Thursday, August 22, 2013

Marketing Ski Season Passes in Summer?

Maybe the weather is hot where you are, but ski enthusiasts are already thinking about the coldest, snowiest days of winter. If you're thinking about boarding or skiing the mountains at Aspen or Vail or other big ski areas, you may have noticed that the price of a season pass is generally going up. Nobody knows how much snow will fall when the temperature falls, but if you wait to buy a pass, you'll pay more than you would if you buy during the dog days of summer.
  • Aspen Skiing Co. is offering a discount until September 13th, when the price rises--and rises again after November 8th.  
  • Sugarbush has special pass pricing until September 12th. Its segmentation includes special pricing for college students, corporate employees, and families with kids.
  • Heavenly Lake Tahoe has special season pass deals until September 2d. Segments being targeted: adult, teen, child, and senior.
  • Sundance Resort is pricing its season passes lower until Halloween. Its segmentation includes targeting college students, "juniors" (6-12 yrs old), "student" (teenagers), corporate skiers, seniors, and night-only skiers.
The good news is that many season passes are good at multiple mountains. Even better news is that some passes include extras like lodging packages. In many cases, buyers enjoy flexibility in choosing when and where to ski, which is especially appreciated by the segment of variety-seekers. The mountains and lodges get money upfront and, just as important, gain a competitive edge when you buy their pass.

Here's how Vail's chief marketing officer explains the season-pass marketing strategy in this week's Time magazine: "After you've bought our pass, are you likely to go skiing elsewhere? No. Passes really drive customer loyalty."

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