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Would this work??

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
dwoof2 started a thread about considering the long range weather forecast before buying a season's pass. Weather and work load are probably the two biggies that go into the decision to buy a season's pass.

What would happen if a ski area offered FREE skiing (season's pass) after X days at FULL rate??

Imagine a regular full day ticket is $50 and a seasons pass is $650. Most folks use a twofer or some other discount when they buy a day ticket so the full $50 is rarely paid, but....
If they offered FREE skiing for the rest of the year AFTER you purchased 12 days at full rate, would some folks maybe not use discount cards or twofers? Would it inspire anybody to keep "loyal" to one area and maybe go skiing a couple more days once their work load and the snow conditions got them over the ten day mark by the end of Presidents Week??
Before I embarass myself recommending this to my mt. mgr. does anybody see any pitfalls to this program??
post #2 of 20
One of the features of season passes, from management's point of view, is that they have the funds up front. Keeping track of a customer's number of lift ticket purchases COULD be problematic too. A deal managament might consider would be a discount pass where the customer pays half the season pass fee, say $325 in your example, and then pays $15 or $20 for each day's ticket. But then the customer loses the feature of not having to deal with lines at the lift ticket windows.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks KB,
Stratton started those "Frequent Skier" discount cards 20 years ago.
Half the summer improvements and the start up costs are covered by regular season pass sales (why they try to get you to buy earlier and earlier every year).
I am thinking of a way to accomodate and lure those fence sitters who can't decide before Oct. 31st, for weather or work load reasons, to visit more often and pay full rate when they do rather than justify their lack of committment by using discounts and visiting a bunch of different areas all season.

PS. In these days of computerized tracking of CC purchases at every register, or with something similar to the "card" you brought up, tracking is already being done.
post #4 of 20
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
One of the features of season passes, from management's point of view, is that they have the funds up front.
post #5 of 20
Skiing free after so many tickets is a bad business model. Many people hem and haw each season wondering if its going to be a good year or if they will be able to ski enough to justify a pass. This plan would encourage them to not buy passes. Once they don't buy a pass their tendency will be to ski less cutting down revenues from not only ticket sales but also from food and beverage sales.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Again a given obvious Phil. And for many folks buying a season's pass is a simple no brainer automatic yearly exercise of the smile muscles when being photo'd.

But howabout those folks who for whatever reasons cannot decide prior to Oct 31st?

Would this program inspire someone who wasn't sure about the snow, or how many mid-week days they could get away, to pay full rate and hope to get a season end return on their daily investment if things did work out in skiings favor by Feb? Would it boost revenue from them when after six days skiing their job calls them to work clerk accountant's hours in February and March??
post #7 of 20
A season pass meaning "money first - skiing later" is better for the company. It gets the money regardless of actual skiing days. If the pass owner gets injured, sick or fore some other reasons can´t ski he won´t purchase his 12 full-rate tickets and the company won´t get its 600 bucks.

I think that the season pass guarantees enough loyalty.

As KB writes, you would have to keep record of the day tickets sold. There are many ways to cheat: you purchase a day ticket yourself on 12 consecutive days but actually it will be for someone else skiing. If you start early in the season you can claim after "your" 12 tickets the season pass as early as in December and have almost the whole season free.

You probably can´t imagine what people can do to obtain such an advantage. Last April we had a voucher in the spring issue of our SNOW mag which entitled to a free day´s ticket in our top resort. It was necessary to approach the ticket window with the mag and the voucher got cut away there. It was fine but for people who came in a van with about 1,000 mags selling them in the parking lot. No one from the mag knows where they got them from, there was no that big order. Most probably through the distributor? It was much more sophisticated than the 12-ticket job.
You might be much more honest people but a thing like that would be impossible here.
post #8 of 20
What do you think of the following scheme:

The season pass valid till, say, March.
It entitles you to a purchase of a "cross" pass good for the rest of the season (say April, maybe May) and for the next season.

The holder is motivated to come and ski in the off-season.
He paid very much in advance.
If it´s something already existing I´ve never heard.
post #9 of 20
And it would come just in time for the IRS refund of your overpaid taxes. They too like to get the money upfront.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
That mag story is unreal but not unbelievable. My idea is not an "instead of" a regular season's pass (which nowadays provides a whole lot more than just the convenience of skipping the ticket window including discounts on food, shopping, and other benies).
Granted there would be some logistical hurdles in tracking but they are already being addressed and used (and abused) for the frequent skier programs so this would not be a big stretch. Similar to the Frequent skier card, this is a vehicle to encourage someone who is not a "full blown passionate regular season pass holder" to come back more often but be willing to pay full rate when they do. If they come back often enough, at the full rate, then they get a reward for the rest of the season. If they do not get to go that often (work or snow or other reasons) then the area makes out more on the visits they do make. I see this as a win/win for the area that might now lose some the half hearted non-committed skiers $$ to discounts and other areas.

Given that some skiers really do like to move around each weekend visiting as many different areas a year as they can.

I guess the question really is:
If you are not willing to drop the dime and roll the dice on a season's pass, would you rather scramble for discounts and deals when you do get to go skiing, or would you be open to a chance to maybe "buy/earn" your season's pass status at a later in the season time when the snow and your chances to go skiing have made it a hindsight clearly good decision.
post #11 of 20
The problem here is that a significant number of passholders would stop buying passes, WAY undercutting any gain from the fence sitters. I mean it would be a no risk deal, why buy a season pass?
post #12 of 20

Sibhusky nailed the main issue. There are other logistical, but workable issues; but your deal must be priced so that there is still an advantage to buying a pass EARLY.

BTW Mammoth used to offer (still does?) an end of season/next season pass. This is the kind of deal that does not undercut/disincentive-ize your current pass holders.
Programs that bring cash in the door earlier get a lot more attention then programs that simply give things away. Now, if you had something like a 50% credit of tickets bought against a pass purchase...
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks The Rusty,
You ID'd an area that is already implementing CRs idea. Lots of details and logistics to be worked out, but I just feel that with energy prices jumping this winter and everything else that is downline of the price of gas/oil we are going to have to come up with some creative ways to target folks who might "opt out" of a season's pass this year. Perhaps we at Windham might actually benefit by being 2 hrs from "the city" and folks may decide to buy a season's pass and stay local and ski more often rather than taking the "big trip(s)" out west.
post #14 of 20
The area I'm at used to have a 100 day guarantee. If they didn't provide 100 days, your pass the next year was free (I think or 50% off, maybe). Anyway, they don't offer it anymore. Which isn't completely bad. I remember those seasons where one trail in poor condition (barely ski-able) serviced by one lift stayed open until noon on day 101!
post #15 of 20
As a seasons pass holder for many years I have to say that most resorts don't treat the pass holders that well. Guaranteed dough up front no matter what the season is like vrs whatever number of tickets the average (5 or 6) skier buys at that area. I've experienced various situations where the guest is treated better than the pass holder.
post #16 of 20
If you have to question if you will use a pass enough to pay it off, than you might need to reprioritise your life!

Remeber buying a pass is a gamble, the majority of the time, when you get one, you win, you get way more skiing per dollar than you would if you had bought tickets, however ocassionally you loose, and the conditons that year arent as good, I.E. the PNW last year.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
I believe that the majority of season pass purchases are almost automatic sales because of being locals, or second home owners, or some other factor and they do get much more than their money's worth (or should). I know at our area (and I'm sure many others) season pass holders enjoy discounts and perks that the day trippers do not. I personally have added more to that with the www.windhamunderground.com web site and special discounts for employees and/or season pass holders at the off mountain businesses that sponsor the site.
So what would a ski area have to offer to get someone undecided to committ??
If by Feb 1st it was a great snow season and your work load opened up to provide more ski time would you buy a "rest of season" pass, and for how much??
I know some areas start selling "next seasons pass good for the rest of this year too" as early as March 15th.
post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by Stache
If by Feb 1st it was a great snow season and your work load opened up to provide more ski time would you buy a "rest of season" pass, and for how much??
I know some areas start selling "next seasons pass good for the rest of this year too" as early as March 15th.
Depends on the typical season the resort has. In our conditions the ski season goes Dec 1 through April 25 in a couple of luckiest resorts, the beginning and end being uncalculably limited. December is often quite poor, April mostly very good (well, relatively for the conditions here).
Feb 1 on would make no sense b/c it would be most of the better part of the season.
March 1 on would be interesting but I don´t think there would be many late-season passes sold:
- most avid skiers have their full-season passes anyway
- most skiers lose interest in skiing around mid-March (end of school vacations here) or by the end of the month
- late March and April are good only in a limited number of resorts (high enough and/or north)
- the April ticket prices get reduced by as much as 50% which makes simple day tickets attractive
- psychlogically, April is simply no ski time anymore, it´s springtime and a step toward summer
Where higher mountains and better snow conditions guarantee the season till May the spring pass could be interesting.
post #19 of 20
Re-read Rio's opinion, it's true. And what Sibhusky said.

Nevertheless, seems like a novel idea. What the H, give it a "limited" try, just sell to the first 50-100 folk.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
For the record, I am not in marketing at any mountain. I do not have any input into these decisions or product offerings. I am just thinking that this year might demand more creativity than ever before as well as provide a unique mid season opportunty to recapture business that was put "on hold" until the economy (gas etc.) straightens out.
I thank everyone for sharing their thoughts.
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