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What ski resorts can learn from a Walmart postcard.

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Shortening the space between here and there is a fascinating concept for me.

Like running a marathon in 5 miles instead of 26.2, you still get to the same destination or objective you’ve simply removed steps that used to discourage people from completing it to make it easier to get from here (not doing) to there (doing).

Now, the point of a marathon may not be to get every person in the world to finish, but the object of a ski rental area is and so people like Joe Hession have worked tirelessly to streamline it.

Lots o’ Things
There are lot of similar examples of things we want people to do but require a handful of steps to actually achieve. Especially with season passes:

  • The buddy passes on a season pass
  • The other perks like dining, rentals, etc. on a season pass
  • Actually buying (or renewing) a pass in the first place

In every case, there’s clearly value from someone doing each thing instead of not doing, so we certainly have an incentive to find ways to make it easier to go from here to there.

Gift cards have become big business for retail stores. I’m sure there’s a bit of breakage in there that makes them even more appealing than we can see from the outside, but the fact you don’t have to guess (and be wrong) when giving the gift and the receiver can get exactly what they want makes it a strong duo.

But buying a gift card online can be tricky, especially when it’s last minute when shipping gets expensive (and uncertain), printing looks lame, email could go to spam, etc.

Now, in that thread, consider this.

Instead of an offer or a discount or a promo to get us from here to there, Walmart took us directly there in one step: they sent us a physical gift card ready to be loaded with a few bucks.

Open it up and you’ll see the steps printed right inside that cover.

By tucking this into the box of a recent order my wife made, Walmart has cut the gift cart giving process from 10+ steps (that may involve driving to a store) to 4+ (that doesn’t).

It’s amazingly clever.

Ski resorts?
When it comes to ski resorts, i think the application of this idea may be as simple as a fleeting hope I had when I picked up my Nordic Valley pass yesterday.

As they looked through the filing cabinet, I was taken back to the perks I saw when I bought my pass – 6 free tickets to partner areas and 6 discount tickets for friends/family at Nordic Valley – and thought:

“What if they handed me a sheet of coupons for all of these things at the same time they hand me my pass?”

Would they have to change their redemption process? I don’t think so, the coupon could do nothing more than explain how that works. But would I be more likely to use them if that perk wasn’t a line of text in an email but a physical thing I could hold, put on my fridge, and see every day?

I guarantee it.

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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