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My Fearless, Bold, Probably-Wrong Prediction About Vail Resorts’ Next Resort Acquisition

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I’m going to write about something today that is almost certainly going to be wrong, but I’m going to do it for one, simple reason: reactions.

Reactions, first, in the sense that I hope this starts a discussion. I’ve talked to dozens of you about this before, but I think a centralized discussion will be both enlightening and useful.

Reactions, second, in that a lot of the major resort marketing right now is just that: a reaction to what Vail does. I’m wondering if putting our heads together can give us a better idea of their trajectory (at at least potential trajectories) so major marketing pushes can be more proactive and less reactive.

My Bold Prediction
Let’s get to it. When I look at what VR acquisitions I’ve witnessed somewhat first hand, I see a few common things even between Perisher and the midwest areas. For example:

  1. They acquire areas that, if they aren’t flagship caliber, provide alternatives, but never replacements, to skiers when not at flagship resorts.
  2. They acquire areas that, if they aren’t flagship caliber, either don’t require/have lodging or won’t cannibalize peak season lodging at flagship resorts.
  3. They acquire areas that, simply through geography or topography, decrease weather risk.
  4. They acquire areas that can contribute significantly to EpicPass sales through population and behavior.

My guess is based on very limited knowledge of the area and the assumption that recent acquisitions were actually, you know, successful business decisions. So, what will they acquire next?

Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford, MA.

Am I right? I’m almost surely not, but that’s not the point.

The Point
The point, instead, is to imagine what you would do if you run a resort in that area if Vail were to acquire Nashoba.

Would you try new products? Would you look for partnerships? Would you have to change your pricing strategy? Or would it be something else entirely?

And would any of that be good to do now anyway?

I’m really interested to hear yours and, more importantly, the WHY behind your wager. Use the comments below to share your perspective.

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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