Innovation That Matters

Grocery service for skiers

Travel & Tourism

Last November, we featured Picnics on the Piste, a high-end catering firm that organizes gourmet meals for skiers right on the mountainsides of plush winter resorts in Austria, France and Switzerland. While affluent travellers increasingly seek out memorable experiences of the kind Picnics on the Piste offers, an even larger market exists for companies that can make it faster and easier for vacationers to buy everyday foods and household supplies for their holiday abode. A new UK firm, Snowman’s Larder, is helping pioneer that niche in two neighbouring French ski resorts: Val d’Isère and Tignes. Customers can order online before they leave home, select a delivery time, then wait for their order upon reaching their apartment or chalet. To be sure, provisioning services have been around for a long time. Whether you’re vacationing in a time-share unit, motor home or sailing yacht, companies can set you up with food and supplies in just about any major resort area. But Snowman’s Larder is unique in several respects: the company says it can save travellers money by shopping in resort-area supermarkets instead of the higher-priced convenience stores at the resorts themselves, which shows how it has taken a business model skewed toward the affluent and adapted it to average vacationers. Snowman’s Larder’s also caters specifically to UK travellers, providing them with foods they’re familiar with. Plenty of variations could work with this model, of course. If British food works in the French Alps, for example, kosher meals might just as easily work in the Colorado Rockies. The trick, in either case, is finding potential customers without spending much on marketing. Solve that issue and you might find yourself running a profitable company in the kind of location others can only dream of. (Related: Helping parents travel lighter.) Spotted by: Katie Rowen



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