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Optimization
The Art & Science of Getting Better Visibility for Your Resort’s Deals on Liftopia

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Filters are everywhere. They’re on Google, they’re on Facebook, they’re in your email inbox. So this week we’re talking about resort optimization to work with these filters to get your content the most visibility possible.

Liftopia sells a lot of tickets. That’s no surprise, nor is the fact that some resorts sell more tickets than others.

Now, the yield management side is a critical topic and one we’ll save for another day, but what about the listings themselves? How does Liftopia decide that your search for Colorado tickets in January starts “Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin, Sunlight” and not the other way around?

A while back I asked Liftopia’s Evan Reece this very question. Here’s are a few takeaways to remember from his reply.

Factor 1: PRICE
First an foremost, Liftopia looks at the price of the ticket being sold.

“All else held equal, price is a key factor in determining the value of a product and therefore has an impact on sort order…Both on-mountain and Liftopia price are taken into account for this piece of the algorithm.”

Remember, however, that this is only one piece of the equation and price alone won’t put you at the top.

Factor 2: SAVINGS %
Tied into price, and the comparison to on-mountain prices especially, is the savings percentage of any given ticket. Remember, people are on Liftopia for deals. The discount percentage is what humans often look at first, so it makes sense that Liftopia, in an effort to display relevant results, would use this number as well to determine what they show any given visitor.

Factor 3: NUMBER OF PRODUCTS AVAILABLE
Here’s what Evan said about the impact of your selection on listings:

“This may be surprising to folks, but the more products a resort has available for sale at any given time has a tremendous impact on the likelihood of that individual resort making a sale. Therefore, having more products available at any given time positively impacts resorts’ sort order.”

Factor 4: MARGIN %
Again, I’ll let Evan’s words tell the story here.

“Much like Google Adwords bid amount impacts placement in search results, Liftopia’s margin impacts placement on the Liftopia site.”

Factor 5: QUALITY RANKING/DEMAND CAPTURE
It’s important to remember that Liftopia is not a link directory but a business. Like Google rewarding advertisers that have a high click through rate (remember, for Google, the click is the transaction with the advertiser), Liftopia rewards resorts whose products sell well.

“‘Quality Ranking’ is not an objective ranking of products, but a ranking of how successful any given product is at capturing sales on Liftopia. This means resorts that are more successful at completing sales on Liftopia improve their placement, as consumers are ‘telling’ us that the deals are compelling by buying at various rates.”

Recap
So, if I had to put this into one sentence I’d say: create a wide variety of compelling offers and you’ll have a good chance of making the most of your resort’s Liftopia offers.

Good luck.



  • jj

    As a consumer of this product I have a few anecdotal comments on this topic:
    -Good visibility or not, if I have plans to visit a specific ski area I will dive through all the static to find that resort’s deal on Liftopia and I appreciate the site being quickly navigable to that data point.
    -A lot of resorts don’t bother to offer multiday discounts. Big mistake. This should be part of the ‘numerous products available’ strategy. I’ve amended ski week plans to ski multiple days at one resort to take advantage of deeply discounted two or three day tickets.
    -I don’t know how the Liftopia algorithm dictates when a deal is no longer available for purchase. I realize they want to create some urgency by stating that “only two tickets left at this price”, but I would be very careful invoking that as I have made decisions to ski elsewhere based on a perception that the discounted ticket would not be available when I really needed it in a last minute decision.
    -A bit off topic, but due to a mid-trip change of itinerary I once presented a two-day Liftopia voucher to a resort on the morning of validity and asked if they would give me two one-day tickets to use instead that day. They did and this minor bit of flexibility made me a happy camper.

    • It looks like there are four points, so I’ll number my replies :)

      1) I am the same way, but I know people who are the exact opposite. Lots of shopping preferences to cater to.

      2) Good advice.

      3) I’m pretty sure resorts choose those quantities and, in my experience, the urgency limited supply creates outweighs the people people who wait.

      4) A tip of the cap to whatever resort that was. Nice move.

  • Matt Sawyer

    Greg another nice timely post.
    I’m very interested to see this discussion played out from the yield management side. How are resorts using a discount vendor like Liftopia to optimize yield or is it just simply a revenue play as there is still presumed space on the mountain? Adding Liftopia’s costs on top of a reasonable discount does bring the yield per ticket down substantially. Also is an offering on Liftopia cutting into a resorts ability to sell that particular guest a ticket at a much higher retail price through their on mountain ticket window? My guess is that a number of Liftopia guests are simply shopping for deals and have little mountain loyalty, therefore they would simply bypass mountains that are either not offering a good enough deal or who are not listed at all. So opportunity costs certainly come into play.
    In the long term do the mountains want to partner with vendors like Liftopia and give up part of their revenue stream? By doing so are not mountains create greater awareness of deals, discount and the discounter amongst their loyal, and not so loyal, customers!
    Would the mountains be better off standing on the sidelines and letting this discount wave pass as they did with coupon books back in the 80’s?

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