- Sep 5, 2014
- Northwood, NH (Sunday River, ME)
The one problem with your POV is that it is hard to fully control the buying habits of an individual passholder. Unless they have real estate proerty that quassi locks them it at a certain resort, what ties them into a certain pass? So as a resort, yes you want to cater to some extent your full season passholders. But why would you exclude another mass pool of revenue to save a few higher dollar passholders (maybe)? Sure an Ikon guest contributes less, but if that is drawing 3X the visits than passholders themselves, you have a bigger customer pool to draw on. Reliance on individual passholders is a bit akin to putting most of your revenue eggs in one basket. It actually is poor business to close off your revenvue streams to just one limited pool.So a few points. First, you're looking at this on the micro level (revenue per day) than the macro level (overall revenue). Second, the point that you're missing is that those who are passholders at a lot of these partner resorts are NOT happy with the crowding and the issues created by Ikon. So a lot of them are dropping their passes or threatening to do so. WHY would you risk losing someone who represents at least $1,000 in revenue for someone who, at most, represents $200-480 or so? And even then you are competing with other resorts to get that revenue? You wouldn't. That's why you are seeing places like Big Sky, Brighton, Jackson Hole, and even Crown's own Aspen resorts restricting Ikon access because their very own passholders are not happy with the crowding issues and are leaving. Hell, Aspen has even quit Ikon base altogether and it is an owner of Alterra. What does that tell you?
You are right that, to some extent, the two can coexist provided that there is no conflict. Here there is and POWDR ain't doing nothing about it. But the problem becomes that the ones who are paying the freight are asking, "why am I paying this much for an experience that is now more crowded?" and are leaving. Normally you do not want that. Boyne, Jackson Hole, and even Aspen are indeed responding to this concern while POWDR is ignoring it completely and even acting adverse to the largest portion of their business. Why is that? It flies in the face of normal business logic.
My point with POWDR is that it is trying to have its cake and eat it too. And I have reason to believe it is not working out because they are losing passholders and can't pay to hold onto good staff or finish this project at what is supposed to be a flagship resort. As I predicted last year, instead of evaluating Ikon to appease passholders they just increased the pass price to make up for the loss of revenue. They want to have Ikon AND pass revenue. But in some places that creates the conflict I've outlined.
Now getting back to my bigger point--and that is POWDR not finishing the lodge. Ultimately only POWDR knows why. POWDR is not managing season passholder expectations well and, at least out here, has lost passholder business because of it.
And finally my comments about Ikon are not at all meant to be personal. I get the sense that you are taking it that way. I'm glad that you are having a good experience with Ikon and it works for you. As you said the dynamics are different on the east coast. They are not out here.