skip to main content

Season Passes (All)
Google Adwords & Ski Resorts: A Simple Tweak for Awesome ROI

divider image for this post

(I sometimes feel I do too much critiquing and too little suggesting. Like, somehow, I’m the 400 pound, mullet-sporting guy on his 4th beer at the baseball game yelling at the 3rd baseman to hustle. So, every once in a while on a Wednesday I’ll try to balance the scales a bit and put my own ideas up for display, analysis, and critique –view all ‘What I’d Do’ posts).

For a lot of years, Google Adwords was my nemesis. Our love hate relationship went something like this: for every $120 I would spend in advertising, I would bring in about $300 in revenue. It’s a win for me, but not when you consider I was marketing a physical product that took time to assemble, provide support for, and possibly have returned, it was always a slippery slope. However, I’m sure I am 100% alone in my feeling that Google Adwards was “bringing in a ton of traffic but hardly any sales.”

What I was doing with my Google ads was similar to what most resorts do. For example, try a few searches for season passes in various states. What do all of these have in common? Better yet, what is a question that everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) has about each of these products that can only be answered by clicking on these links?

See what’s missing? Compare it to this ad:

The difference, of course, is price. Time and time again, I’ve found that adding the price to a Google Adwords PPC ad is the magic bullet that puts some meat on the bones of my once slim margins. When I added the price to the ads of the campaign I mentioned earlier, my click through rate (CTR) went to pot, but my revenues remained unchanged.

Why? Because before I was paying for hundreds of people a day to click on my link only to check the price, see that it wasn’t what they hoped, and press the “Back” button. Now, the price was filtering out the Groupon-like price hunters. More than features, more than snazzy headlines, more than bonuses – the thing that will almost always be the deal breaker for any sort of purchase is the price.

Fall Out of Love w/ CTR
A lot of marketers who run PPC campaigns are in love with their CTR. This, in my opinion, in a mistake. You do not want the most clicks possible. Why? Because you’re paying for all those clicks. Clicks may mean customers, but what you really want is the most sales with the fewest clicks possible.

Listing the price in your ads is a ridiculously simple way to qualify the people who click. If you say “discount”, “sale”, “lowest prices” this simply doesn’t help the searcher know if your pass fits their budget. They could very easily come expecting a $400 pass at 50% off when in reality, “discounted” for your passes is 10% off an $800 price tag. If they do, they’re part of the click-to-check-the-price crowd, which is not what you want.

Nothing to Lose
As mid-September season pass price deadlines approach for many resorts, try running a campaign for your passes along with the deadline and a average price (try to avoid “starting at $199!” if that’s referring to a full-time, left-handed student pass when an adult pass costs $999) and see what happens. What you’ll likely find is that fewer people will click, but the ones that do will be willing to pay the price you’re advertising, keeping your sales up but your PPC costs down.

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.