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Liftopia Launches Cloud Stores: Another Resort Game-Changer?

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

As the sands of the hourglass, so aren’t the snows from the skies. That’s why Liftopia works, and works well, because they drive advanced purchases of date-specific lift tickets, long before the skiers know if they’ll be lucky enough to catch one of mother nature’s sporadic spurts of snow or sunny, bluebird days. For the last few years, they’ve been refining this system, building in analytics and an optimized UI to help resorts sell as many tickets as possible…from the Liftopia site. Now, that functionality comes home to resorts’ websites with the announcement of Cloud Stores.

[ Evan Reece announced this product at the recent PhoCus Wright conference. click this link to watch the video: http://conference.phocuswright.com/program_sessions/1182 ]

A Few Key Features

  1. The cloud store is on your site, with your brand. This lets you combine the traffic that is already coming to your site with the advanced, date-specific purchasing of Liftopia’s platform.
  2. Resorts get the data. With Cloud Store, your resort ends up with email addresses and more about the people that are buying your passes, allowing you to plug that into your database and send additional communications to move skiers toward other products or simply enhance the guest experience.
  3. The same analytics and optimized funnel. Nothing changes here, they’ve spent a lot of time getting this right and Cloud Stores get the same thing.
  4. Lower fees than on the Liftopia site. One of the first questions you likely had and the answer is as simple as that.
  5. Cloud updates as system is streamlined. Liftopia is hardly done testing and improving the shopping/checkout process. As they discover tweaks that yield better results, these updates are applied to your Cloud Store.

What Users are Saying
Pete Meyer of Caberfae Peaks, one of the initial test resorts, had this to say:

The partnership with Liftopia has been great for our small Michigan ski resort. Liftopia continually challenges the way lift tickets and other resort products are sold, with an emphasis on advance purchase vs. discounting. They bring a level of technology that is unmatched in the industry and I am confident that their impact on the way resorts sell their products will comtinue to grow exponentially in the future.

This season, they provided an e commerce solution for our pre-season pass sale through our cloud atore. As a small resort with limited resources, we were having trouble coming up with an e commerce solution that would efficiently capture the necessary data (skier name, age, etc.) during the purchase process. Liftopia was able to accomplish this for us with our cloud store and successfully process all of our online pass sales with ease.

Live Examples

My Take
This feature is really, really big if you ask me (you didn’t, but just pretend). Ticket buying experiences on resorts’ websites range from non-existent to so-so. I’ve never seen one that really has the process down pat. Cloud Stores gives you a proven model and visitor path that can be tapped by your site’s current traffic. Liftopia will continue to sell tons of passes through their site, but for resorts that struggle with low conversion on their site, lack the ability to sell date-specific tickets, or need an e-commerce solution, this seems to be a pretty attractive option.



  • The Cloud Store by Liftopia is overpriced and costs resorts WAY more than they should have to pay for this service.
    LiftTickets.com will be launching the same option for resorts and the cost will be well over 50% less than LIftopia charges for the same service.

    The model of offering this service on a resort website has merit, but the cost that Liftopia is asking for this service is completely out of line. We at LiftTickets.com look forward to offering the same service to resorts at a cost that will save them thousands of dollars each year.

    Jim McAlpine

    • GreggBlanchard

      Jim, I must say I'm a little surprised by your comment. From our conversations you said you thought what Liftopia was doing was great and you were simply hoping to do it better. That is not the tone I see here.

      The problem with your argument is this: your selling point is price. Their selling point is conversion rate. Your price is quite a bit lower. Their conversion rate is quite a bit higher. Online sales revenues, like I always say, are based on the Traffic x Conversion x Price formula. Unless you can prove that your conversion rate makes up for the price difference, there is no reason someone couldn't come on here and say "what LiftTickets.com is charging for the conversion rate they have is completely out of line."

      Gotta be careful here, Jim.

  • To say that existing ecom/POS providers is so-so is… generous. I'm excited to hear new competition coming into this space. We've had very very little success working with either of the (unnamed) providers to customize the conversion funnel process. We put so much effort into driving traffic to these sites.. but for what? Converting visitors into customers requires a better offer and a better ecommerce conversion funnel.

    Thanks

    Dave Gibson

    • GreggBlanchard

      I agree, I think some improvement in this area would be awesome, force some of the more commonly used options to really optimize their systems.

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