The effect of date-specific ticket availability on season pass sales

TL;DR: very few customers switch from buying a season pass to date-specific tickets at a single resort.

If your resort already works with Liftopia, you’ve undoubtedly heard from your account manager asking if you’re ready to get your lift tickets live now for next season. After all, the internet store never closes and seasonal businesses are shifting towards year-round ticket availability.  

One potential concern that our team has heard from partners is that offering date-specific lift tickets below window rate will cannibalize sales from their dateless products (season passes or unrestricted multi-day ticket packs). While we understand the basis for this very rational concern, the data collected from our partners shows that customers rarely shift from buying a season pass to buying date-specific tickets for a single resort over time.

To look into this, we examined purchasing behavior for a sample of ski resorts that offered both date-specific lift tickets and dateless products over the last two years. We determined the percentage of customers who purchased a dateless product, then subsequently purchased a date-specific product within a two year window. We then “reversed” this analysis to see how many customers purchased a date-specific product followed by a dateless product.

Within the partners that we sampled, the percentage of customers who first bought a season pass followed by date-specific tickets ranged between 0.28% and 1.3% with an average rate of 0.75%. When reversed from date-specific to dateless products, this number ranged between 0.46% and 4.29% with an average rate of 1.9%. In any case, the percentage of customers switching from a dated-ticket to a season pass was higher than vice versa.

Distinct Customers, Distinct Products:

So, what does this mean? We should not be too concerned about customers switching from a season pass or ticket pack to dated tickets by simultaneously offering both products. In fact, we observed a higher rate switch from date-specific to dateless products, which may suggest a resort is more likely to convert a customer to their higher value dateless products by offering discounted date specific tickets. In either direction, the data indicates that these different products attract different types of customers. In order to cast the widest net possible, we recommend that our partners offer both dateless and date-specific inventory simultaneously.

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