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Free Shipping Thresholds and Resort Marketing: Does it Work for Length-of-Stay?

One of the things I’ve been doing with Ryan Solutions lately is a weekly bit o’ research we call The Stash. We ask a tough resort marketing question and dig through the database for an answer. It’s absurd how much I’m learning along the way and, with each passing week, I regret not sharing more of it on SlopeFillers. With no reason not to, starting today I will.

I’ve added an extra area to the sidebar for The Stash and, when they fit, I’ll share some of these on SlopeFillers as well. Onward.

The Free Shipping Principle
We’ve all seen it and are probably familiar with it. If I run an online store and my average order size is $35, I can coax it up to $50 by offering free shipping on orders over that amount. Now, that also means you’ll be giving free shipping to people that were planning on ordering $50+ worth of goods (and paying for shipping) so there’s more math than that, but you get the idea.

I’ve always wondered if there might be some application of this principle to skiing and, sure enough, there is.

Average Length-of-Stay
The Stash this week dealt with length-of-stay for in-state guests versus out-of-staters. The results were pretty dang clear: out-of=state guests stay, on average, more than a night and a half longer. Here’s the chart from the sample of 8 resorts:

So, here we have two number that can potentially have this principle applied to them.

Coax That LOS Upward
First, in-state travelers. When I see that these locals average just a shade over 2 nights for each stay, that tells me they are likely doing the weekend run: come Friday after work, leave Sunday to be home for work on Monday morning. For this group, I’m not sure how well this principle applies. The point is a quick getaway without using vacation time.

The second group. out-of-state guests, it certainly applies. If people average just under 4 nights of lodging, they aren’t quick weekend visitors, these are skiers taking time off work to come. So, enticing them with an offer to book an extra night (for 5 total) and then get a bonus like an extra night, dining credit, etc. could be the ticket to improve the LOS of your guests.

Once you know your resorts LOS, you can construct those classic “stay 3 nights, get ____” offers based on a goal LOS rather than speculation. However, remember not to set the target too low because, just like free shipping, you’ll be giving a free night to people who were ready and willing to pay for that night.

For more charts and data, check out the full, original Stash post: