to 8 guests across 4 en-suite bedrooms and will feature a modern, bright lounge and dining area with stylish log burner and a large terrace with an outdoor hot tub – what’s not to like? The renovation has already begun so keep your eyes peeled as we post photos of its progress.

Check out the chalet details, plans and impressions so far.

Your holiday will include our usual attentive service from booking to departure, chalet catering (breakfast, afternoon tea & 3 course evening meals with wine), room servicing and a minibus service to the slopes and back.

To launch the chalet we are offering an incredible 15% discount off our listed prices for any bookings received before 1st June 2014. This is a limited time offer only. See availability and book here.

New Self-catered Apartment!

Le Petit Cabri

Next season we are also offering a brand new self-catered apartment on the same site as the new chalet, ideal for those looking for a bit more flexibility from their ski holiday.  The new apartment will feel spacious for 2 people but can sleep up to 4 people comfortably.  It will have one bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, dining seating for 4 people, a lounge with sofa bed and bathroom.

We are offering the apartment on a weekly basis from Sunday to Sunday and will be on hand to help with anything you might need during your stay. Check out prices and availability.

New Winter Website!

To showcase our new chalet, self-catered apartment and of course our existing chalet St Joseph and provide even more helpful information for your stay we have launched a new website. Easily viewable on phones, tablets and computers we hope you like it and can find everything you might need to know for your next ski holiday with us. We would love you to take a look and share it with your friends. Ahhh, go on!

Our Five Year Anniversary Video

You can get all our news (including a very special announcement) on our new video.  Watch it below:

Summer Holidays in Chalet St Joseph

We are throwing open the chalet doors this summer ready to welcome visitors looking to make the most of the alpine activities on offer (hiking, mountain-biking, climbing, road-biking, lake swimming and more).

The three units of the chalet are available on a self-catered basis from June to the end of September.  August is filling up quickly but we still have some weeks available and plenty of availability in July. Prices work out at less than £100 per person per week based on a minimum of 4 people sharing. Check out our prices and availability and get in touch if you would like to get booked in.

This post is taken from our latest Mailchimp email.  If you would like to sign up to our mailing list you can do so here so you never miss out on our news and offers.