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The clever angle behind Sipapu’s free lodging offer.

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When I first came across this offer I thought what a lot of skeptical consumers do: “okay, but what’s the catch.”

Because this is what I saw.

A lift ticket for $47 plus a free night’s stay? Too good to be true, right? Let’s explore the details quickly and then dissect the angle behind this concept.

How it Works
In their words:

“Stay FREE in our hotel or lodge rooms when you purchase one adult full-day, full-price lift ticket for just $47. Located just a short walk of the base area, our hotel rooms include two queen beds and a full bathroom.”

Pretty simple, right? And pretty dang appealing if you ask me.

Available Days
As you’d expect, there are plenty of days this offer is not valid. Here’s a quick copy/paste list from the details page:

November 25, 29, 30
December 1-6, 9-13
January 14-17
February 10-14
February 26-28
March 29-31
April 5-7

Dates vary a bit by hotel, but that’s the gist and you’re probably already validating your suspicions: rooms are only available during very, very quiet stretches of the season and only on weekdays.

One Other Requirements
The first is that this isn’t some free night to use whenever, it’s a free night to use the day before you ski or the day you ski. Again, pretty simple. Easy to see why this was their most popular deal last season.

What’s happening here?
Why let a room go at such a discounted rate? Why not charge some crazy but alluring fee like $25/night? What exactly is happening here?

While you could point to things like ancillary spend and that skier not coming alone, I want to focus on one that’s harder for core skiers to imagine but absolutely a real thing.

Teaching people about the awesomeness that is slopeside lodging.

Education as Marketing
I was almost 30 years old before I stayed slopeside. I had always wanted to, but just hadn’t pulled the trigger. In my frugal mind, I’d talked myself into and out of doing so many times;

“I could save a bunch of money by staying in town, and then just drive up. It looks like a great experience, but is it worth it?”

Once I did, I got it. It clicked. I realized how awesome it was to take transportation out of the ski-day logistics and just be right there.

Showing Them the Light
And that’s what I see in Sipapu’s offer aside from the other benefits.

Millions of skiers have been tempted by a ski vacation, but have never actually taken one. Yet all it would take for them to understand what they’re missing is a single night slopeside. Sipapu’s offer is creating moments for hundreds, if not thousands, of skiers every season. Skiers that, more than likely, will end up staying at mountains like yours sometime in the future.

Nice work, Sipapu.

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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