One of my key points of this quirky take on the direction of skiing was the way Vail Resorts had turned inflated window rates as not only the reason to but a pass, but a PR play to give them a pulpit for singing the praises of the Epic Pass.
“They raise window rates to $159…It increases the perceived value of passes and gets headlines which allows them to reach more people with a dual, inclusive message of ‘we sell luxury skiing’ and ‘but we have options for everyone.'”
News outlets like to get “the full story” or have some version of “here’s what you should do about it.” The brilliance of Vail’s strategy was that they were both the original story’s focus AND the solution.
Window rates were raised almost $100 higher before they semi-abandoned this strategy.
Right now, mega pass resorts are getting a ton of headlines, but they are no longer the solution. Who is the solution, you ask? Basically all other resorts. But these people have already bought those Epic Passes, so what do you do?
Dear Other Mountain Passholders,
We’ve had a discount for you for years. It’s a good way to help see what we’re like. Maybe it’s needed now more than ever. Anyway, it’s always available, and this weekend we’re knocking the price down even further if you'd like to explore more. pic.twitter.com/lUTDnYyNCp
— Jay Peak Resort (@jaypeakresort) January 11, 2022
I love how Jay Peak points out that these discounts are nothing new. Like that chainsaw after a wind storm, it’s not a tool you need every day but today is one of the days it’s the right tool for the job.
A few quick thoughts there if you have such a tool in your shed.
1) Start to Talk About Them
You’ve already got these perks nailed down, like Jay, now may be a great time to start tweeting, emailing, and talking about them. Just get them back out into the minds of skiers again.
2) Do a Little PR Around Them
I’d also consider taking a page from Vail’s playbook. Vail is getting all the headlines, but this time you’re the solution. So be sure you’re doing a lot of work with your press contacts so they realize those perks exist the next time they cover something about lift lines, understaffing, etc. at nearby mountains and need a “here’s what to do about it” line at the end.
3) Join Forces?
I’m really curious if a loosely organized campaign will come out of this around these perks. I can imagine a website with copy along the lines of:
“So you bought mega pass, but you’re stuck in traffic and lift lines every time you try to use it? Not to worry, listed below are 57 resorts across the country where any season pass – including a mega pass – can get you some huge discounts and remind you how amazing skiing can be.”
Look, I know many resorts are worried about poking the bear, but those bears have enough to worry about right now.
But, speaking of right now, out there are 2-3 million passholders who are frustrated, annoyed, and upset. That’s a problem.
But they also love skiing. Great skiing. You have that. That’s an opportunity.
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