For several years now, resorts have been redoubling their ingenuity to attract and satisfy their customers by implementing new marketing and commercial approaches. This is notably the case of the Val Cenis resort in Haute-Maurienne which sells its ski passes using the dynamic pricing concept. This means that it offers different rates to customers depending on their booking date: the earlier they book, the cheaper it is! Conversely, the closer they book, the higher the price until it reaches the public price.
Liftopia / Catalate, the American giant of dynamic pricing, has extended its activity to Europe and to French ski resorts. The Val Cenis resort uses the Liftopia/Catalate group’s “Cloud Store” platform, which gives customers a global view of the rates offered throughout the season.
A few years ago, Tony André, Liftopia/Catalate’s representative in Europe, said that this model was scary because it implied a change in the mentality of lift operators. However, several years later, we can see that this new strategy is increasingly appealing to ski resorts and attracting new customers.
Dynamic pricing: the key to success?
Indeed, how to understand this craze?
Dynamic pricing attracts new, often younger, customers and rewards early purchase. In a way, it provides an incentive to buy in advance. This is of course beneficial to the customers but also to the resorts. The resort favours customers who decide to buy their passes in advance, and the latter benefit from a lower price than the “normal” rate. As for the resorts, they observe an increase in bookings (particularly for 7-day passes), the season fills up more quickly and, above all, this allows them to obtain a precise analysis of skiers’ consumption habits.
Yves Dimier, the director of the Val Cenis ski area explains “that by knowing the expected level of frequentation of the slopes, we will be able, for example, to adapt the number of people necessary to ensure the best possible welcome“.
This sales system has become so commonplace in certain sectors, such as airlines, that they no longer even promote it. So, when will it be used in ski resorts?
Ski passes already on sale in Val Cenis
In 2013, Val Cenis ski resort was the pioneer and integrated a dynamic pricing model. This year, it continues to innovate as it has already put its passes on sale for the next season: to attract more skiers and prepare for the next season.
Last winter was hit hard by the covid-19 crisis, and ski enthusiasts (of which you are certainly one) are looking forward to their next trip to the mountains. So why wait? Val Cenis 6 to 14 day passes for the 2021-2022 season are available now and up to 60% cheaper. Book and save!
Val Cenis dynamic pricing in figures
The director of the Val Cenis resort, Yves Dimier, explains that the dynamic pricing has been successful. Thanks to a campaign on social networks, it has succeeded in attracting new customers, especially foreign ones:
“We are very satisfied. We have reached our target with 67% of new customers. This is really good news. Our second phase will be aimed at regular customers. Another positive point is that we observe that despite the health crisis, foreigners have also bought a lot of ski passes for Val Cenis. About 12% of sales are from British customers, 18% from Belgium, but also 5% from the Netherlands.”
Better customer knowledge thanks to early ski pass sales in Val Cenis
Yves Dimier goes into detail about the advantages of implementing a dynamic pricing system for ski pass sales in Val Cenis. “There are regular adjustments to calibrate the pricing. The big advantage of this sales method is that we have instantaneous customer data, we know where they come from, where they are from, we know their age, and this allows us to better orient our strategy.”
One of the constraints that might slow down customers when buying in advance is obviously cancellation. So what happens if, when the date approaches, the customer is no longer available and wishes to cancel the booking?
To this question, Yves Dimier answers calmly: “We applied a refund service last year, which we renewed this year. Many customers tell themselves ‘I’ll buy anyway and if I can’t come I’ll get my money back’. So as soon as the customer has made a purchase, he or she is already a customer who is halfway loyal.”
Tony André of Liftopia / Catalate adds that last year, “customer service was very good, in the sense that all orders were refunded. This contributes to the customer’s confidence in the price, but also in the service offered. The aim is really to focus on customer confidence.”
To book your ski pass for next season, click HERE.