THE 6 ADVANTAGES OF AN INNOVATIVE DIGITAL PLATFORM FOR SKI RESORTS
And the reasons why ski resorts that don’t implement it now won’t be competitive in 2025
Winter destination tourism is going through a deep digital revolution. This is said by Mastercard, who has produced a report, signed by many experts in the field, predicting that by 2025 most ski resorts will be “cashless” and will offer advanced digital services. This will be even more relevant in a post-COVID19 world, where the user is already more accustomed to use digital channels that will allow him to avoid unnecessary contacts (e.g. in case of payments in physical cashiers), to avoid gatherings, to save time and in general to use a faster service and with better quality.
This means that the competitive arena for winter destinations will move even more extensively online and customer expectations for the level of digital service offered by ski resorts will be higher and higher.
Experts therefore predict that ski resorts will have to equip themselves with advanced digital systems that are able to manage on a single platform not only the sale of the skipass, but, in an integrated way, the sale of all other services useful to the skier: rental, ski school, catering, hotels, etc.. Ski resorts who won’t adapt will be left behind, losing competitive capacity.
This is a great challenge for mountain tourism operators, that’s why Snowit has been working for almost 4 years now to support ski resorts and other small mountain operators by providing them with what is today the most advanced and complete digital technology in the world for the online management of winter tourism.
In this article I want to present the Snowit team’s vision, taking cue from several analysis carried out by studies in the sector, on what are the advantages that platforms of this type can bring to ski resorts, considering future market evolutions, highlighting how they can also support the management of possible problems generated by the COVID19 pandemic.
1 – BEST SERVICE FOR THE USERS: Online skipass – no queues, more time spent skiing
The sale of the skipass online allows the customer to avoid queues at the cash desk, in the cold, for the purchase of the ticket. Mastercard’s report predicts that in 2025 most sales will be online. If a modern and functional online sales service 3 years ago was a luxury, in 3 years time it will be a “must”.
SNOWIT – Snowit’s platform allows users to purchase their skipass online in a simple and easy way for all partner ski resorts.
COVID19 – The online purchase also allows users to avoid crowds and contacts, a fundamental requirement for a business in the post-Covid world.
2 – BEST SERVICE FOR THE USERS: More accessible online sales from a single account and with a single skicard for all ski areas
A unique national or even international online sales system that allows users to use a single keycard to purchase a skipass will be very important to enable online sales. Why should the user every time he or she goes to a new station to buy a skipass online, sign up for a new site or pick up another keycard (paying yet another deposit)? A new customer, if he already has a keycard that he can use to buy online, will be more inclined to choose the station that gives him this possibility. Moreover, this is the best way to push and encourage online sales.
SNOWIT – On this Snowit is far ahead, in fact it already aggregates the largest network of accessible ski resorts in Italy on a single online platform. The Snowit keycard, the Snowitcard, gives access to over 30 ski resorts connected to its skipass service.
COVID19 – It eliminates the need to return the keycard at the cash desk. In addition, it avoids the need to sanitize or replace the keycards used by skiers and then returned at the cash desk.
3 – BEST SERVICE FOR THE USERS: ski schools, ski and snowboard rental and winter experiences just a click away
Studies show that skiers are a highly digitalised target audience, they are used to booking and paying for a taxi with a single click, booking dinner or shopping with their smartphone. This is the level of digital service they expect when they book a holiday. Booking all these services on the same website where you buy your skipass is an expectation of the user and more and more the user will privilege the destinations that will offer this service.
Selling these services together with the skipass on the ski resort website is also a great earning opportunity for the resort! (see next point)
SNOWIT – Snowit’s platform allows you to sell online on the Snowit marketplace and/or to integrate the booking of all these services on the ski resort’s website, allowing a single shopping cart purchase and automatically managing payment and booking management.
COVID19 – Also in this case the online sale allows to reduce crowds and contacts (e.g. queue at the rentals for payment) making our beloved sport even safer.
4 – MORE CUSTOMERS REDUCING COSTS: Using the potential of the online to promote the station by reducing the use of intermediaries
Although 74% of travellers do research online before booking their trip, many winter tourism destinations still rely heavily on traditional tour operators for promotion, paying large commissions of up to 40%. An integrated booking platform, which gives customers the opportunity to book all the services they need online directly from the resort’s website, would allow the ski resort to convert all this traffic directly, without having to resort to excessive intermediaries.
SNOWIT – Just a platform like Snowit can be the key to giving winter sports enthusiasts the opportunity to book their holiday package online, from the Snowit website or directly from the ski resort website. This would allow the resort to capitalise on the organic traffic on the ski resort website resulting from online searches, reducing the weight of middlemen.
COVID19 – The world of tourism is changing as online bookings continue to increase. If ski resorts continue to rely exclusively on traditional tour operators, without developing appropriate digital solutions, they will see a reduction in customers at the expense of more digitised destinations and a reduction in their margins, already suffering in the short term from the economic crisis caused by covid19.
5 – MORE REVENUES: Activate more revenue streams
The integration of the sale of all services on the ski resort’s website enables new sources of revenue to be enabled: the resort can earn not only from the sale of skipass, but from commissions on the sale of all other services managed by third party providers. The potential is enormous: ski rental, lessons, hotels, food, experiences. The station website can really become an important source of additional revenue.
SNOWIT – The Snowit platform is built with this goal in mind. Snowit can be integrated on the site of the partner station to manage the sale of all products, with a turnkey service. Snowit not only provides the platform, but also deals with the contracting and management of all third party providers (e.g. hotels, schools, rentals).
COVID19 – The activation of new sources of revenue is very important to ensure the sustainability of the income statement of the ski resorts in case Covid imposes limitations on the number of skiers. With fewer customers the resort must take advantage of every revenue opportunity to be sustainable.
6 – CUSTOMER LOYALTY: CRM AND DATA
Undoubtedly, the digitalisation of the winter tourism ecosystem is a source of data and information generation. Traditionally, the skier is an unknown individual for the industry. Bringing the shopping experience into a digital ecosystem would allow ski resorts to have more knowledge of their users, thus maximizing the results that can be obtained from marketing and commercial investments.
SNOWIT – Snowit allows the resort to get to know its customers. A customer who registers to the platform is a customer of which the station has more information.
COVID19 – Digital profiling could allow mapping and tracking of meetings and movements, or simply sending communications for emergency situations.