Ski Packages

From “Ask Kit!”:

Q: We plan to put together ski packages with several ski areas, including cross-country centers (a fast growing segment.) Our advertising budget will be centered on the southern market.

A: Packaging is a great idea, partially because you can either do more with your combined advertising monies (you and the ski areas) or you can spend the same total amount on advertising but with less directly out of your pockets.

You’ve already told me that winter is your strongest season, followed closely by fall for colors. I’d like to see you focus more on attracting guests in the slower seasons. Since you are already busy during foliage and ski seasons, it’s time to build the off-season business. Figure out why guests will come to you during summer and mud seasons, and promote that part of your business too. Determine things you can offer to attract guests during slower times, like cooler weather for outdoor activities, and build on those things.

1 thought on “Ski Packages”

  1. Trend Tracking
    Boost Occupancy with Packaging
    Reprinted from Yellow Brick Road
    Packaging can be the key to your success as an innkeeper.
    “Package Travel is defined as a product that includes at least two travel elements, such as transportation and accommodations,” Joe Veneto explained to a group of travel professionals. “Package Travel can become a compelling reason for consumers to choose your travel products over competitors,” Veneto, who bills himself The Opportunity Guy, went on.
    I’ve heard Veneto discuss packaging three times, the most recent at the PAII Conference in April in Providence, where he was a featured speaker. In each case, he has discussed current tourism research and trends, offering suggestions on how to take advantage of the current state of the tourism industry.
    Before you dismiss the idea of packaging as just another way to offer discounts, look at it from the perspective of the guest. Buying a travel package is easy (no need to figure out what to do when he gets there and coordinate it), it gives him something (admission to an attraction, for example) that he might not otherwise get, and it makes him feel special staying at your inn (a benefit he might not get at a nearby hotel).
    Although packaging is a way to get a guest to select your inn over the one down the street, Veneto stressed that you need to tap into current trends before determining what elements to include in your packages. That question boils down to deciding which local attraction to include in your package: a winery for the romantic marketing or an aquarium/historic site/museum for the family market…candlelit dinner for two or a family picnic in a scenic spot.
    Veneto suggests that you study current market trends so you’ll know where to position your property in the market, examine the products that you might combine with your lodging, and foster the appropriate partnerships to make it all work.
    Here are some consumer trends to guide your thinking.
    More people are traveling, according to figures Veneto quoted from the Travel Industry of America, which predicted a 3 to 4 percent growth in travel for 2003 over 2004, but they’re spending less per trip, according to the same 2003 study. Family travel is in, with nearly 49 percent of travelers reporting that they travel with children or grandchildren and 25 percent of the travel market involves family reunions. These are ominous trends for innkeepers who intend to depend on the romantic travel market to fill rooms. It won’t. However, by tapping into the family market, innkeepers who are flexible can expect to fill more rooms with fewer bookings.
    Some other trends to consider when doing your marketing include:
    Travelers are seeking connections to people, nature, and rural destinations. According to a study by American Express, ideal vacations are ranked as follows:

    • historical/cultural (48 percent)
    • outdoor sports (32 percent)
    • entertainment/theme parks (30 percent)
    • all inclusive/resorts or cruises (24 percent)
    • pet friendly (13 percent)

    The historic/cultural offerings of most bed and breakfast inns place them as among the most attractive destinations for today’s travelers.
    The importance of budget/value shows up in nearly every trend study Veneto cited. According to the American Express Leisure Travel Index, today’s travelers are value minded, with 78 percent reporting that they need to stay within their budgets. They want good quality. And some (12 percent) will only pay the lowest price on travel purchases. This begs a question for innkeepers…how high can you push the prices for a place to sleep and breakfast? One way to push it up is to add value in the form of a package.
    Innkeepers need to consider how most travelers get to their destinations. Although bed and breakfast definitely appeals to the drive market, consumers report conflicting practices when it comes to getting there; according to the TIA study travelers are driving, not flying, but American Express says that 48 percent of all travelers will go by plane and current air travel figures support that.
    The chances to build repeat business look good according to the American Express study, which revealed that 68 percent of travelers favor short weekend getaways (drive market) and that they take an average of four weekend trips annually.
    How do they find you in the first place? According one study (YPBR) 76 percent rely on the Internet (your website) and recommendations from friends and family. The numbers using these resources are slightly higher in the American Express study at 78 percent. People who use these resources respond well to package or value added marketing.
    According to Veneto, some of the best packages are remarkably simple and cost effective; some even bring you more revenue than you might expect. He suggests that you look at what’s available in your own community. Even if you have an old musty historic museum, a private docent tour could be an intriguing add-on. Include the admission (probably nominal, negotiate a discount) in your daily rate and a visit to the local museum becomes a value-added experience. Arrange personal, private or VIP (don’t have to stand in line/backstage) tours to local wineries, art galleries, the local performing arts center, antique mall, the newspaper publisher or television station, etc. In some cases visitors are expected to make purchases (wineries), but in others the tours are offered free as a community service; you need only to make the arrangements.
    Finally, take a look at the trends discussed here to see where your customers fit. If they’re not a romantic bunch, don’t place chocolates on the pillow; instead serve hot chocolate on a cool evening or better yet get them a tour of the local chocolate factory. If you get multi-generational groups, a gourmet picnic basket won’t work, however a basket laden with sandwiches, soft drinks and cookies will.
    Resource: Joe Veneto, Opportunities Unlimited, 617/786-9096, http://www.opportunityguy. com

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