Switzerland’s alternative accommodation industry performed well over the summer and pre-bookings suggest a solid winter season. Higher numbers of German tourists are said to be a key driver of this development although stays are getting shorter, according to a recent survey.
The Swiss Parahotellerieexternal link, an interest group focused on overnight accommodation outside the standard hotel sector, trumpeted the return of “German customers” in a press release published on Monday. This is part of findings from a survey conducted by the group’s members – Interhome, Reka, Swiss Youth Hostels, TCS Camping, and Bed and Breakfast Switzerland.
Interhome Switzerland, which rents holiday homes and apartments, has recorded a 12.2% increase in bookings for the winter compared to last year, which had already benefited from an increase in demand. The two weeks around Christmas and New Year's has seen bookings increase by 30%.
This increase is spread evenly across Switzerland, says Roger Müller, head of Interhome Switzerland, who talks about a "mass return of German customers". For the summer, Interhome reported an 11% increase in bookings.
Reka, the second largest holiday apartment specialist in Swiss Parahotellerie, increased its turnover by 6.1% over the summer and boasts a 7.8% increase in revenue from winter bookings compared to last year. However, the company cautions that school holiday weeks have been booked earlier than last year. Snow coverage will also influence earnings for the 2018-2019 winter season.
On the camping front, the 13.1% increase in overnight stays recorded during the summer has raised the hopes of winter camping providers. TCS Camping offers heated cabins and mobile homes on its sites in Sion, Samedan, Scuol, Lugano, and Solothurn. The town of Scuol in the Engadine region is trying to make its mark in winter camping.
The Swiss Youth Hostels report an "extremely” favorable situation for winter bookings (+9%). However, the summer was a disappointment, with a 1% decline in bookings.
Bed and Breakfast (B&B) establishments reported a 2.4% increase in overnight stays during the summer, mainly due to the influx of customers from Germany (+7.8%). On the other hand, the number of Italian customers fell.