View Full Version : Lakes Region resorts and attractions optimistic

04-29-2011, 12:30 PM
In today's LDS (http://www.laconiadailysun.com/files/pdfarchivenew/LaconiaPDF/2011/04_April/29L.pdf) there is an article about how the Lakes Region resorts and attractions are optimistic that 2011 will be the best they've seen in years.

Advance reservations have hospitality professionals optimistic about summer business
Apr 29, 2011 12:00 am

MEREDITH — A strong showing in advance reservations has Lakes Region resorts and attractions optimistic that the summer of 2011 will be the best they've seen in years.

Reservations at the Inns and Spa at Mill Falls are up nearly 20 percent over last year according to Michelle Brown, marketing director for the four inns on Meredith Bay, which have a combined total of 159 rooms.

"We are thrilled that both leisure and business travel reservations are coming in early and at such a high rate, and we are optimistic that it is indicative of a strong summer for tourism in the Lakes Region," she says.

Brown says that corporate meetings and social events at the inns are showing an increase of nearly 25 percent, which points to a rebounding state and regional economy.

She’s not the only one enthused about the coming summer season.

Michelle DuPont, owner and innkeeper of the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa in Lakeport, says that reservations for the summer season are up significantly over last year with many weekends in which major events are being held already sold out.

"They’re definitely better. We’re really excited about the summer season. More people are booking ahead instead of waiting until the last minute,’’ says DuPont.

She said that at the Spa and Conference Center bookings up by 20 percent.

It’s the same story at the Naswa Resort on Weirs Boulevard where Jim Lowell, director of operations, says that reservations are up by 20 percent over where they were last year at this time.

"We’re doing great. We’re way ahead of last year,’’ says Lowell.

He says that high gas prices may actually be helping bring visitors from nearby to the area.

"Our main market is the Boston area and southern New Hampshire. People are looking at vacationing closer to home, a tank of gas away, and that accounts for a lot of our early bookings,’’ says Lowell.

That sentiment is echoed by Fred Clausen of Proctor’s Lakeside Cottages on Weirs Boulevard, where bookings are already up by 20 percent over last year.

"With the price of gas so high, people are looking to stay locally. That’s good for us in our nearby market area,’’ says Clausen.

Jim Morash, captain of the cruise ship Mount Washington, where the charter business for weddings and functions is up by a significant amount, agrees that high gas prices may actually help bring people to the Lakes Region.

"The unemployment rate in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts is a lot lower than the national average. So the people who have jobs are going to be looking for vacations and recreation and will be coming here because that’s what he have to offer and we’re closer than other destinations,’’ says Morash.

He says that it’s too early to get a read on how well the Winnipesaukee Flagship Company’s cruise ships will fare this summer, but reasons that with the increase in reservations there will be more potential customers around.

Denise Mcguire, general manager of the Misty Harbor Resort in Gilford, says that bookings "are great compared to last year. It’s very encouraging.’’

She says that special events are a big part of the reason why reservations are up.

"We've got 10 weddings planned and being close to the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center really helps. We’re already fully booked for some of their concerts, including the Country Throwdown on Memorial Day weekend. It’s looking like a really good summer for us,’’ says Mcguire.

Elaine Blinn of the Belknap Point Motel in Gilford says that reservations are ahead of last year and that they are fully booked already for the annual Timberman Triathlon in August.

She says that bookings for Bike Week in June are a little slow but expects that they will fill up in the weeks ahead. And that reservations are strong for both of NASCAR races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, which will also be hosting an IndyCar race this summer.

One exception to the increase in bookings is the Shalimar Resort near Lake Winnisquam in Tilton, where owner Sharon Spanos said reservations were at the same level as last year.

"We didn't sell out for Bike Week last year but we’re hoping that we will this year,’’ she said.

Spanos said the Shalimar is keeping its rates low because it has to compete with two nearby national chains, the Hampton Inn and Motel 8.

Visitors to the area will find a host of new attractions says Kim Sperry, executive vice president of Lakes Region Tourism, which was formerly known as the Lakes Region Association.

"The Lakes Region is buzzing with all sorts of new activity, from new businesses to existing businesses making substantial capital improvement,’’ said Sperry.

One of the new attractions, the American Police Motorcycle Museum, will be opening in May in Meredith while Monkey Trunks, a high rope and zip line park, will be open at Funspot on Rte. 3 near Weirs Beach.

Also new will be a skytrail adventure ropes course at the Daytona Fun Park at Weirs Beach and an aerial treetop adventures, a 3900 foot long zip line tour and Segway tours at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford.

05-04-2011, 06:07 AM
That is good news, hopefully pointing toward an economic recovery and confidence by the public.

I have felt we were recovering, but am concerned that the rising cost of gas will dampen it.