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What I'd Do
Season Pass Renewals: Treat Skiers Like Employees, Sorta

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“Today is another one of my “what I’d do” posts. Instead of talking about what other people are doing, I’ll put my own ideas up for display. Normally, I’d do this on a wednesday (alliteration style, “What I’d Do Wednesday”, clever,eh?), but my Monday content fell through so I had to swap it (My Ideas Monday?).”

If you’ve ever had a job, raise your hand. Aside from the “serial entrepreneurs” out there who started mowing lawns at age 12 and haven’t looked back, we know first hand how this works. The longer you work for a company, the better the benefits and pay you receive.  It costs a lot to find and train good employees and it’s worth it to reward those that have faithfully worked for the business’s cause.  I’m seeing a lot of similarities between that sentence and acquiring, and keeping, season pass holders.

Consistent Passholders Get Benefits
Getting people to renew their passes is always an intersting task. The idea I’m sharing is pretty simple, the longer you are a passholder, the better the benefits are that you get for various things. Here a quick example system I came up with while I ate a chimichanga for lunch, which means it’s probably close to perfect:

  • Year 1: None
  • Year 2: “___ Resort Passholder” T-Shirt
  • Year 3: Two free lift tickets for a friend (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 4: 15% discount on all resort dining (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 5: Five year-ers club (free skiing the day before resort opens) (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 6: Closer parking spot (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 7: Free nights stay in the lodge (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 8: Free ski tune up twice a year (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 9: Nine year nights – 3 free night passes each year (+ previous benefits)
  • Year 10: Decade club (10 minute head start on powder days on one lift) (+ previous benefits)

See where I’m going with this? You’ve got added value, exclusivity, community (5/10 year clubs), etc. built in. Skip a year and you have to start all over or take a 3 level hit if you feel merciful.  There are people who will never quit their jobs, no matter how unsatisfied they are, simple because they don’t want to lose the benefits they’ve worked so hard to accumulate.  With the right perks, skiers could treat their season pass the same way (except I hope the satisfaction is higher).

Benefits That Don’t Hurt the First Year Guys
One thing I tried to do with my bulletproof example above is choose things that fit the following criteria:

  • Doesn’t add an thick extra line to your expense report
  • Doesn’t hurt the first guys or normal pass holders
  • Is something any skier or rider could use

I don’t think any of them have to be extravagant or expensive, it’s the accumulation of benefits that is appealing and motivates a skier to keep renewing to make it to the next level or club.

Sometimes I have totally unique, first time ever ideas.  This likely isn’t one of them.   I’m convinced there have got to be at least few resorts doing something like this, I just haven’t come across any. If you know of one, let me know and lets get some real examples to look at.  Otherwise, I think a simple tier system like this could be a simple way to motivation your passholders to consistently renew year in and year out.

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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