“Our goal is to say there’s no reason for anyone to pay that walk-up rate anymore. Just buy your skiing in advance.”Rob Katz, CEO Vail Resorts
While the quote above references the ski industry in particular, the trend towards online pre-sale is prevalent today across many types of businesses. Even as operators in multiple industries continue to prioritize the pre-sale of tickets and passes, there will always be those who are hesitant to shift sales from the ticket window to online. At Liftopia, we believe the shift to 100% of revenue sold online is inevitable. Can you imagine if travelers still regularly bought plane tickets at the airport? It’s pretty much a behavior that is unthinkable at this point. But, just in case, we’ve called out the top six reasons resorts and attractions should sell 100% of their revenue online.
- Keep people from changing their minds – Whether you are selling water park tickets or ski passes, selling those products in advance, online, ensures that customers won’t change their mind about visiting your resort or attraction. They might also buy more days ahead of time than they would if they waited to purchase until the day of their visit. For example, an aspirational skier might purchase a 3-day ticket in advance, while if they wait until day-of, might decide they are too tired to ski a second or third day.
- Mitigate weather risk – Related to the point above, if customers are locked in to visit your resort or attraction ahead of time, poor weather/conditions have a smaller impact on overall revenue earned each day of operations. For example, if a certain summer day isn’t the ideal temperature for a trip down the lazy river but you’ve already pre-sold 100 tickets to your park, the fact that your walk-up ticket revenue is low that day will have less of an impact on that day’s revenue. Selling in advance insulates your business from Mother Nature, who we know has a history of being unpredictable.
- Capture customer information – Hi Marketers! 👋When a customer makes an online purchase, you are able to collect data about that customer that is not captured during a ticket window sale. Not only can you understand where that customer comes from geographically, you can use the data captured during an online sale to analyze repeat purchase behavior, and collect email addresses for remarketing, targeted upsell emails, etc.
- Tie marketing spend to revenue return – With proper analytics tracking, purchases made online can be tied back to specific marketing campaigns or promotions, enabling you to understand which channels or campaigns drive the most revenue for your business. While there may be times that offline marketing campaigns are used for a specific goal such as brand awareness, understanding which channels/campaigns are most successful allows you to spend your marketing dollars most effectively.
- Operational planning – If you know how many customers to expect each day because your customers have purchased online, in advance, you can more effectively plan your staffing and operations. With arrival information at your fingertips, you might plan how dining facilities need to open, how many front line staff need to be available that day, or how much terrain should be available and groomed (in the case of a ski resort).
- Sell where and how customers want to buy– This one probably won’t surprise you, but customers today expect to be able to easily buy online, whether its on a desktop or mobile device. From groceries to sporting events, customers expect to have a seamless purchase experience from the comfort of their own home.
We’re sure there are more. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed a reason you prefer to sell online.