Uh huh, and what are those (apparently secret) things that you've seen? The rest of your post fails to list them.
And yet, you don't give the reasoning behind this. You merely state that it's speculation, but don't state any facts.
Wait, wait! That wasn't a reason. That was a statement.
Okay, this I'll believe. But I have to say that from what I hear, the ski resort business is in a certain amount of trouble. Are they really doing that well? What about the leveling/decline of skier visits? And the expected drop when boomer hang it up?
Again, it isn't a compelling "reason" without some facts to back up the supposed reasoning.
Yeah? Where, when? Gimme some facts, brah.
A video game? Seriously? Is that what "ski resort tycoons" use to see if their proposed innovations will work? Is that what you use to field-check your important decisions? Too funny.
Now that was a complete load of bullshit. I never proposed lowering the cost to zero, so just drop the hyperbole and "thought exercise" BS, because it's just an imaginary construct from your pissed-off mind.
This has nothing to do with my proposal. But spray on, it almost sounds like it matters.
U mad bro? Once again, if if the ski industry is doing so well, maybe you would't be getting so pissed off about my admittedly armchair proposals. All you got is "You don't know what I know" but no facts or reasoning to back that up.
If you're so certain that the industry needs $480 half-day private lessons (did "Ski Resort Tycoon" back you up on that?) then good luck to you.
I'm not mad, but I am crazy! (and that is a fact)
I'm not particularly fond of high priced lessons, but I believe that there is a place for them in this industry. I have even argued that we should be offering more (and charging more for) premium services in lessons. I also believe that there is a place for low priced and free lessons. They also belong in the industry. One benefit of high priced private lessons is that this is the most common mechanism used for increasing the compensation for highly skilled instructors (because they usually get a higher rate - e.g. 50% - for request privates). Lowering the price for privates will also lower the compensation for instructors. Yes it does not have to work that way. But because it does work that way raising the price of privates has raised the compensation to pros (at least in my personal experience).
If you want to learn how the ski industry works (rightly or wrongly, the good and the bad), get a job in the industry and acquire that knowledge the old fashioned way. It just so happens that a video game that is a simulation of the ski industry is a fair approximation of the real ski industry. So, if you want to learn about the ski industry quickly and experiment with different resort management strategies, using a simulation is way to get some good feedback about that strategy. Of course, it won't be 100% accurate. Models never are. But people use models to make decisions all the time because one usually learns something from them. I've played the game a few times and seen a lot of the same things that I've seen in real life. If that makes you think I'm nuts, I refer to the first sentence of this post. The reality is that even I don't have enough experience to get more than a token "thank you for your suggestion" as they throw my ideas in the trash. This is what happens in a business that can only implement 5% of the good ideas on the table every year. Anything that is pure speculation from outside does not make the first cut. The only pure speculation that does get implemented are low risk/low cost items. Tycoon is extremely brutal about demonstrating this point.
I can't write down 20 years of experience in one online post. That's not a secret. I have posted thousands of times here on Epic. Many of those posts have reported what I've seen in my experience. I have painfully watched a nice resort slide into bankruptcy and real savvy resort operator take over. That provided a great demonstration of what works and what doesn't in this business. I've also done a few years work as a marketing rep for the resort. That has given me access to some data that is secret (company confidential). It's also given me access to the decision makers so I could ask them "why" questions. You can learn a lot when you listen to people answer "why" questions. You don't learn a lot when you call BS.
It is a fact that what you've stated is speculation. Predicting the future is speculation. I predict that you will disagree with that. We've already seen that other large resorts charge similar expensive prices for private lessons (some more, some less). We've also seen that some resorts charge a lot less for private lessons. So there are lots of data points for private lessons at various price points across multiple resorts. This does not guarantee what would happen at Squaw if they lowered their private lesson price, but it does give the resort management at Squaw plenty of data to work with. Do you think that they don't consider their competition in Tahoe and Vail/Aspen/Whistler when they set their prices?
If you want to argue that lower prices will drive behavioral change, it's pure economic theory that the more you lower the price, the greater the change you will get (yes there is an exception for people not buying because the price is too cheap, but this undermines your argument as well). So lowering the price to zero is the ultimate test of your argument. To my knowledge no resort has ever tried giving lessons (either private or group) away for a full season. However, there are many examples of resorts offering free or effectively free group lessons. Do these experiences create the ability to 100% accurately predict what would happen if private lessons were offered for free? No. Do they give resort management enough information to make a comfortable assessment? In my experience, yes. Does it help management understand the decision making guests use when guests decide whether or not to take a lesson? If you don't like the zero price scenario, fine. Take the model I laid out and plug in different numbers. Come up with something that works that also minimizes risk of failure. If you want a resort to lower the price on a product to make more money, you'll have to show them how it is going to work if voting with your feet is not strong enough. The ultimate proof is everyone voting with their feet, er, skis. It is a fact that this is not happening.
My resort has a program where new skiers can get free lessons for the first season after the first visit. We have another program where skiers who buy a "night" season pass get free lessons. We have a frequent skier card that offers skiers a 40% discount on group lessons. The group package tickets offer lift, rental and lessons for less than the price of lift+rental (i.e. the lessons are thrown in for free). We support the Pennsylvania learn to ski for free program (one day - all residents of the state can learn to ski for free - lift/lesson/rental). We typically offer early season deals for learn to ski ($39 for a complete beginner package) and regular lessons ($10 - which are mostly privates for anything above level 3 except when family members show up together). Employees can get lessons for free. Free private lessons for employees (cough) "can" happen. The list price on lessons has more than doubled since when I started teaching. The percentage of people paying list price has fallen dramatically. We know the stats on all these things, but I can't reveal them in public. What I can reveal is that our management believes from their experience that the price of lessons is relatively inelastic compared to the price of lift tickets. We've seen significant, but not overwhelming response to lower lesson prices. But we've also seen insignificant response to higher prices (note that lower price options were available to people who bothered to hunt for them). Yes, group lessons are not the same as private lessons. But they are not a lot different either (and oh BTW - some people do learn more effectively in group lessons). There are always people complaining about the high prices of private lessons, but raising the price a small amount every season does not lower the demand.
I've seen my resort sell a private lesson when the use of that one instructor for a private caused a group lesson to go out with 20 students instead of having two groups of 10. I've also a seen a guest be refused to have a 1 hour private lesson with me (because of a shortage of instructors for groups), only to have that guest buy a (much cheaper) group lesson and end up getting me as a private instructor for a 90 minute "group" lesson 10 minutes later. There is no shortage of stupid things that we do in this business. But there are usually good reasons why we do stupid things. For every good idea, there are a 100 buts. There are a lot of butts in this business.
Resort management is aware that higher quality and lower priced lessons can drive an increase in lessons taken and that there is a definite link between lessons taken and an increase in skier visits per skier. Lowering the price of private lessons would seem to fit within this concept. Butt is not that simple. I've reported elsewhere about the NSAA "Model for Growth". The industry is well aware of our demographic path to destruction and has a plan to avoid it. That plan is not achieving the target goals, but it is having a positive effect. The skier visits for the last 10 years are better than the previous 10. It's not a fact that resort owners know what they are doing, butt there is strong evidence to support this theory. There are no simple answers for how to make the industry healthier beyond this one - hard work. I decided 20 years ago that I had no right to complain about things unless I was involved. Teaching has been the hardest job I've ever done.