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Season Passes (All)
The interesting, hidden benefit (for students) behind season pass campus rep programs.

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College rep programs are an interesting thing.

On the one hand, based solely off the math and where semesters fall in relation to season pass sales volume, you have to imagine that more reps fail to earn a season pass than succeed. If the numbers are anything like my experience with similar campaigns, that success rate could easily be less than 10%.

But on the other hand you’ve got this group of students who are daydreaming of a job in the ski industry, a point that Sunday River acknowledges on their college rep page:

“Be a College Rep for Sunday River and the College New England Pass and you can earn a free season pass, make some cash, and even boost your resume. Selling passes is easy and can be done 100% online through email and social media, and you’ll be set up with everything you need to promote passes on your campus and online to friends and fellow students.”

Compared to the cost of college, $300 for a pass isn’t much. If they can get 15-20 people in a similar financial boat to buy a pass for that price, there’s a good chance they can too.

The intriguing part comes in the ability for students to, as Sunday River says, “boost your resume.” Two thoughts on that.

#1) Start Ski-Chain Early
Whenever I’m asked for career advice I usually end up talking at some point about what you want your resume to look like in 5-10 years from now when you’re gunning for something closer to the dream job you envisioned during college lectures. At that point, you don’t want your resume to show anything but relevant experience.

For example, if you want to become a marketing director, you don’t want the first job on your resume to be “Marketing Manager at Killington” but the one before that “Burger Flipper at McDonalds.” Instead, you want a chain of relevant experience and results going all the way down the page. Campus Rep programs give hungry, driven students a chance to start that chain before they even graduate. Resort marketing internships are tough to find, this can help replace that.

#2) Learn About Why/Why Nots
Depending on your personality, sales can be a tough gig. But it can also be a priceless one. It’s amazing how many really good marketers spent at least a few years in some form of sales. I think there are many reasons why, but one that I’ve seen in my own experience is the first-hand insight you get into why people do or don’t buy. You get instant feedback on messages and angles and offers that you can use to iterate and refine your message.

Some people succeed in sales partly because of their personality or network, but if I saw a normal kid who started as a campus rep and sold 5 the first year, 15 the next year, and 30 the year after that? I’d hire him/her in an instant because that’s someone who wasn’t naturally good at selling, but listened and learned and improved.

That Said
That said, I wonder if there are ways we could help students even more as they take a chance on a resort’s behalf.

First, more marketing support rather than competition. Instead of sending out your own college pass emails to students with a “” email, give them a little more hands-on experience by loading up a spreadsheet with 100 leads they can follow and three weeks to sell before sending that email.

Second, more rewards beyond a pass. A kid that sells 10 passes but doesn’t hit the goal has generated $3,000-$5,000 in revenue with nothing in return. That’s nothing to sneeze at. I’d love to see more tiers built in to reward students who hustle and work hard but hit a ceiling in terms of sales. To be fair, some resorts already do awesome at this. If their goal is season pass, what if each sale earned them a discount toward that pass? So even if they don’t get 100%, they still move closer to the thing they wanted in the first place?

Third, a bigger slice. These kids are hustling with no budget and no real experience. When you do the math around quotas required to get a free pass and bonuses after, there’s a good chance you’re giving these kids a much smaller share of each sale than you give sites like Liftopia. I’d love to see no sales quota higher than 10 passes.

These kids are taking chances, hassling their friends and family, and getting out of their comfort zone on a resort’s behalf.

Let’s make sure they know we appreciate it.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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