post by : caroline.blanc1
Who has ever dreamed of spending a night under the starry sky ? Being able to see the stars with a see-through ceiling over your head or sleeping just right in front of one of the highest summits in Europe, doesn’t that sound appealing ?
It is a trend going on for a few years now driving more and more places lucky enough to have the perfect environment to offer unique experiences by building accommodations exploiting the nice setting they are given.
An unusual accommodation can be defined as a place where you can stay and that provides you an unique and out of the ordinary experience regarding its location or the service it offers.
You can have a range of experiences in different places like mountains, near the sea, in the nature, in the air and so on. It is more like an adventure than if you just spend a night in an ordinary hotel.
People using that kind of accommodations are mostly seeking for a new experience involving nice scenery, tranquility, originality and uniqueness. Even though the price is quite high, people choose to not take it into consideration focusing more on the experience than money. Most of the tourists are staying only for one night or the weekend. The clients are mostly couples (57%) and groups of friends (23%).
The market in Switzerland is still growing and not as evolved as in other countries like France, where unusual accommodations are easy to find.
A lot of places in Valais are offering those kind of experiences, mostly because the landscape and the scenery are a big selling point and attract a lot of people.
For instance Iglu Dorf in Zermatt, where you not only sleep in it but also have to construct it.
The Chetzeron in Crans-Montana located at 2112 meters in the mountains boasting its incredible view over the Alps or the Gornergrat in Zermatt built just right in front of the Matterhorn are also well-known examples included in what Valais has to offer in terms of unusual places to stay.
Since many chalets can be found in the mountains of Valais, locals are restoring theirs and turning them into accommodations for tourists. As we can see in the small village of La Forclaz, where they restored six agricultural chalets and named it “Anako Lodge”.
Moreover, the canton of Valais shares a tiny piece of Lake Geneva and this is interesting because over there are various offers such as spending a night on a boat floating on the lake.
Comparison with France
Started about fifteen years ago, the business of unusual accommodations appeared in France quite early compared to some of her peers. The french market is mostly focused on treehouses, allowing several booking websites specialized in that kind of service to be created. The main purpose of this new service was to provide a place away from the city, where its guests could rest quietly and connect with nature.
In France, the unusual accommodation market covers 6.5% of the total turnover of the hotel business in 2016. (2.5 billion euros). For 2020, they expect an increase of 20% per year.
While in France various experiences are offered such as spending a night surrounded by animals in a zoo or in the middle of a forest in their many treehouses, Switzerland still has room for improvements. The market here is mostly concentrated on places set in the mountains, bringing landscapes to the front scene. But Switzerland is not limited by mountains and breathtaking views, therefore she has many ways of expanding her offer. Restoring more chalets or huts to provide an unique experience to live like a local back in the day or combining the swiss wildlife with tourism by offering experiences with animals outdoors or even in a farm are some ideas to explore.
Nonetheless, Swiss tourism is already thriving regarding its success in the ski resorts field and by operating many sightseeing spots, attracting every year plenty of tourists from all around the world.