Sticking Close to Home or Crossing State Lines: A Look at Summer vs Winter Customers

This summer we at Liftopia made our largest marketing push ever to promote sales of summer activities at ski resort destinations in North America. This is a nascent line of business for ski areas, and we want to support it as best we can! We decided to take a closer look at this group of customers who bought summer activities at resorts like mountain biking, water park admissions, zip lining, scenic chairlift rides, and more. Were they in-state or were they from out-of-state? How does this compare to winter? What conclusions can we draw? Here’s what we found out!

Across our entire summer platform, we found almost exactly half of our summer purchasers visited a resort in their home state, and half of our summer guests visited across state lines. But, if you looked at the data by state there was an entirely different result. California, Washington and British Columbia made up the highest percent of in-state guests with 93%, 91% and 84%, respectively. New Mexico, Vermont and North Carolina attracted the highest percent of out of state guests with 73%, 61%, and 59%, respectively.

Across our entire winter platform, we found 45% of resort skier visits came from in-state guests, so pretty close to the 50% we saw with summer products. We saw an even larger variety at the state/province level of in-state visits. Vermont had the lowest proportion of in-state visits with only 4% of visits being Vermont residents. Ontario was on the opposite end of the spectrum with 95% of visits coming from Ontario residents.


How do states that offer both winter and summer products compare in terms of in-state visitors summer vs winter? With a couple of exceptions, most states have a higher percent of in-state visits in the summer, than in the winter.


Utah and Vermont have the greatest difference of in-state guests during the  summer versus the winter. Utah has 72% in-state guests in summer, and only 35% in-state guests in winter. Vermont has 39% in state guests in summer, and only 4% in-state guests in winter

So what’s the takeaway here? This data could have implications in how a resort appropriates its marketing  spend. A ski resort in Washington for example, might consider spending the majority of its summer and winter marketing  dollars focused on the local market. In Vermont, things get a little more interesting. In the winter, the vast majority of the marketing spend should be outside the state (or on getting Vermonters to learn to ski!), but in the summer nearly 40% of guests came from in-state, so focusing on in-state marketing is very important.

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