Striving for Excellence, Surpassing Expectations
Established in 2010, Powder N Shine is an owner-run catered ski chalet company, based out of Reberty Village in the Three Valleys. Following their success in winning the 2017’s Best for Luxury Ski Trips & Chalets accolade, we enjoyed a chat with the firm’s owner and director, Francesca Smith to learn more.
Powder N Shine is an owner-run catered ski chalet company, situated at an altitude of 2000m. All four of the chalets are located within the piste-side collection of properties, that enjoy fantastic access to the full ski area. Francesca Smith kicks things off by revealing more details about the firm and how they ensure that they provide the best possible service to all guests.
“With the location, unparalleled, we decided from the inception of the firm to have a strong focus on food, wine and service, which has seen us gain dozens of loyal return guests and allowed the expansion from one chalet in the 2010/11 chalet to four catered chalets (plus two self-catered apartments) from the 2016/17 season.
“Every guest that comes through the doors of the Powder N Shine chalets is treated with the same level of importance. We try to be as helpful and thorough as possible from the moment the initial enquiry comes in, right through to when that guest leaves the chalet. This communication allows people to pre-book essentials such as ski passes, lessons and equipment prior to their visit, to ensure they get exactly what they want and to avoid spending time in resort on the ‘admin’.
“As owners, we make sure to meet all guests when they are in resort as we (and guests), like to put faces to names. Occasionally, we will have a meal with guests in the chalets (not when it is a full chalet booking), to build on the rapport developed through the booking journey.”
Francesca adds that they feel that their brand, in all its guises – electronic through the website and e-mails, the chalets and all their members of staff, reflects the firm’s focus on the guests and their holiday experience. She goes on to develop this fascinating point to us.
“One particular example is our creation of ski itineraries that are in a folder in each chalet, to which guests are free to help themselves to experience the mountain. These itineraries are split by ability level (beginner to expert) and were our attempt to replace the informal ‘ski hosting’ we occasionally undertook to show guests around the ski area, before it became impossible to do so, whilst still giving guests that feeling of importance and reassurance, not to mention pinpointing some of the mountains’ finest eateries!
“With our high altitude and easy access to Val Thorens, Europe’s highest and critically acclaimed ski resort, this negates to some degree the dangers of climate change and the impact of late snow arrival; there was one season where our first guests arrived before the first real snowfall. In this instance, these guests were anticipating a gourmet walking holiday, but we partnered up with a transfer firm to shuttle people up to Val Thorens and back every day – the resort had been open for two weeks there by that point – so the guests’ expectations were well and truly exceeded.”
On what makes this establishment unique and sets them apart from other luxury ski trips & chalets, Francesca reveals more to us.
“Whilst there are other high-end accommodation providers in the valley, there are none that can compete with Powder N Shine in terms of positioning relative to the skiing. Three of the four chalets have balconies that directly overlook the slopes, and being at 2000m, the village is truly “ski-in, ski-out” (skiing out on the piste, rather than immediately having to take a lift, which some operators consider to be ski-in, ski-out).
“With the firm’s focus on food and wine, and the associated level of our professional Chalet Chefs, we distinguish ourselves from the immediate competition within the village, much of which is focused on the family market, which they cater for well. Interestingly, it is perceptible that the level of food and service of the other tour operators in the immediate vicinity has increased since our arrival in the village, which may be simply the changing market or could potentially be attributed to them reacting to our firm’s presence and philosophy.”
In closing, Francesca brings the conversation back to the firm’s work, by offering a glimpse into what the future holds for them.
“In the wake of Brexit (or at least the decision ‘to Brexit’), the tourism industry faces many challenges, especially those of us whose income is in sterling with expenses in euros, and the relative strength of the two at present. Further complications are (potentially) on the horizon in terms of the recruitment of UK employees, so all companies will need to innovate and develop to fit with the uncertain economic conditions.
“We have a renewed focus on the summer aspect of the business, with our chalets proving a popular choice this summer for clients from across Europe – Belgium, France and the UK. As with the winter sports, we are keen cyclists (mountain and road), which I believe helps when selling those activities to our guests, and as such the firm are on hand to offer advice on routes and indeed occasionally accompany guests, if time permits.
“We are in the process of designing a holiday tailored to road cyclists that incorporates several well-known local routes and itineraries from the Tour de France, with a support vehicle in place for those super keen road biking enthusiasts.”
Company: Powder N Shine
Name: Francesca Smith
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.powdernshine.com
Address: The Manor House, Bix, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 4RS UK
Telephone: 44 (0) 845 163 7596