Intro
Mountain Creek is the largest, closest year-round ski and summer resort to New York City at only 47 miles from the George Washington Bridge. Mountain Creek has operated for decades and has a summer water park business that is comparable in size to its winter ski business.

Mountain Creek first used Liftopia’s Cloud Store white-label ecommerce platform in the 12-13 season for its winter business and started using Cloud Store for its water park business in the summer of 2015. We want to take a look at how Mountain Creek’s water park business has changed for the better since implementing Cloud Store. We’ve examined five challenges Mountain Creek faced prior to implementing Cloud Store and how Cloud Store helped them tackle each one.


Challenge 1 A very small number of customers purchased daily admission tickets in advance, leaving Mountain Creek exposed to the risk of fluctuating weather.

Goal Get customers to buy prior to arriving at the ticket window.

Solution & Result In the summers of 2015 and 2016, Mountain Creek saw approximately 25% of its water park customer base buy through Cloud Store in advance due to a combination of strong marketing, a data-driven pricing strategy implemented by partnering with Liftopia’s pricing team, and more. Prior to Cloud Store, this number was less than 4%.


Challenge 2 On peak days Mountain Creek Water Park often saw extremely long lines at the ticket window to buy a ticket, leading to a negative customer experience.

Goal Find a solution that could reduce waiting and transaction time at the ticket window, ultimately leading to a better customer experience.

Solution & Result By selling tens of thousands of tickets ahead of time by partnering with Liftopia, Mountain Creek’s ticket window needed to process tens of thousands fewer orders and transactions. Each credit card window transaction took around a minute on average, resulting in a savings of hundreds of hours of guests’ time, leading to a better experience. Lines shortened, guest happiness rose, and most importantly guests spent more time on what they came to Mountain Creek to do- having fun!

Evan Kovach, Mountain Creek’s Director of Sales & Revenue Management, said the following about the 2016 summer, “We never had lengthy admissions lines, even on peak days, as so many people were buying online from the start. The queueing efficiencies realized here had positive impacts on labor expense and guest experience.”


Challenge 3 Prior to Cloud Store, little to no customer information was gathered at the ticket window. This caused a large gap in identifying who their customers were, where they came from, how many times they came, etc. There was a distinct lack of customer information.

Goal Gather customer information that wasn’t available before Cloud Store from customers who previously bought at the ticket window.

Solution & Result By incentivizing customers to buy online through Cloud Store, Mountain Creek effectively gathered data about every single customer who bought online. Mountain Creek has grown its water park customer database by 30%. Prior to 2015, the data Mountain Creek had on daily visitors was sparse, as the database was mostly season passholders. This enables Mountain Creek to market effectively to a much larger customer base, making both pre-arrival and post-visit communication a much more effective tool. Furthermore, according to Evan Kovach, Mountain Creek has “Been able to learn a lot more about the geography of where our customers come from without having to slow down on-site transaction times by asking for zip codes at the point of sale.”


Challenge 4 Mountain Creek did not have an accurate way of predicting how many customers would attend on any given day, leading to staffing and operational uncertainty.

Goal Find a way to accurately estimate how many guests will attend the water park on any given day of the season.

Solution & Result By selling 25% of dated tickets in advance, Mountain Creek was able to accurately correlate and extrapolate that information to the total number of guests on any given day. Evan Kovach wrote, “We have the arrivals report down to a science and it’s a killer operational forecast tool. We can guess within 100 guests how many people will be in the park based on the arrivals report, it’s remarkably consistent.” This tool enables Mountain Creek to staff efficiently, saving both time and money.


Challenge 5 Maintaining yield and balancing park promotions traditionally was very difficult with one coming at the cost of the other.

Goal Find a solution that enticed customers to book in advance, incentivized more visits, and kept admission yields high.

Solution & Result Mountain Creek coupled a free parking pass with every water park admission sold through Cloud Store. This further incentivized customers to book in advance while at the same time greatly increased the yields of Cloud Store orders. Mountain Creek has consistently beat yield goals over the past two seasons while using Cloud Store. Cloud Store ticket yields exceeded nearly every other channel of sales, including window yields by 15%. This was possible by ensuring that on peak days, only peak prices were available and by eliminating less effective promotion methods. By partnering with Liftopia, Mountain Creek was able to achieve a streamlined pricing strategy that factored in all channels and exceeded expectations.


Conclusion
Mountain Creek is one resort of over 200 partners. Every resort is different, but some or all of these five challenges are common issues we hear from nearly all of our partners. Our world class analytics team would love to work with you to come up with solutions to hit your unique goals, just as we did with Mountain Creek.

If you have any questions on how the Liftopia platform might work with your resort, ski area, water park, or anything else, please contact us today by email at partners@liftopia.com or call us at 415-202-5126!

We work with large resorts, community ski hills, water parks, and more.