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New proirity system

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Our resort has gone to a first to work system that has no bearing on cert. Or years taught. To get the first class out there is a matrix of return customers from last years numbers used. Example, PSIA Examiner and a level one cert. Second year instructor at the same line up. If the level one instructor had more returns from the previous year he gets the class over examiner. I am watching a general erosion of our ski school what does the forum think of this new policy?
post #2 of 27
Although I can see their point this is the type of policy that opens the door to unions regardless of the business type or industry involved. Sounds like the person running the show has never been near a union shop or taken a course in business relations in college. History has a way of repeating itself.

[ December 08, 2003, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #3 of 27
What is the message being sent?
Instructors who generate repeat business will be rewarded.

Repeat business means profits and *probably* good word-of-mouth advertising. If the instructor generates Private Requested lessons that's A LOT more profit.

This is good business sense if we consider that the ski school is a "profit center".

Some instructors don't like this "new" system? Why? I am sure there are different reasons.

To me there are two key points:
- who are my *star* instructors? am I going to have trouble retaining them with this new policy?
- does the benefit of the new policy outweigh the risks?

kiersten
post #4 of 27
What happens if the customer is a level 8 skier? He takes off for a bumps lesson with a level I cert? Sounds like a great system!
post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Rusty Guy:
What happens if the customer is a level 8 skier? He takes off for a bumps lesson with a level I cert? Sounds like a great system!
Could this kind of BS be why, in general, advanced skiers don't take lessons?
post #6 of 27
That's probably "the system" on paper. I have a feeling that how it applies out on the line will be quite another reality.

There appears to be a "set of rules" that apply uniquely to every one and, no one ... depends on who is asking?

The PSIA Examiner is probably no more interested in sucking up a beginners group than you or I .... only difference is, is that we HAVE to do it. The "competition" to work will probably be very real among the L-1 & L-2's.

The "seniors" play by their own book and by their own rules and set their own conditions.
post #7 of 27
I think yuki hit the nail on the head
post #8 of 27
Reminds me of one of the "best" instructors at an area where I used to teach.He had been the teaching the same students (on the same terrain and at the same skill level) for years! They never advanced at all but they kept coming back. Pretty hard to argue with that kind of success from a business point of view. Perhaps the term "instructor" was a bit of a misnomer, however.
post #9 of 27
The reality of "the system" has been disheartening. Low Morale among many instructors (high priority and low priority). A sense of every instructor for him/herself, very little teamwork. Hoarding of guest, i.e. Get back 6,7,8's in the same class so that you can maintain a high return rate.

Major problems in first year implementation:

Without knowledge of the upcoming changes many of the professionals did not signed out for many of their return students in the previous year (variety of reasons). Therefore have been penalized this year;

Private lesson instructors tend to have a higher "return" rate do to the nature of their business and a rollover policy. A good return rate for group lesson instructors is 30-45%, many private lessons instructors are above 60%, mainly because of how returns are counted. Therefore, very good group lesson instructors were down on priority for the early season. Those instructors worked in a very limited fashion.

Many trainers did not have the high persistancy because they were training instructors and could not or did not take returns.

These are bound to iron themselves out over time. And the system is not bad, it is just in need of revision. And Certification and experience must be factored into the "Priority" equation. What is the instructor's real incentive to take an exam? He/she can learn what they need on their own, or at 8:30am clinics.

And how good does an instructor really need to be to "convert" a 4 day lesson ticket into a return (i.e. to come back for day 2)?

Oh yeah, have 3 guests asking for an instructor. No other guests at that level, but the Supervisor takes it away from that instructor because he/she is not at the top of the priority list. :

jon

[ December 20, 2003, 09:42 PM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
post #10 of 27
It can work...I started an Access Based Priority rotation about 8 years ago...worked with Annie in Tride on it....but with in house cert clearance you still couldn't teach above an approved ability....an assignment sups discretion at line up is still key....it just formats a system to give logic to a traditional system of favoritism and sacred cows and creates incentive based pay.....Instructors need to grow the biz....not just scoot in and say "what have you got for me now?" The great ones have always had returns, so what!
Rather than the good old days of arbitrary and capricious seniority systems based on some quasi-militaristic heirarchy....at least there is a system....it needs to evolve and be dynamic....sounds like Buhler needs to tweak it based on feed back.

[ December 21, 2003, 06:10 AM: Message edited by: Robin ]
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan:
Oh yeah, have 3 guests asking for an instructor. No other guests at that level, but the Supervisor takes it away from that instructor because he/she is not at the top of the priority list. :

jon
And that's money lost for that resort I think. If I was one of the persons requesting a pro and the one in charge of assigning lesson told me that I couldn’t ski with the pro of my choice because of some STUPID rules and priority system, I would tell that person that they just lost the opportunity to make some money for their school. A request is a request no matter what the pros standing is in that school. If a high flying priority one ski pro can’t bring his folks back, then he or she shouldn’t be priority one. At the school I work for a request takes presidents. : ------------Wigs
post #12 of 27
When ya can get Viagra online who needs technique?
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Wigs:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Jonathan:
Oh yeah, have 3 guests asking for an instructor. No other guests at that level, but the Supervisor takes it away from that instructor because he/she is not at the top of the priority list. :

jon
And that's money lost for that resort I think. If I was one of the persons requesting a pro and the one in charge of assigning lesson told me that I couldn’t ski with the pro of my choice because of some STUPID rules and priority system, I would tell that person that they just lost the opportunity to make some money for their school. A request is a request no matter what the pros standing is in that school. If a high flying priority one ski pro can’t bring his folks back, then he or she shouldn’t be priority one. At the school I work for a request takes presidents. : ------------Wigs</font>[/quote]And along those lines, the instructor that had the request, now has one (or 3?) less requests to count on the books for next year. How fair is that to the instructor? A request should ALWAYS be granted. After all, isn't that what their systems is based on?
post #14 of 27
I am an analyst by nature and current employment. One thought that occurs to me is this: what is the ratio of returns by level? My hypothesis would be that lower-level skiers are more likely to return, thus a lower-level instructor is more likely to have returns than a higher-level instructor (privates excepted). Hence, the returns should be correlated to level and other factors to be accurate.

I would think that a more effective approach would be to measure customer satisfaction. If, for example, I teach a good LTS lesson and my students recommend me to others, I would expect those recommendations to increase my priorities for LTS lessons based on my contribution to the school. That original student may not return, but I have expanded the school, anyway. The same is true at every level, and more true the higher the student gets (I would think, at least).

An old business adage is "you get what you measure". If you measure returns, you'll get returns, but probably not for the reason you want. A snow sports school really wants revenue and profit. High returns aren't the only way to achieve them, so you should develop additional metrics that take those other methods into account.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
CDC, thanks for clearing the air and you have made the same observations that I have made. One other positive is that instructors are becoming more aware of closing the lesson and inviting students to return back for another lesson. One thing that has really surprised me is the number of upper level lesson customers lately. It is really great to see this. Remember the more students that return, the more instructors get to work!

Some other observations to the original poll, "Examiners don’t want to be bothered by level !s". They should be, as this group of customers are the most important. This is an attitude that I would like to see changed. If level 1s are taught properly they wouldn’t have all of those problems that are most common at upper level, inability to steer with legs, banking, ,etc.
Profit motive for ski schools. With this system a lot more request privates will be sold and good for the industry. The ski areas should be in business to make a profit and I feel this has been overlooked for some time.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
posred in responce to original

, No, the level 1 would go with a qualified instructor in the case of the level 8 student. Ideally with a full cert or greater. In the case of the examiners getting the level 1's the results have been enlighting. The examiners have been more than willing to take these classes(remember this is earlly season)they've done an outstanding job with these students while showing their fellow instructors how a quality lesson shoiuld be taught. So far our guests have been the benefactors of this policy, our return students are up dramitcally from the simple reason that our best instructors are teaching the bulk of the lessons and that the instructor lower on the priority are giving a better effort.
post #17 of 27
SSH and John H good questions and very good comments.

Regarding Priority points: (they are not sorted by ability level):
Private: 3 hour assignment on Tuesday, then 3 hour Request on Wednesday by same guest counts as 6 of 6 or 100% return rate. (This is a good thing)

Group: 6 guests on Tuesday, 3 return on Wednesday and 3 more join the class. 3 of 12 or 25% return rate.

Group example 2: 3 guests on Tuesday, 2 return on Wednesday. 66% return rate.

Trainer Teaching: 6 new guests on Tuesday, Leads a 3 hour clinic on Wednesday, 6 new guests on Thursday. 3 of 15 or 20% return rate. (This is assuming he/she doesn't know anybody returned to ski with him on Wednesday regardless of # of returns. Very Likely)

And SSH you are certainly correct when you say you get what you measure. Return #'s are up a low single digit percentage. Very easily accountable for increase is the increased awareness among the staff to count every possible return. And when returns go up, but moral go down among the majority of staff. I doubt that is really the right direction if you desire to be the top SS in the country.

All that said, I believe the SS is right up there as one of the best in the country:
Fantastic care for the guest, excellent skiers and teachers;
High rate of daily and weekly clinic attendance;
Overall very high return rate (daily and yearly);
Willingness to try new products, and skier lesson programs.

Lastly, a few of us are creating an undercurrent of Gung Ho!at one of our base areas (refer to Ken Blanchard's book, GUNG HO!) to surpass the rest of the company as far as work environment, care for guests and product delivered, and profitablity. I will keep the forum updated. I believe it will be the difference between MANAGEMENT mandating change, and line level LEADERSHIP developing a culture and change.

Gung Ho! friends,
j

[ December 26, 2003, 06:57 AM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
post #18 of 27
I agree with Wigs, then, it needs some adaptation. That's really not the right way to determine returns; you would need to do total returns by previous instructor regardless of who the guests have as an instructor for the follow-up, and do it over the entire season, not day-by-day.

Even then, I'm not sure that this is really what you want, and suspect that a good measure would require quite a bit more analysis and factoring.
post #19 of 27
Let me put a little more clarification to this point. First, if any one requests an instructor for a private lesson that instructor will always get that lesson unless previously booked. Now for the second point,as stated in an earlier response a request is always a request. I'll give you some scenarios to ponder.What happens when students buy a group lesson without knowledge that a certain instructor is at the lineup. As they approach they spot this instructor they talk a while and after their disscusion they ask to ski with this person,and here' the wrinkle they've never skied or taken lessons before with this instructor, is this a request? If so where do you draw the line from the instructor who stands in front of the ski school ticket window and chats up people who clearly are intending to take lessons and calling them returns. Again the results have been startling. We have an instructor who was worried that his hours were way off compared to the seasons before the priority system was implemented. After comparing hours worked,return rate, and wages earned the results were positive for all involved. Even though this person was lower on the list, their hours were only off by 13 compared to the previuos year and yet their return rate was up by 22percent! With the added returns their pay was aprox. the same.
This system would not have been implemented if we didn't have a steady decline in our penetration rate over the past 5 Years.
CDC
post #20 of 27
CDC,

You have some every good points. In reference to the guest that comes to Ski School with no particular Pro in mind, and happens to start up a conversation with a pro who is trying to put a class together for themselves, we call this pouching, and is not allowed in the Snowmass Ski School. If it is a private, then a request must be posted in the computer ahead of time before it’s considered a request. In private lessons here, a request is paid more so it must be confirmed before hand.

As for class lessons, no pouching is allowed. But if a person skied with the Pro in the past, and wants to continue with that pro, this is allowed as long as the arrangements are made ahead of time. We call this situation, “returns” A return could be from the year before, a month before, a week before or the day before. As long as the guest wants to ski with the pro, then we accommodate the guest the best we can.

The ski areas that we work at are operating to make a profit. I think it would be in their best interest to put the people who bring guests back to work before someone who doesn’t, even if they are full cert, DCL, Examiner, etc. What good are they to the company if they can’t return their guest? : ----------Wigs
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by Wigs:
The ski areas that we work at are operating to make a profit. I think it would be in their best interest to put the people who bring guests back to work before someone who doesn’t, even if they are full cert, DCL, Examiner, etc. What good are they to the company if they can’t return their guest? : ----------Wigs
While I agree with the sentiment, it does beg the question for me, "From where comes the profit?" Is it only from lessons? If, for example, an instructor helps generate revenue in other departments of the area (retail, food/bev, lift ticket sales, rentals, etc.), doesn't this contribute to profit, as well? If so, wouldn't it be good to recognize these contributions? I certainly understand that it's more difficult to do so and that the profit margins may not be as great in some of these areas.

Also, in some cases, one could argue that successfully creating a rabid skier who brings in others may be better for the area (and the industry!) than simply having a mid-level skier come back for lessons.

If we get what we measure, we want to make sure that we measure what we want to occur! That's why I'm a proponent of profit sharing.
post #22 of 27
I agree with Steve.

revolution from within... that's what ski hills need for their teaching programs.

the typical corporate quickprofit-centered "business model" is irrelevant to ski instruction, no matter whether the ski hill's owner(s) think Corporate America holds all the correct answers.

a service NEVER should be "marketed," as the type of DEMAND that sustains a service industry CANNOT be impulse demand. it must be a lasting demand, borne of a desire for improved service and the service provider's desire to deliver the absolute best service available.

return business takes care of itself under this accurate fact-based model.

and lastly, "economic growth" NEVER should be a service business's focus. such a focus directly contradicts the nature of that business!

[ December 29, 2003, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
Where does the profit come from? Our ski area is micro managed with a preformance bonus system in place for supervisoirs and managers. I don’t beget them there bonus’s but they will have to try a different aproach to the way staff is handled. Instead of the army style commands some motivation would be nice. A quick fix clinic with a used car salesman is not the answer either. With the implantation of a priority system positive coaching is needed to help the lower instructor to succeed with returns. I have not seen any change in the way supervisors treat staff in any way. This is to bad because the burn out rate I believe comes from the management side of the equation. I feel I am rambling a bit but in my own personal case I was highly motivated when I began ski school and have been chiseled down over the years. The feeling of dreading dealing with my daily supervisors does nothing to motivate the staff. The real up-side to the priority is that work is not going to the same people all of the time. This was the way I observed it in the past. Seeing some instructors with six hundred assigned private hours is disheartening. ( Especially when they have lower than a fifty percent request or rollover rate.) Why? Because the daily supervisor showed a bias to that instructor. Because of internal pressure from the staff is much of the reason this was born. It is sort of neat to watch the system unfold and the supervisors have to accuratly give the top performers their due!! As far as the group return with three or more returns cements the class complaints, it sounds like the daily supervisor is not following the system.. I would call them on it at the end of the day and ask for an explanation.
post #24 of 27
Hi everyone:

Before I respond, understand that I have taught for two years. This year, I have been working under the priority system. It has helped me to be more GCT, as my desire is to work more and I like the returns. I also have experienced that the directors, were and are always checking my pin or asking me what experience I have had with the difference level skiers. Which I am very thankfulthat they do. As it is very important that when someone has to pay the amount of dollars they do for a lesson they get the best instruction they can get and that there goals are met. They diffently don't want to be taught something that could take years to unlearn. Even if the guest might not realize it for a long time.
[img]smile.gif[/img]
Are there other ways that have been more effective in the past?
eabrown
post #25 of 27
Ssh,

Sure, there are many areas where a pro would bring in more revenue for the ski area. But IMHO, I think that these areas are secondary. What I mean is that the Pro and guests have to eat. So taking a group of students to the area run food and snack bar isn’t in my opinion, something the owners of the area look at as a way to judge a Pros profit making ability or return rate. These folks have to eat anyway weather there’s a Pro with them or not. And the same goes for rental equipment and such. Without this stuff, the guest can’t do much skiing, no? So weather they take lessons or not, they still need skiing equipment.

I think what we are talking about here is weather the Pro can return his students day in and day out. This is a good measure, IMHO, weather a Pro is good or not. And it might not be just in the ability to give a good ski lesson. It might be that the Pro is really good at entertaining his guests and helps them with their skiing a little. He or she might really go out of their way to accommodate the guest by going and picking them or their children up at their condo. There are lots of areas of appreciation that might keep the guest coming back to ski with a Pro. I myself like to think it’s because they are learning how to ski, and that I’m doing a better job at teaching them how to ski than they may have gotten before. There are many folks who come to ski school and get a mediocre to bad lesson and never take a lesson again. In fact, they may tell all their friends never to take a lesson because it’s not worth the money and they won’t learn anything. So I think it behooves us as Ski Pros to go out there and try to give the best lesson of our lives EVERYDAY. And if I see guest returning to take lessons from a Pro day after day, I know that this Pro is doing a great job teaching and accommodating the guest needs. This to me is a good Ski Pro and is an asset to the area he or she works : at. -------------Wigs
post #26 of 27
Wigs, I got it. Thanks...

Keep in mind that this is my first year teaching, so my perspective is primarily from a consumer viewpoint. Historically, I did not take lessons except for my ski week in Taos in the late 80s, and I think that was largely due to the perceived lack of value in them. I think that the PSIA-RM focus on GCT may help this some, but that approach is really just good business and it was a bit of a surprise to me that it's seen as "new". I hope that focusing on motivational and understanding needs that will result from applying GCT would result in bringing students back.

I would be interested in knowing what a reasonable goal for returns would be for a student at each level. How frequently should a level 4 return for lessons, for example? A level 6? A levle 8? As students progress, it may make sense that they take fewer lessons per season. Does it?
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally posted by ssh:
Wigs, I got it. Thanks...

Keep in mind that this is my first year teaching, so my perspective is primarily from a consumer viewpoint. Historically, I did not take lessons except for my ski week in Taos in the late 80s, and I think that was largely due to the perceived lack of value in them. I think that the PSIA-RM focus on GCT may help this some, but that approach is really just good business and it was a bit of a surprise to me that it's seen as "new". I hope that focusing on motivational and understanding needs that will result from applying GCT would result in bringing students back.

I would be interested in knowing what a reasonable goal for returns would be for a student at each level. How frequently should a level 4 return for lessons, for example? A level 6? A levle 8? As students progress, it may make sense that they take fewer lessons per season. Does it?
Ssh,

How often should someone return to take lessons? There are a lot of factors that would go into the answer, IMHO. These are just a few.

1. The student is actually learning something. It doesn’t matter what level if the student is picking up valuable information. How many lessons? As many as it take for the student to feel that they got what they came for.

2. The student loves the camaraderie of the group and gets some info that helps with their skiing.

3. Some come to class at big ski resorts like the Snowmass so they can learn the area, a tour you might say. And if they get some tips on their skiing, that’s a good thing. To really get a feel for Snowmass, it takes a few days and some want to find out where the hot skiing is.

4. Some groups of people who were in class together stay in touch and try to arrange vacation times so they can all meet up with their pro and continue their skiing education. I have several groups that do this. I’m doing one now and this is the four year they have been meeting at Christmas time to ski with me. They usually ski 10 day in a row give or take a day or two. But there is always at least three for class daily. The class size is 4 to 5 and no more.

5. Some are just ski school junkies. These students are the ones that have never skied a day without there ski pro. I have a few of these too. One is part of the group mentioned above. I started her in our Beginner’s Magic program 2 years ago. She had never skied before and was of normal ability, a woman of 34 years. She comes twice a season for 10 days, and doesn’t miss a day. She stared her third season this Christmas and she is a project for me. Believe it or not, I promoted her to level 8 a couple of days ago. She is rock solid on her skis and can ski down just about anything but DBs at this point. I’m hoping to get her on a DB this spring and I don’t have any doubt that she can do it. She is really getting a taste of pow pow this trip and she love it! I am extremely proud of her and what she has done.

Anyway, I do not think that there’s a formula on how many days one should attend ski school. If the student is learning and having fun, then keep going to class. : ----------Wigs

[ January 02, 2004, 06:20 AM: Message edited by: Wigs ]
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