For aficionados of the white fluffy stuff, the best season of the year is upon us. But ski areas and resorts suffered along with almost every other sector of the U.S. economy last winter. Both visits and ticket sales were down. For the upcoming season, industry experts predict that mountain resorts will face revenue declines ranging from 3–5%. Only a small percentage of the population skis regularly, especially given the general difficulty and expense associated with the sport.
So what changes are ski resorts planning with respect to marketing? Operators will follow some of the same strategies they implemented last year. This means advertising discounted season passes to both local and regional skiers. To lure skiers from further away, resort operators are discounting lessons or amenities such as meals.
Overall, the industry seems to be trending toward larger resorts that offer a range of activities. By marketing services such as tubing, snowshoeing and ice skating, resorts can appeal to a broader consumer group and secure a steadier revenue stream. Even family members who do not ski or snowboard may want to spend a weekend enjoying a spa or fine dining at a resort.
Resorts are expecting some rise in interest as a result of the Winter Olympics which will be held in British Columbia in 2010. And several states which rely on tax revenue generated from ski tourism are promoting the Learn a Snow Sport Month. To maintain market share and to generate tax revenues, both private operators and public sector agencies may be increasing their marketing programs in January to prompt consumers to enjoy the great outdoors.[Source: Steinbaum, Glenn. How the ski industry fights this economy, The ski Channel, 11.18.09; Clarey, Alex. State Governors…, The Ski Channel, 11.20.09]