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Killington Uses “The Ultimate Incentive” for Their Early Opening Weekend

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Long, long ago, in a blog post far away, I talked about what I felt would be the “ultimate incentive” to get skiers to buy their season passes. On the one hand, you have deadlines…lots and lots of deadlines. The more I’ve studied it, the more I realize deadlines really are a powerful tool to apply to sales goals, but I proposed another level of motivation.

Those deals are about skiing CHEAPER, but what if it was about skiing EARLIER?

The Killington Story
I haven’t followed Killington as closely as a local, but from the reaction to this letter, it’s clear some things have changed over the last few years that have made a chink in the armor of “The Beast”. Among them, opening early:

“We are committed to providing the longest on-snow season as possible, after all that’s The Nature of The Beast. This means we will open early and stay open late. While our focus will not be on “being the first to open,” we will be more aggressive than in prior years to get open as soon as possible. Our snowmaking team is on high alert and will begin to make snow as soon as we have a good window of weather opportunity. In addition, we understand that our guests love Killington in the spring and we are committing to staying open until we can no longer provide a quality product.”

Just a week later, the weather changed and they had an opportunity to walk the walk.

Early Opening
Killington blew a ton of snow, aided by a few inches of the natural stuff, and opened for the weekend. Here’s are a few pics.

Not bad for the second week of October in Vermont, eh?

The Catch
Here’s the catch that brings me back to my original point. The only people that could ski were passholders. Killington’s Pres, Mike Solimano, put it this way:

“We wanted to thank our Season Pass and Express Card holders for their loyality to Killington Resort and offer early season skiing and riding to them. We truly appreciate their support, and we are committed to providing the longest on-snow season as possible for all our guests.”

I wouldn’t be too surprised if sales didn’t actually spike this year right before their early opening. It may have been too late. The die-hards that would enjoy that type of skiing probably all bought their passes long ago to whichever mountain they chose.

But think about next year. Everyone in the East now knows that Killington is serious about early openings and rewarding passholders. When die-hards from other mountains look at which pass they want to buy in 13/14, or when someone is debating buying a pass over individual tickets, you’d better believe they’ll remember this weekend.

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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