When it rains, it pours. With resort marketing topics at least. I had no sooner swapped a couple emails with Liftopia co-founder, Evan Reece, when I was contact by not one, but two companies that position themselves in the same market. In other words, Liftopia competitors. I’m in the middle of chatting with them and learning about their businesses models and what they can do for resorts, but until I wrap that up, I wanted to post an update about all the snazzy new changes over at Liftopia. A new logo, landing page, blog, more funding, as well as a few new hires round out the biggest news. With so many changes, I gave Evan a chance to address each of these areas and give me his perspective on what these changes mean going forward.
Gregg: What is the future of Liftopia with the next round of funding secured?
Evan: The future of Liftopia has not changed with this new round of funding secured, it simply helps us improve our value more quickly and continue to build tools to help ski resorts effectively execute on advance purchase and online sales. We will be adding more folks to our team (pretty crazy, we now are at 16 people and expect to be at 20-22 by January) while we work to improve our product, our customer service, and our ability to help ski resorts better manage their advance sales.
Gregg: I’m digging the new landing page. What do those changes mean to ticket buying practices and habits of Liftopia users?
Evan: We are always fine tuning our technology to help users better find and then purchase on our site. Our landing pages (and overall design) are in a constant state of flux as we test various iterations of content, design and merchandising to most effectively help customers find the best product for them on Liftopia. This means resorts have a better opportunity to showcase their resorts best attributes while helping customers understand that they have much more to offer than just a lift ticket.
Gregg: What is the main purpose of the blog and having so many people participate there?
Evan: There is no crazy altruistic goal associated with our blog, other than the fact that we have a huge number of interesting people we work with on a daily basis who are obsessed with the ski industry. As we learn from our experiences at Liftopia, we do our best to share best practices and fun tidbits about skiing. After all, we have a wonderful opportunity to work in an industry we love, so we might as well share our perspective with others. As you have found out, we are quite the talkative bunch, and we simply hope to share our love of skiing and snowboarding with others.
Gregg: Obviously, you’ve got a new logo. What was the reason for the change?
Evan: We were actually quite fond of our old logo, however it has been 6 years since it was created and we wanted a more contemporary design. We are aligning our brand with resorts across the entire spectrum of value, and want to make sure that our environment is one that resorts can be proud participating in.
Gregg: Anything new on the backend specific to resorts?
Evan: Ah, the BIG question :). As you have come to realize, the majority of Liftopia’s sophistication lies in our backend software to help resorts better make pricing and distribution decisions. We have a huge list of improvements, features, and insights that will go live over the next few months. I will be in touch as we share them with our partners. We are always building on our technology infrastructure to benefit our partners, it is a top priority.
Gregg; Would you share a few insights and stats into Liftopia’s growth over the last year and what that means for resorts?
Evan: It has been a crazy few years here at Liftopia, and while we have seen tremendous growth we have a lot of work ahead of us. This year we will have 150-200 resorts for sale (up from 120 last season and 75 resorts the previous season). More importantly is that each individual resort will be much more effective in driving sales. Over the past 3 seasons we have seen triple digit growth every year, and expect the same this season. In fact, this October the Liftopia platform has already sold 6x the revenue we did month to date in October 2010, and 45x what we sold month to date in October 2009. What this translates to is Liftopia being a larger marketing opportunity than it has ever been, and the potential for volume to be tremendous this season. We expect our top partners to gladly sell $2-4mm in net revenue this season.
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