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Designing for loyalty: how do we preserve resort traditions broken by COVID?

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I wrote about this on the Inntopia blog and I’m going to talk about this more on a webinar today, but I wanted to put some thoughts down here as well.

What I want to talk about are two charts. I first shared these chart a few years ago. There’s a chance the results from this data will be meaningless this year, but there’s also a chance they’ll serve as a warning for what the longer-term impacts of COVID may be. And, if that holds true, they’re really important ones to consider when you take into account how many tweets like this we’re starting to see.

Return Rate vs Streaks

Let’s start with the lodging side. This chart represents how many guests showed up the following season based on how many years in a row they’d come to that same resort leading up to that year (full write-up here).

traditions versus return chart

In other words, once you’ve started a streak, the longer the streak goes the more likely you are to extend it another year. But, if that streak is only one year (or zero years), the likelihood is very, very small.

Passholders vs Renewal Rate

But to dig into that idea of missing a year, let me share this chart from an analysis I did of season passholders. In this case, we looked at the renewal rate of folks who had a pass last year but only last year (standard), those who had a two-year streak, and those who had a pass two years ago but not last year (full analysis here).

passholder renewal rate chart

The moral of this story? If they start a streak – just like lodging – renewal rates increase as the streak grows. But if they skip? Once again you see a tiny renewal rate.

Designing for Loyalty

When I think about how many passholders will no have a pass this year do to:

  • Uncertainty
  • Capacity issues
  • Limits on pass sales
  • Lost jobs

And when I think about how many families who have come every year for a decade who, for similar reasons, will be forced to break that streak, I can’t help but ask the question:

How do we preserve that loyalty? How do we preserve the idea of the streak or tradition even if they aren’t able to physically come to the resort or buy a pass this year?

Because the revenue you lose from them this year is gonna hurt, no doubt about that. But you know what could hurt even more? The revenue you lose from them in the years that follow if the data prove prophetic and resorts lose loyalty, skiers, and traditions that could take a decade to get back.

Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback? Comments are old-school, click here to grab a slot on Gregg's calendar and let's chat.

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