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Groupon Revisited: 16 Ski Resort Offers, 16 Revenues, 16 Failures?

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Groupon continues to roll along. Some marketers say that only desperate businesses use such a scheme, other claim it can find a happy home in just about any marketing plan. I’ve identified resorts that are using it, shared the possibility that is could be very bad for resorts and their skiers in general, but today I want to look solely at the numbers.

When you put up an offer on Groupon, whatever you list the price at you can expect to get about half of that for every sale you make. A $50 lift ticket, sold for $30, will get you $15 at the end of the line. Listed below are 16 lift ticket offers that have been listed on Groupon.

Who won? Who lost? You decide.


Average Cost of Original Pass: $67.19
Average Discount: 47%
Average Revenue per Sale (after Groupon’s cut): $18.10
Average Total Item Sales: 996.5
Average Total Revenues Paid to Resort: $15,834.22


Smugglers Notch
$64.00 @ 41.00% off = $38.00
542 sold * 50% = $10,298.00

$91.00 @ 51.00% = $45.00
339 sold * 50% = $7,627.50

$82.00 = 33.00% = $55.00
3165 sold * 50% = $87,037.50

Manning Park
$35.00 = 57.00% = $15.00
641 sold * 50% = $4,807.50

Jay Peak
$69.00 = 35.00% = $45.00
228 sold * 50% = $5,130.00

$25.00 = 52.00% = $12.00
4663 sold * 50% = $27,978.00

Waterville Valley
$69.00 = 42.00% = $40.00
278 sold * 50% = $5,560.00

Mt Crescent
$34.00 = 50.00% = $17.00
566 sold * 50% = $4,811.00

$45.00 = 56.00% = $20.00
936 sold * 50% = $9,360.00

$52.00 = 46.00% = $28.00
598 sold * 50% = $8,372.00

$34.00 = 50.00% = $17.00
495 sold * 50% = $4,207.50

Bretton Woods
$74.00 = 39.00% = $45.00
1990 sold * 50% = $44,775.00

$158.00 = 50.00% = $79.00
134 sold * 50% = $5,293.00

Sunday River
$79.00 = 51.00% = $39.00
660 sold * 50% = $12,870.00

$85.00 = 47.00% = $45.00
465 sold * 50% = $10,462.50

$79.00 = 51.00% = $39.00
244 sold * 50% = $4,758.00

  • interesting – we just used GroupOn for summer activities but would never dream of using it on lift passes, probably going to use it for ski school next winter though, reasoning behind both is gaining new customers, not discounting products to customers who are already pretty loyal…

    • GreggBlanchard

      Daniel, very good to know. Have you been able to track the guests that buy and redeem Groupon offers at all to verify they are adding new customers, not giving normally loyal customers that pay full price a way to pay less?

      • Hi Gregg, yep pretty much straight down the line 'new customers' – I didn't push it on our existing media so it was all through GroupOn. Interesting to deal with customers who are trying something new – not exactly prepared for a mountain environment, over-estimate their fitness/skill level!

        • GreggBlanchard

          Very interesting that they were almost all new customers and very good to know. Thanks for the insight, Daniel. Do you plan on using Groupon again?

          • Yeah probably for our ski school though, again we want to attract people that don't ski or board already or have only done it on artificial slopes – its getting that group of people interested in snowsports in our country rather than taking trips abroad or learning on plastic matting… once you have the beginners hooked you have them for life ;)

  • Great post. It would be interesting to see what the volume leaders (Killington, Alyeska, Bretton Woods) thought of it.

    • GreggBlanchard

      Thanks, Ben. I'm interested too. I've tried contact a couple about it in the past with not much luck. Might have to make a go at that again. I'm with you, I'd love to see if these resorts are viewing these numbers as successes or not.

  • Jenn

    Your timing is perfect – today's SF Groupon is for Alpine Meadows, only valid for the July 4th weekend. It will be interesting to see if this price remains higher or lower than the Facebook price, based on its fanquest promotion.

    • GreggBlanchard

      What a coincidence. Crazy. I'll have to see if I can't snag someone at Alpine Meadow's for an interview to hear how it went. Thanks for the heads up, Jenn.

  • propDAVE


    Thanks for putting in the time to track this data down and present it. Discounting was a pretty hot topic at NSSAA this winter and there were plenty of negative comments and stories of getting burned – like people just buying up discount tickets and reselling them on Craigslist, and issues of cannibalizing full retail sales as well.

  • Bernice

    At our Resort we tried using Groupon for our Summer Ops to huge success. 92% of customers were new to our Golf Course & Hotel. Average spend after arrival was significantly higher than the discount offered and we doubled our summer business. It is good when it works! However, as a word of caution, if you are doing it, it is all after the after arrival spend. Groupon, Dealfind, WagJag, SwarmJam – they all want you to include everything but the kitchen sink in your "voucher" so that they make more money. Minimalize the offer and maximize the post arrival spend and it is a great promo.

  • Pingback: Three Ways I’d Use Groupon for a Ski Resort Promotion : Ski Resort Marketing -

  • klf

    Mt Crescent Ski Area sold around a total of 3200 groupon offers (not 566) in December 2010, 566 of this total was from the Lincoln NE (50 mile drive) market the other market was Omaha NE (15 mile drive) same offer same day two different markets.
    We had a redemption rate of 87% (approx 2900)
    of this 87% we had 73% purchase a rental package (approx 2000 x $25 Ski/Snowboard rental package)= $50,0000
    We did not keep an "official" track of who were first time guest vs return guest. The totals do not take into account the food and beverage sales. I believe it helped bring us new customers and those customers who had not been back for a long time.
    We will be offering season passes on groupon at 50% discount this year. I will let you know how it goes.

    • GreggBlanchard

      Thanks for the insight! Very good to know. I just have to go off of Groupon's numbers and, at the time, it said 566 tickets sold. Very nice to hear you were able to get so many to get a rental package. Can't wait to hear how the next promotion goes.

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