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more season pass buyers?

soxfan2

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Hi Everyone, I am just trying to brainstorm how to sell more season passes at Whaleback. If anyone has any ideas, I'd LOVE to hear them. We are doing early bird discounts, swag give aways, etc....

We have some lofty fundraising goals for the offseason, including buying a J-bar lift to service spout, increasing our snow-making capacity, and general lodge improvements.
 

MadMadWorld

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I think the unknown is what keeps people away. How long is the season actually going to be? How many trails will be serviced by snowmaking? Just my 2 cents.
 

dlague

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Have you considered or approached deals with other resorts, preseason quad packs, or corporate deals? Even sponsored programs that might tie product to passes.
 

xwhaler

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How much are passes?

Adult unrestricted early bird sale for $279 which includes a seasonal tune membership to Golf and Ski warehouse. They call that a $100 value so effectively $179 seems like a very nice value. Not sure price is the problem.

What may be the issue I think is what MMW said, how long is the season? Personally I think if ever a tie to to a bigger local mtn could be established for a dual pass that would work very well from a value standpoint.
Ragged would seem to be the one I'd target, them or maybe Pico.

http://www.whaleback.com/season-passes/
 

dlague

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Have you considered or approached deals with other resorts, preseason quad packs, or corporate deals? Even sponsored programs that might tie product to passes.

Adult unrestricted early bird sale for $279 which includes a seasonal tune membership to Golf and Ski warehouse. They call that a $100 value so effectively $179 seems like a very nice value. Not sure price is the problem.

What may be the issue I think is what MMW said, how long is the season? Personally I think if ever a tie to to a bigger local mtn could be established for a dual pass that would work very well from a value standpoint.
Ragged would seem to be the one I'd target, them or maybe Pico.

http://www.whaleback.com/season-passes/

Not to plagiarize but here is a local example:

patsdeals.png
 

dlague

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Another thought that I saw elsewhere is to tie in a lottery/raffle of sorts. Anyone who purchases a season pass can win a trip out west, pair of nice skis, etc. Reach out to larger travel agencies or resorts out west and explain that you are a non profit and they may donate the skiing and lodging same applies with the skis.
 

thetrailboss

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I agree that reciprocity with other places is a big selling point.

Another thing to do is Google what happened with Burke in 2000. They set a high goal and enlisted banks, businesses, etc. to sell them, They also told everyone that it was either sell the passes or not open. And it worked.
 

skiking4

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I agree that reciprocity with other places is a big selling point.

Another thing to do is Google what happened with Burke in 2000. They set a high goal and enlisted banks, businesses, etc. to sell them, They also told everyone that it was either sell the passes or not open. And it worked.

False advertising.

I like it.
 

VTKilarney

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1) You need to incentivize purchasing the pass before the snow flies. If you don't, why wouldn't I wait to make sure that December is not a disaster?
2) Take a page from Kickstarter and offer stretch goals. 500 passes sold - a free passholder party sans PBR. 1,000 passes sold - a passholder only ski day. 1,500 passes sold - a free t-shirt. You get the idea.
3) Your biggest asset is that this is a community driven ski hill. Set a goal for passes to be sold and put one of those big thermometer signs in a very public place. Knock over the United Way sign while you put up yours. Get the community to rally behind your goal.
 

xwhaler

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I think they are trying to offer perks to buying early...they offer a seasonal tune package if purchase pass before 8/24.
VTK brings up a good point though....Whaleback really struggled to open early the past few yrs getting just 1 route open before New Yrs. It would be tough to justify (even at low $) a family possibly not getting any skiing in before the 1st of the yr.

Course its a chicken/egg thing---w/o early pass cash flow snowmaking improvements cant happen.

Are there any summer perks they could offer that would make people want to buy now so they would realize the benefits much sooner than waiting on snow?
I know some bigger mtns offer a free chairlift ride or zip line or something. Whaleback doesnt have that but maybe some tie in to a local golf course or something?
At least then people get some value right away, they feel good about it and don't need to wait to have some of their money give them a return.

I'll equate it to a mini ticket plan I bought for NH Fisher Cats (Minor League baseball in Manchester NH) back in November. They were running a program for early plan buyers to receive a round of golf, a ski ticket to Pats Peak, and some other coupons for $ off at restaurant/auto parts store/free propane fill up.

I knew the baseball season was 6 months away but the benefit of getting 'free' skiing in right away and golf later on would almost make the baseball an afterthought at least from a $ justification standpoint.
The team partners with those businesses and I'm sure gives them advertising space but something on a small scale could maybe work for Whaleback.

Put a sign up for a local golf course on a couple lift towers----gives ppl local in the area something to think about for next season.
The course throws the mtn some golf passes to give out to early pass holders---golf course gets the potential of ppl showing up and dropping $ on F+B when there is really no additional overhead incurred for them.

Just my $.02
 

Bostonian

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Hi Everyone, I am just trying to brainstorm how to sell more season passes at Whaleback. If anyone has any ideas, I'd LOVE to hear them. We are doing early bird discounts, swag give aways, etc....

We have some lofty fundraising goals for the offseason, including buying a J-bar lift to service spout, increasing our snow-making capacity, and general lodge improvements.


As a business school grad, perhaps I can offer a little advice. First and foremost, you've indicated in your post that you want to (I assume) use the revenue from the Season Passes to fund capital projects such as increase snow making capacity, procurement of a J-Bar and additional lodge improvements.

If that is the case, do you know what those capital costs are yet? Have you included them within a 5 year capital improvement plan? Identifying you targeted capital costs, how much money you have now you can put towards those improvements and how much the season pass will bridge the delta is a good start. Looking at your targeted goals, from revenue generated from the Season passes will give you a way forward to begin planning.

Once you get that squared away, begin to look at your target market. Whaleback serves which communities the most? I assume Enfield, Plainfield, Hanover, Caanan, Grantham and Grafton the most? Those would be the bread and butter of your season pass customers starting out. Identifying that target market is very important, so that you're able to build that customer base and have them keep returning. Next I would recommend doing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Identifying those attributes, you will be able to build a plan to best meet the needs of your season passholders. Below is a start for your SWOT:

Strengths: Great mountain, Interesting and Unique Terrain, Easy Highway Access, Friendly Staff

Weaknesses: Limited Snow Making, Unpredictable season, season pass benefits lacking, retaliative obscurity

Threats: Dartmouth, Sunapee, and Ragged Mountains

Opportunities: Untapped market for schools and families, improved website, social media use, and word of mouth advertising (think of Magic Mountain).

Hopefully this helps a bit. Also I would include season passholder days as a perk (opening the lifts earlier?, free hot chocolate, season passholder party, weekly email blast, and so on.
 

soxfan2

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As a business school grad, perhaps I can offer a little advice. First and foremost, you've indicated in your post that you want to (I assume) use the revenue from the Season Passes to fund capital projects such as increase snow making capacity, procurement of a J-Bar and additional lodge improvements.

If that is the case, do you know what those capital costs are yet? Have you included them within a 5 year capital improvement plan? Identifying you targeted capital costs, how much money you have now you can put towards those improvements and how much the season pass will bridge the delta is a good start. Looking at your targeted goals, from revenue generated from the Season passes will give you a way forward to begin planning.

Actually, we are doing a FUNDLY page to raise money for the capital costs (will be up and running this weekend?), and we do have a 5 year plan- We are also looking into some grants and private donations for that. Thanks! I think we are just trying to bring more people to the mountain. I have sent all of these suggestions to Whaleback and they will be discussed the next time we meet. Thanks so much- you all are always a wealth of skiing knowledge!
 

Savemeasammy

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How about offering insurance on the pass? If whaleback isn't open by a certain date with a certain amount of terrain open, customers have the option of getting their money back (obviously there would need to be some sort of clause accounting for weather/temps). If I lived in the upper valley, I would be VERY reluctant to buy a pass at the whale based on last year's performance....!


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