Conversion Cup Challenge
NSAA is calling on all member ski areas to convert, convert, convert! What is conversion? Conversion is simply the process of turning beginner skiers and riders into repeat customers, and ultimately lifelong enthusiasts of the sport. With this, NSAA has developed the Conversion Cup Challenge, a friendly competition among member ski areas that closely aligns with the industry's overall goals to grow the sport.
As NSAA's Growth Model outlines, conversion is not a short-term process but rather a long-term transformation. Yet the current demographics make it clear: Time is not on the industry's side. The Baby Boom generation continues to age and will ultimately hang up their ski and snowboard gear for good. Research shows that if we do not improve our efforts to introduce new participants to the sport -- and convert them to lifelong enthusiasts - overall ski and snowboard visitation figures could decrease by 2.5 percent per season. NSAA's Conversion Cup Challenge is designed as a fun way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant efforts to boost skier and snowboarder conversion rates.
As part of the competition, applicants must provide a detailed overview of their program designed specifically to increase skier and rider conversion rates. Some parameters judges look for when making their selections:
- Increase in Level 1 lesson volumes;
- Level 1 lesson volumes in relation to total skier and snowboarder visits;
- Quantifiable success of multi-lesson packages;
- Season-to-date sales data on specific learn-to packages designed to drive repeat visitation;
- Overall data collection capabilities and sophistication;
- Marketing ingenuity, creativity, use of new media, etc.
The winning resort will receive a Conversion Cup trophy to keep on display at their ski area.
Les Sommets has dedicated significant effort and resources to its beginner conversion programs since the 2014-15 season. In addition to traditional beginner lesson programs, they offer a variety of packages and add-on lessons, all intended to incentivize guest to return and continue their development. As a result, the five-resort group has increased the number of new participants and returning guests in each of the past five seasons.
The signature Intro-Plus Experience, introduced in 2012-13, now represents 65 percent of the total beginner lessons at the resort. This unique offering features Terrain Based Learning as a key component of the learning experience at Les Sommets.
"The Intro-Plus Experience has created a major philosophy change with our resort operations, focusing attention on never-ever visitors as a priority," noted Simon Page, Director of Customer Experience at Sommet Saint-Sauveur and Director of Les Sommets Snow School. "The ability to find new skiers and snowboarders depends on the efforts of the entirecom pany and all the players who share this vision."
An additional program, the 3-Visit Package, is the most popular learning program at Les Sommets, with 89 percent of 2017-18 participants completing all three lessons. Recognizing that there is more fun to be had at the mountain than just skiing and riding, graduates of the three lessons (one-hour private lessons), receive a free Spring Pass and a ticket for the mountain coaster.
Additional highlights of Les Sommets' beginner programs include their 10-week program, which hasseen steady 7 to 8 percent growth for the past four seasons, with an additional 16,000 kids in school groups coming to the areas. Another 4,532 beginners over the age of 6 years have been introduced to skiing and riding via special March events offering two hour introductions to snowsports for only $10.
Past Conversion Cup winners:
||Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort, Washington
||Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts
||Killington Resort, Vermont
||Camelback Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
||Mountain Creek, New Jersey
||Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
||Snow Time, Inc.