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How many skier visits per day?

uphillklimber

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A buddy of mine and I were discussing wages at ski areas. Now I can see this from two points of view. As the employee, and as the skier buying tickets. We were trying to determine the impact of raising the pay of ski area employees by $2.50 an hour. (I know, this is very similar to raising the pay of minimum wage employees at MacDonalds, etc...) Anyways, I point out to him that the impact where we work would be considerable. But we couldn't determine the impact, as we have no idea the number of skier visits. What the market would bear came into the discussion briefly, but again without all the numbers...

Anyways, where we work, there are 1400 employees thru the winter. If we raised their pay by $2.50 an hour, and almost all work a full week or close to a full week, so we'll say 40 hours for discussion. Additionally, there are a dozen upper echelon administrators who make huge coin, but they are few enough that the average won't skew much.

Okay, time for quick math: 1400 employees times 40 hours times $2.50 an hour equals $140,000.00 a week. And let's not forget the payroll taxes etc, which is generally 50%, bringing that toal cost to $210,000.00 a week, or $30,000.00 a day average.

How does a resort make up that much money? Lift tickets are $87.00 a piece, so they would have to sell 345 additional tickets to cover that cost on the weekends. That seems like it may be do-able. But on week days, not so much. A total of 2415 additional tickets would have to be sold each week.

Or simply raise the cost. And that is where we can't seem to make any determination on what it would take and what would the market bear. We don't know the number of visits to a ski resort. Does anyone have a link to help determine that? I have asked at work, and those numbers are not bandied about much.
 

Cannonball

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That sounds like a lot of people. Are all 1,400 employees working at jobs related to the lift ticket revenue? For example, if you are including food service people I would think their pay increase would come from food revenues; instructors from ski school revenue etc. If that's the case then the number of employees might be a lot lower than 1,400 and therefore the needed increase in ticket prices or visits might be a lot lower.
 

mister moose

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Anyways, where we work, there are 1400 employees thru the winter. If we raised their pay by $2.50 an hour, and almost all work a full week or close to a full week, so we'll say 40 hours for discussion. Additionally, there are a dozen upper echelon administrators who make huge coin, but they are few enough that the average won't skew much.

Okay, time for quick math: 1400 employees times 40 hours times $2.50 an hour equals $140,000.00 a week. And let's not forget the payroll taxes etc, which is generally 50%, bringing that toal cost to $210,000.00 a week, or $30,000.00 a day average.

How does a resort make up that much money? Lift tickets are $87.00 a piece, so they would have to sell 345 additional tickets to cover that cost on the weekends. That seems like it may be do-able. But on week days, not so much. A total of 2415 additional tickets would have to be sold each week.

Or simply raise the cost. And that is where we can't seem to make any determination on what it would take and what would the market bear. We don't know the number of visits to a ski resort. Does anyone have a link to help determine that? I have asked at work, and those numbers are not bandied about much.

I think your numbers are way off based on:
►There's a lot of part time employees at resorts.
►There's a lot of jobs that pay something above minimum wage. Are you going to raise them too? (ie the $12/hr job)
►When you're talking about number of additional tickets to cover some increased cost, you can't use the window rate. Too many people don't pay the window rate. You use the average yield, which is one of those numbers not 'bandied about', but you can use 65% of the window rate as an approximation.

A very common trap for business planning is "we only have to raise sales by x% to cover that cost". Well, how are you going to do that? Businesses are already doing all they can to sell as much as possible. When was the last time you saw a sign at the ticket window that said "Went home, we sold enough today"? It is very hard to increase sales. You are just one voice among all your competitors clamoring for that new customer. No resort is going to gladly hand over one of their customers to you. They will fight to keep him.

A simple truth is if you raise wages by 30%, then you will raise ticket prices significantly, and you will lose customers by the bucketload. Labor is one of the biggest costs in a resort.

If you mandate all minimum wages nationwide are raised so that all businesses equally face the same cost increases, then what? That's going to increase the cost of everything, fast food, travel, lettuce. And don't forget that most union contracts price labor in multiples of minimum wage. Your buying power will go down as prices go up. You'll want a raise yourself just to maintain your standard of living. That raise you just gave everyone will disappear in terms of its buying power.

What you really have to do to raise the buying power of the lowest paying jobs is mandate the ratio of the lowest wage to all other jobs. In other words, pass a law where a shift manager makes twice the minimum wage, a department head makes 5 times, a VP makes 10 times, etc. But who gets to decide? And if your pay is mandated, not related to performance, why bother to work hard? And if everyone has value, shouldn't we all earn the same?

The fact is, you want to be able to work hard, and be able to take your resume out into the marketplace and get the best job for the best pay you can. You don't want someone telling you you have to make the same as everyone else. The only guy who wants to make the same as everyone else is the guy that is coasting, and doing the least work possible. That is NOT the guy you want to base your compensation system on.
 

uphillklimber

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Mr Moose, you are preaching to the choir here. I totally agree with what you are saying, but I am actually having an intelligent conversation with someone who wants wages raised. (At least for now, anyways). Also, while there are part timers working here, many work 40 hours, and not a minute more, unless it snows then we have to clean up the roads and walks. But rather than delve into this guy got 38.5 hours, while the plow truck operator (me) got 52 hours that week, for discussion, we are talking like everyone gets a solid 40 hours, just for discussion. The 65% for tickert prices is about right, I'd guess. So many liftopia tickets, comps, 2 for ones, room rates, etc....

All I need now is the number of ticket sales per day. Then I'll point out that we can add about 35-50% because of discounted ticket sales, just to pay every employee $2.50 an hour more. And yes, for the purposes of discussion, we are counting every employee receiving $2.50. It is surprising how many work for minimum wage, $10, $12, and $15 an hour. To be fair, it's one of the better jobs around these parts. Had this mountain be set in Portland Maine, the wages would be significantly higher, or no one would work there when the local fast food places out pay them.
 

AdironRider

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At least out west, starting pay is upwards of 9.50 an hour.

Good luck convincing anyone the typical ski liftie really deserves more than that.

And full timers make up about only 5-10 percent of a ski areas employee ranks.

Skier visits would drop, but not from day ticket purchasers. Assumedly the pass prices would increase, and I think that's where it would hurt.
 
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