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Summer
Liftopia starts selling mountain bike tickets, but that’s not the best part of this news.

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
   

A couple weeks ago Liftopia announced a new effort to include and promote lift-served mountain biking tickets on their platform.

While these tickets had appeared on the site as often as resorts requested them in the past, this new focus and marketing push makes a lot of sense for a few reasons. According to Liftopia’s Rob Webb (thanks again for taking the time to jump on the phone, Rob):

  • About 100 ski resorts also offer lift-served biking.
  • Over 40% of the ski/Liftopia audience also mountain bikes.
  • Someone was bound to build it anyway, so why not them?

Really, though, why not them?

Here’s a company that has built a powerful, high-converting, data-driven platform for selling ski products. Their team has become the best in the business at dynamically pricing tickets based on demand and risk and time.

So when you take another weather-dependent, lift-served, outdoor activity that happens at ski resorts…well, again, why not them?

In a lot of ways, we should be grateful they did it. I’ve seen many similar looking efforts in other industries that are much more of a cash grab by disrupt-hungry millennials than an effort to build something that’s good for their partners.

Not Just Distribution
Liftopia has built a huge competitive advantage by not just building a great platform, but taking full advantage of the data it generates (and the talent within their team) to more accurately make pricing decisions.

So how are pricing decisions approached when they start something new? Something without a lot of data? Something like mountain biking?

Well, according to Rob, you use what you have. Rememeber, mountain biking isn’t totally new, there’s just never been this concerted push behind an open invitation to resort partners. So they took the data they did have, applied the lessons and trends and best practices from ski, adjusted based on what they know about the difference between the two (for example, booking windows are shorter for biking) and will refine as they go.

I think this is important. They aren’t guessing just so they can sell more tickets. They’ve built the cycling side with help from the lessons learned from ski until it gets enough lift to fly on its own.

Best Part
Have you ever stopped to think about Liftopia as a company?

Here they are smack dab in the middle of Tech Startup City. Their team is inescapably immersed in a neverending manta of “change the world” and going big. They have investors. Investors demand growth. They have a platform that could work amazingly well in golf or waterparks or amusement parks or a long list of other activities.

But here they are, still focused solely on sports served by lifts.

They could grow. They could be huge. But they haven’t. They’ve stayed focused on (better) serving the needs of our industry. They haven’t used their mission as a launch pad for the next big thing, they’ve stayed focused on that mission. For that I tip my hat to their team.

Well done, Liftopia. Well done.


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