High / Low season f...
 
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High / Low season for business

 
cookieboss
(@cookieboss)
Advanced Member

Good day everyone! A question concerning business on STT......
I have been following all of the news I could find including the cruise ship schedules. I've noticed that there is a significant difference in the number of ships in port during certain times of the year. Would someone be so kind as to define for me the typical "busy" months and the "slow" months, and does the "on island" tourist season follow the same trend as the cruise ships?
Thanks to everyone for participating in the forum!!! 😎

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Topic starter Posted : June 4, 2012 9:39 pm
Marty on STT
(@Marty_on_STT)
Trusted Member

Our high season is from about mid-November to the beginning of May...some publications list it as Dec. 15th to May 1st, but I think the hotels start filling up right before T-day...

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Posted : June 4, 2012 11:01 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

The Caribbean gets fewer ships each year, and the hotels don't make up the difference. Though there are more people during the winter months, they tend to spend less and less each year. Note the travel forums and how many people are looking for bargains and public transportation. Two souvenir stores on Main St closed for good this month, and the summer looks dismal. A few attractions may be and restaurants may be doing well, but for the most part, it's pretty grim.

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Posted : June 5, 2012 12:52 am
Ms Information
(@Ms_Information)
Advanced Member

There is always some disagreement about high season and what it means. But yes, there is a big decline in tourist traffic during the the late summer, early fall months.

I am from stx, so I find all of the congestion from ship arrivals in St Thomas to be overwhelming. However I am glad that they keep coming. I do question ms411's comment that the Caribbean gets fewer ships every year.

My search instead shows that despite year to year fluctuations the ship arrivals have continued to climb over the past decade. We do know that even St Croix gets a stray ship now and then. What are the real numbers?

http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/v-i-becoming-more-dependent-on-cruise-passengers-1.1198149

http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2012_2nd/May12_VirginIslands.html

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Posted : June 5, 2012 1:52 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

One common misconception about fewer ship arrivals is that many of the smaller ships have been replaced with gargantuan sailing towns. Each one of these monsters hold approximately four to five times as many passengers as did the smaller ships ... it's the passenger counts which tell the true story and in those I don't believe there's been any decline at all if not the opposite.

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Posted : June 5, 2012 2:32 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Regardless of whether the number of tourists is declining or rising, it's the amount of money they spend, and every survey shows declines. What good are hoards of people who don't spend money?

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Posted : June 5, 2012 8:10 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Regardless of whether the number of tourists is declining or rising, it's the amount of money they spend, and every survey shows declines. What good are hoards of people who don't spend money?

There's no dispute there at all and this has been happening for years now as the economy has declined. Ms Information questioned the reduction in cruise ship arrivals which you mentioned and I was commenting upon that. This is most definitely not a good period for businesses (nor for anyone here for that matter since it's a trickle-down economy mainly dependent upon tourism) and the trend of store closures will I'm sure continue until the world economy starts to recover.

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Posted : June 5, 2012 10:52 am
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

When it is cold in the north hemisphere, people like to "go where it's warm", to borrow from Jimmy B. So December through about April is the main season. Then there are weddings in June, family vacations in the summer. Hurricane season slows things down a bit, especially September into early October.

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Posted : June 5, 2012 11:08 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

It seems obvious that winters are not as cold as they once were and getting warmer on the mainland every year. Hence, the Caribbean doesnt hold the same allure as it once did. Perhaps things will pick up again once the next ice age is upon us.

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Posted : June 5, 2012 11:53 am
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Here's a good source for monitoring cruise ship arrivals.

http://www.vinow.com/general_usvi/cruiseship/ship_schedule.php

The territory did see an increase in 2011, but that included both STT and STX. STT either was flat or had a very tiny increase in ship call. Note the decline for this year, but one ship we lost this summer is being replaced by another sister ship.

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Posted : June 5, 2012 12:09 pm
sttanon
(@sttanon)
Advanced Member

The port calls are gitting a bit better but things are still slow. Even with the port calls remaining constant people have not been spending the money like they usually do.....

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Posted : June 11, 2012 5:35 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

The port calls are gitting a bit better but things are still slow. Even with the port calls remaining constant people have not been spending the money like they usually do.....

I wonder what years you're going on when saying that? I'm not being combative so please don't react! When I made STT my home close to 30 years ago the exact same sentiments were being expressed by then old timers who remembered the days when cruise ship visitors took advantage of the duty free status and purchased major high end items. Cruise ship visitors at that time were very affluent.

As time went on, cruise ship prices went down, down, down and attracted a much larger segment of the general population who could easily afford the passage but didn't have the financial wherewithal to purchase those high end items. Merchants rallied in turn and offered unique but less expensive items to attract that demographic. As cruise ship prices lowered even more, many merchants likewise adjusted their stock items. Although they maintained their "high end" stock, they sought to bring in less expensive items to offer.

And thus it continues on right now.

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Posted : June 11, 2012 6:17 pm
sttanon
(@sttanon)
Advanced Member

I wonder what years you're going on when saying that? I'm not being combative so please don't react! When I made STT my home close to 30 years ago the exact same sentiments were being expressed by then old timers who remembered the days when cruise ship visitors took advantage of the duty free status and purchased major high end items. Cruise ship visitors at that time were very affluent.

And thus it continues on right now.

You are right OldTart and as far as the years you can see a decline even over say the last 5 years for instance. The price in cruises dropping has definitely changed the demographic of tourists that are visiting. Another problem to a degree is that there is a oversaturation of luxury stores downtown ( in STT at least ). People in this economy will buy 3 for 10 dollar t-shirts but are not as likely to but a diamond ring for instance. I've even noticed a decline in the liquor being sold, something that was always big because of the price....

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Posted : June 13, 2012 2:13 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

The VI doesn't have the price competitive advantage that it once did, so there's almost no incentive for anybody to shop for items here that they can find at home or online at probably comparable or lower prices.

The expenses of doing business here can't support a store selling 3 for $10 t-shirts. Unless rents are drastically reduced to reflect the current business climate, more and more stores will be closing.

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Posted : June 13, 2012 4:34 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

The VI doesn't have the price competitive advantage that it once did, so there's almost no incentive for anybody to shop for items here that they can find at home or online at probably comparable or lower prices.

The expenses of doing business here can't support a store selling 3 for $10 t-shirts. Unless rents are drastically reduced to reflect the current business climate, more and more stores will be closing.

And business owners in order to stay in business have to know their market and adjust their inventory accordingly, staying not just one step but five steps ahead all the time. Most business property owners who offer long term commercial leases pretty much (at least in my experience) only raise rents based on annual COL indices (written into the leases) and can't afford to slash rents and thus operate at a loss. New businesses have historically come and gone like the Trade winds and thus it will ever be regardless of the general economic climate.

As so many statesiders move here hoping to find jobs and live what they think will be life in the slower lane under tropical skies, so do some prospective business owners think that setting up shop here will be easy. Even when they read the negatives they cling to the illusion that what they have to offer is "different" and that they'll succeed where others have failed. It's an illusion which quickly gives way to a harsh reality.

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Posted : June 13, 2012 6:05 pm
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