For years I have been running ski holidays in the beautiful alpine resort of Chatel. During this time, we have worked with a fantastic ski hire shop.
For our clients, it is important that a ski shop offers good service, and makes the whole process of hiring skis or snowboards as effortless as possible. Of course good equipment and competitive prices are also of paramount importance. It is for all these reasons that we work with our preferred ski hire partner.
Enter the internet. Now holidaymakers, especially Brits, tend to cast around online before coming on holiday trying to get the best deals for everything. It is easy to become obsessed with squeezing every last euro off a deal, and easy to forget that something has got to give. That something tends to be levels of service, and quality of equipment.
Over the last couple of seasons, we have found increasing numbers of clients didn’t wait until they got to Chatel and pre-book their equipment despite our advice not to. Consequently, they often don’t get what their bargained for.
The most frequent complaints from our clients who have pre-booked their ski equipment are;
That they were lead to believe that by paying in advance, they would have specific equipment put aside for them. On arrival at the shop, they found that they had to queue for a long time, and there was no equipment put aside for them.
- Staff in the shops were surly and unhelpful, and were completely overwhelmed by the number of clients they had to serve.
- The equipment offered to them wasn’t of a particular high quality.
- After sales service was pretty much nonexistent (no assistance with broken equipment or swapping skis.
- The price (despite the large discounts promised online) wasn’t really any different to walking in off the street.
We have worked with one ski shop in Chatel for the last 8 years, and there are a number of very good reasons why we carry on using them, and why our clients are always very happy with us for suggesting;
- The service is fantastic – people are in and out very quickly even during the busy school holiday weekends.
- The equipment is top quality.
- The after sales service is second to none. For example, if a client doesn’t ski for one day during their week’s holiday, the shop won’t charge them for this. Also, if a client wants to swap from skis to snowboard midway through the week, they do this at no extra charge.
- The prices are some of the lowest in resort.
At some point in the future, the service and in-resort systems of ski shops will catch up with the technology. Until such time, if your ski chalet owner or tour operator recommends a ski hire shop for you, don’t just dismiss it in favour of online booking, otherwise you may be disappointed.
Read more about ski hire in Chatel.