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Questions for Sno Sport Directors and Resort Managers

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
This is not a technique or instruction question. I'm posting here to reach all you sno pros out there.

My questions are: Has your resort lowered season pass prices or single day/multi-day lift prices in recent years? If so, do you think this was done to eliminate competition or gain market share? If your resort lowered prices was there an increase in guest spending in other profit centers such as Ski School, Rentals or Food Service? What do you think of lowering ticket prices? Is it giving away product to those already committed or luring new guest and greater repeat visits? Any comments?

[ January 18, 2003, 09:50 AM: Message edited by: Springhill Crazie (SprgHlCrz) ]
post #2 of 10
Good post...just wanted to get it re-posted higher so it doesn't get lost! I hope to give your questions better attention later, but....everybody is on the Bogus Basin learn-to-and-get-a-season-pass-cheap model. At Mt. High we did a ton of 3-peat program biz. Actually not as much breakage as the beancounters would like....but retention is a good thing....
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
bump. See yunz after the Academy 'n 'at.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'll cast one more time to see if there is any interest. Perhaps I should move this topic? Any thoughts?
post #5 of 10
Boyne USA in Michigan went to down $39 from plus $40 lfit tickets due to the economy,corproate financal difficulties, loss of market share, and probably some other reasons as well. During Xmas week, however, their lift tickets were well above $40.00.

Crystal Mountain seems to now have the higest weekend and holiday prices of any resort in lower Michigan. It's like $44 or $45 dollars to ski weekends, and if the weather is the least bit nice, it becomes terribly corwded. Not worth it unless you come early, and leave early to avoid the long liftlines.
post #6 of 10
Hi. We have not lowered our window price, but we haven't raised it either.

We did have a huge millenium discount a few years ago, and we found that it did not drive new business. We still have it, but not as cheap as it used to be.

The Colorado front range areas have been in a season pass war in Denve for a few seasons now. I'm not privy to their figures, but the rumblings are that this is creating crowds without much revenue.

We've got some discounts available--some cheaper products--for example we've extended our beginner package all the way through level 4, and we have a very cheap weekend Denver-Aspen air trip. They have yet to pay up in enough volume to sustain the expense side.

I'm not convinced that discounting is always the answer for all customers, and there is a very real danger of devaluing your product.

Pricing is not an obvious and simple issue, and discounting or deflation is not always the answer.

Revenue and expense is a very hard balance to draw in order to be fair, yet stay in business.
post #7 of 10
The main reason I left Vail was because of the overcrowding. (I taught three seasons there, the last one in 2000/01). My third season there, VA had a host of discounts available. The front rangers arrived in force, parked on the side of the road, trampled the snow with their straight skis, ate lunch from their brown paper bags and drove home.

The skiing experience was definitely left wanting for the 'destination guests' who were paying full price (for everything), and yet the company only gained lift ticket revenue from the hordes, with precious little ski school, food & bev & rental revenue, not to mention the local busnesses getting nothing.

I'm not sure if the destination guests worked this out, but I'd be fuming if I'd paid top dollar to holiday there, only to have the powder quickly dispatched, and my safety put in danger by the hordes.

Its happening here at The Canyons this year. TC apparently 'won' the war for the cheapest local school student season pass. It's a nightmare. I take Friday & Saturday off, on Friday I ski, but Saturdays I avoid it like the plague. Holiday weeks are worse because its all week.

It's like skiing around with a target on your back. Nobody turns, and a ski school snake is merely an opportunity to turn into a dollar sign. My girlfriend & I bought each other helmets for Xmas out of fear. The on-hill courtesy is non-existant. My first reaction was to blame them as snowboarders, but that particular demographic would be doing the same thing if they were on skis.

The sad thing is the destination guests have noticed this and are pissed. We get the results of the resort surveys and there are always comments about skeir safety. They are the reason this resort is here - the revenue they spend in the resort overall dwarves that of the cut-price passes.

There's nothing wrong with being a cut-price locals resort, nothing at all, but combining this while trying to market yourself as a high-end destination resort is a crazy juxtaposition.

Oh well, there's always Deer Valley for Saturdays!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Weems, I understand your point and my motive is to discuss those points. It is a given, growth is flat in this industry, declining when compared to population growth. How do we grow the sport? The perception is that skiing is a high end endeavor. When you look a single day lift ticket one would think this to be so. What does Aspen charge, $65?
Most people don't know about discounts that can be found off mountain. Most people do not consider that a multi-day pass lowers cost. Why are discounts a big secret? Why discount to begin with? How does Alta survive on a $40 all day ticket?

If people are turned away from the sport before they try the product because of the perception of expense, how do you break that notion? When I was in pysical therapy, my Therapist expressed a desire to try skiing. She was part owner of the business that included several offices, her husband was a contractor. They have 4 children. Her concern was the cost. Now, they are not exactly hurting for cash yet she could not swallow the huge up front cost just to get her family to try the sport. When I ask co-workers if they would be interested, they claim not to be Bill Gates. I know this is all anecdotal but when the same concern is expressed over and over, I don't think one must fund a huge study to verify. Surely there is some research.

When you say the feeling is that season pass wars create crowds not revenue, do you mean that all those extra people aren't buying food, lessons, rentals? Perhaps they are too frugile to buy a $9 bowl of chili or a $30 1hr. group lesson. When too few are buying your product to sustain the sport, how do you devalue the product?

I'm sure you've heard it all before and so have I. I still don't have satisfactory answers. Why can't a resort make money selling lift tickets and skier services? Must real estate always drive the market? How does Alta survive on a $40 ticket? :

I could go on and if there are more out there to add some insight, I'll pull out my soap box and continue my rant then. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #9 of 10
I don't think that the problem is people that haven't tried the sport. The problem is the 85% that try it once and don't come back. They've already swallowed the cost, but have been turned away by something else. Maybe for some it is the price. What is it for the others? This is one place where we as ski professionals can help to grow the sport. My understanding is that one of the complaints new guests have is that they "don't feel like skiers". I try to help with that in my lessons, and also when I see an obvious first-timer struggling with something as simple (to us) as carrying their skis.
post #10 of 10
I think we often fail to understand how intimidating the ski scene can be to outsiders. Its likely that most of those who do try it and come back have some kind of support group; like friends, significant others etc; who ski. Beginners who come into this scene cold, and some who do not, feel like outsiders. They have no one to make them feel at home, answer the many questions they are embarassed to ask. Ski areas attitude to their needs is largely one of indifference, regardless of the professed concern of the industry.

How does your ski school present the sport to these folks?
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