Intro

Liftopia believes that there is always a right price for the right product at the right time to entice a customer to buy. We have investigated at length what that price might be, and generally, we’ve found that the further in advance of a trip date, the lower the price required to obtain that customer’s commitment. Over the past couple of years, we have worked with a few partners in the Northeast to come up with a specific preseason promotional pricing plan. This plan attempts to persuade customers to book even further in advance, guaranteeing additional revenue for resorts while minimizing their exposure to downside risk by offering very limited quantities of tickets at these prices.

What makes up a Preseason Promotional Pricing Plan?

A preseason promotional plan generally comes in the form of an early season, easy to market strategy of aggressive prices for date-specific tickets at limited quantities. These plans launch as early as spring for the following ski season or can launch as late as fall. We also recommend that the preseason promotion pricing plan be fairly simple which makes it easy to market with one streamlined message. For example, a resort might offer 10 tickets every day of the season at $35, or all days at 60% off rack. Once those tickets sell out, a ski area’s standard advance purchase pricing becomes available. The message is straightforward and consistent: limited quantities available at one low price, any day of the season.

How Different Resorts Employed Preseason Pricing Strategies

Resort A is a medium to large drive destination resort in the Northeast. This wanted to entice early bookings and offered a preseason promotional price available to purchase from mid-August to the end of October. The strategy offered at least 6 tickets per day across all products with prices at 40% off for holidays and 60% off for non-holidays. This was a simple to market strategy that was executed via email, social, and website calls-to-action.

The result:

  • Over $200k of revenue sold
  • 10% of all online dated ski ticket revenue generated before October 31st
  • Average booking window of 93 days in advance of trip date

This example showed that it is possible to generate a very meaningful portion of overall revenue well before the lifts start turning, thus providing further insulation against the weather in-season.

Resort B is a day trip resort in the Northeast. They launched in August with 10 units per day per product and ticket type, at price points between 60% and 65% off. Resort B wanted to see if they’d be able to drive meaningful volume and attract new customers with this strategy.

The result:

  • Over $30k of revenue generated, meeting their goal
  • 564 unique customers made purchases during the promotion
  • 433 of the 564 (77%) customers were new to their database
  • Of the 433 new customers, 152 of them (35%) bought again that same season
  • This exceeded the platform’s average repeat rate within the same season, showing that the new customers reached with the preseason pricing plan were high quality, valuable customers.

Resort C is a drive destination within the Northeast. Their strategy launched significantly later that A and B’s strategies, going live in early December. It had 10 units of every product/ticket type at 50% off. The result:

  • Over $60k of revenue sold from the promotion
  • The promotional tier sold out within 1-2 days of launch for the busier ski dates
  • 556 unique customers made purchases during the promotion
  • 82% of these customers were not previously in the resort’s database

Key Takeaways and Conclusion

Despite the variations in the type of resort and promotional strategy employed, each resort was happy and found the program to be quite successful on many levels. Each resort locked in at least five figures of revenue. In a follow-up analysis, we found that most customers who purchased were new customers to the respective resort. The preseason promotion served as an effective way to identify new, high-value customers. Resort B found that over a third of the preseason purchasers came back and purchased again.

It is clear that unifying pricing strategy, marketing, and ecommerce tools can uniquely position your resort to lock in significant revenue before the season begins. The preseason promotional pricing strategy represents an easy to understand marketing message that not only entices customers to click on your email but also draws in new, high-value customers that are likely to purchase again.