ROSEMONT, Ill. -- DER Travel Services here expanded its winter
holidays roster with new ski vacations in Austria and Switzerland
as well as more spa offerings in Austria and Germany.
New Austrian programs feature Igls, near Innsbruck and Lech.
Prices with air, transfers, dinners and breakfasts and
accommodations at the 80-room Bon Alpina in Igls and the 30-room
Brunnehof in Lech run from $872, to $1,622, double, depending on
Gary Haverkamp, director of product development for DER, noted
that Austria's prices were about 30% lower than Switzerland's and
comparable to those at Colorado ski resorts such as Breckenridge.
Overall, Haverkamp said, prices in Austria and Switzerland stayed
the same as last year.
Austria was the leading ski destination for DER last year,
Haverkamp said, a trend he expects to continue this year. He
acknowledged that some skiers "prefer Switzerland because it offers
more consistent conditions, whereas Austria has some of the fastest
slopes." "I think one reason our clients like Austria is because it
has several resorts, such as Innsbruck, Kitzbuhel and Salzburg,
which are close to towns or cities with nonskiing activities such
as nightlife, sightseeing and shopping."
He predicted the Salzburg Ski As You Please program would be
DER's best seller because it lets clients spend seven nights in one
of Austria's most historically rich cities while skiing as much or
as little as they prefer. The program, with accommodations at the
140-room Novotel in the city center, is priced from $990 to $1,275,
double, depending on the season. The plan includes air,
accommodations, daily breakfasts and dinners, a rental car, a
casino visit, museum entrance fee and a classical concert.
Last year, DER's Switzerland programs did not do as well as
Haverkamp had hoped, which he attributes to the lesser-known names
of the resorts that were offered. "Americans like to go where they
recognize a name, so places like Yverdon and Montana, while
wonderful, didn't fare well," he said.
This year's selection adds St. Moritz, Davos, Villars and
Grindelwald. A seven-night package at the 170-room Hotel
Laudinella, 900 feet from the ski lifts, is priced from $1,212,
double, including daily breakfasts and dinners, accommodations and
DER also expanded its winter spa offerings to include the
70-room Hotel Weismayr, a 19th century resort in Badgastein, while
also featuring five German spas, such as Bad Brueckenau in the
Bavarian Rhon Hills and Freiburg Sud. Prices per night, per person,
double, including breakfast range from $72 at the German spas to
$115 at Hotel Weismayr.
In its selection of spas, DER was careful to pick resorts that
had a history with the American market, Haverkamp said. This year's
winter brochure also features Swiss rail tours for independent
travelers, golf packages in Cintra, Portugal, and three properties
on Spain's Costa del Sol.
DER Travel Services, Phone: (800) 782-2424, Fax: (800) 282-7474,