How do you choose the best area for an investment ski property?

If you’re looking for your perfect investment ski property to take advantage of the market – and you’ve read our five-point guide to letting a ski home – then you’ll know how crucial location is to making a success of it. This week, we’re taking a deeper dive into choosing the perfect spot, with the help of the latest data for the April 2019 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism.

Choose a location with a diverse market base

For good letting potential, consider the diversity of visitors in the market. 20% of ski resorts in the world receive a massive 80% of skiers – and 44% of skiers go to the Alps. Austria and France top the rankings, as the only countries with more than ten resorts generating more than a million visits per season.

It’s not just overall numbers, however: consider the diversity of the market. If you find a resort with a broad range of visitors, then you’re more likely to be able to survive any dips in the market. There’s a huge number of outbound skiers from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, but they’re not necessarily widely spread – the most visited countries for these are Austria, France and Italy. Overall, Austria has just over 40% of visitors from abroad and France, 30%.

Three-bedroom apartment in La Plagne for €313,132.

Choosing a location that’s popular among both domestic and international visitors gives you a market with a preference for both short and longer visits, which can be crucial for helping to keep an investment ski property filled throughout the season.

Prepare to attract a new clientele

That said, although the statistics for now show the biggest nominal participation rate in skiing as firmly in Western Europe, the landscape could well be set to change within just a decade. In fact, we’re already seeing changes: we’ve written previously about the rise of the Chinese in the ski market. Interest in the Winter Olympics is stimulating growth in the sport in mainland China and the number of skiers is expected to hit 118 million by 2022. For reference, there are an estimated 130 million skiers worldwide, at the moment.

Equally, there is a shift in interest seen among millennials in the West – interest in skiing is showing a slight negative trend, and many prefer the experience combined with other elements. Just excellent ski facilities aren’t enough; they’re looking for great dining, accommodation and more.

Four-bedroom chalet in Mégève, France, for €970,000.

All this means that, as the owner of a ski investment property, you need to be prepared to attract a different kind of skier – with a location that sells the ‘full package’ experience.

Think about your client base’s priorities

A common trap to fall into can be choosing a location for a ski investment property based on what you’d like, rather than what appeals to the most to the broadest market. Instead, find somewhere that does meet those requirements, and then leverage that to your audience base.

For example, studies show that skiers’ number one priority is the size of the resort – so look for somewhere with a quality mark, such as Montenius’ Seal of Approval and Verified Piste Length award. With more and more customers coming from areas without a tradition of visiting European ski resorts, such as the Chinese, having a location where you can highlight these benefits as certified can help to reassure them.

Consider accessibility

Think about how accessible where you buy your ski investment property is. There are obvious elements such as whether it’s close to an airport, but think also about accessibility to/from other cities and attractions. If you can be part of a route of a wider holiday, you have more chance of attracting those who want to ski as part of a larger experience.

Two-bedroom apartment in Zell am See, Austria, for €500,00.

To find out more about buying a ski investment property to let out, download your free buying guides for all the major countries, including France, Italy and Spain. They’re packed with comprehensive information on the purchase process, legalities, taxes and more.