Limiting Capacity Article 3 of 4 – Launching ticket sales and passholder reservations
Aug 18th, 2020
Most resorts aim to have their tickets on sale mid-way through the summer, or early in the fall, so guests can plan their trips, book in advance and save.
It is almost impossible to predict the restrictions on capacity that might be enforced this winter as a result of COVID-19. This uncertainty makes it very challenging for resorts to determine when they should launch winter ticket sales, and how many tickets they should sell.
There are a few things to be considered when planning to launch ticket sales and passholder reservations for this winter.
- Add Inventory to your lift ticket products before they go on sale. You may not know if you will be limiting your ticket sales now, but if you even think you may have to, set up your lift ticket products with inventory associated with them before you start selling. You can set the ceiling on this inventory high, so you are not limiting ticket sales to begin with, but also be ready if it is decided that you do need to limit capacity in the fall. You will then be able to monitor your sales easily by looking at the inventory numbers. If you do need to limit capacity, you can simply adjust the inventory levels to reflect your capacity.
- Avoid Flash Sales. Announcing that your resort will be limiting ticket sales for the winter, and advertising when ticket sales will be launched will create an online frenzy. When Australian resorts launched their tickets online in June the demand was far greater than expected. There was significant guest frustration around needing to be online at a certain time of day, and needing to be quick with a mouse, to be able to ski. We recommend working with your marketing department on how your product sales will be launched to avoid frustrated guests. Some ideas to consider
- Staggering your ticket sales. For example, tickets for opening day till December 15th go on sale on Labor Day, December 16th – 24th on September 8th, December 25th – January 3rd on September 9th This will spread the load, and guests wanting to visit your resort for multiple trips have equal opportunity for each time period, instead of booking for their first trip and then discovering that their 2nd trip is already sold out.
- Withholding inventory – To avoid your entire inventory for a time period being purchased on the first day, you could consider releasing tickets over time. For example, round 1 of your inventory might be released on September 7th, and you only notify guests that have already booked lodging at your resort of this sale date. You could work with the hoteliers in your area to email the guests who have already booked, and inform them of when they can purchase tickets. The 2nd round could be announced to guests who visited your resort last year, or who are loyal guests that visit regularly. You may want to hold some inventory to sell closer to the date for guests that can’t plan ahead.
- Phased, targeted email campaigns – Instead of emailing your entire database and posting on social media to announce ticket sales, segment your customers and email small groups at a time to announce that tickets are now available to be booked online. Start with your most loyal guests or the guests that book additional products such as private lessons. This will limit the number of guests trying to buy tickets at the same time.
- Lift ticket fulfillment. Guest booking and registration is about more than just the online shopping experience. We need to be just as thoughtful of the purchase process as to what happens after a guest clicks “Buy”. Ensuring your guests are prepared before they arrive in the resort, and providing them with a streamlined registration experience and reduced fulfillment lines in the base area will be equally as important. Learn how our new Aspenware Arrival platform and integration with both the Axess Pick up Box and SkiData Skiosk are designed to achieve this – Learn about Aspenware Arrival
- Communicate and work with your vendor. Make sure your ecommerce vendor is aware of your sales and reservation launch plans as soon as possible. This will ensure you have the support you need for a successful campaign and have your site configured to handle increased volume and product configuration optimized for limited capacity.
At Aspenware we are laser-focused on ensuring we can all ski and ride this season. We are constantly talking with ski area operators and working with our customers so resorts can increase online sales and provide a superior guest experience. Contact us today to discuss your plans for the winter firstname.lastname@example.org
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