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 Conversion Cup is a traveling award. The winning resort will claim the Cup for a period of one year, until the next Conversion Cup winner is again crowned at the NSAA National Convention. Winners will receive a Conversion Cup plaque to keep on display at their ski area.
For the second season, Mission Ridge has offered the Freedom Pass - its program designed specifically to provide a roadmap for beginners to become (at least) intermediate skiers. The Freedom Pass is an evolution from the successful Learn to Ski in 3 program that Mission Ridge had in place for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
The Freedom Pass addresses some of the most common hurdles for beginners, including the cost of the lesson, the feeling of intimidation, the lack of a clear progression to the next level, and the hassles related to equipment. The $159 Freedom Pass includes unlimited beginner group lessons, access to the beginner lift, and equipment rental.
"The Freedom Pass allows beginners the freedom to learn at their own pace and feel comfortable, confident, and inspired to explore new terrain because they aren't worried about a limited number of lessons," noted the application from Mission Ridge.
Not only do beginners get to take as many lessons as they want, once they feel comfortable moving up to more challenging terrain, Mission Ridge has the next stepping stone ready: a discounted three-pack of all-mountain lift tickets, a discount on an intermediate lesson, and a discount on a season pass for the subsequent season. This additional package of upgrades encourages new skiers and snowboarders to continue with the sport by exploring intermediate terrain and committing to a season pass the following winter. More than 20 percent of Freedom Pass holders from the 2015-16 winter became season pass holders this season.
Mission Ridge improved e-mail communication with Freedom Pass customers this season, with customized e-mails triggered upon sign-up, after the third lesson, and at other key milestones in the program. Tracking the progress of beginners through the life cycle of the program was a critical element. Mission Ridge tracked the number of lessons as well as non-lesson visits for each participant in the Freedom Pass, and has monitored these figures year-over-year.
Past Conversion Cup winners:
||Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts
||Killington Resort, Vermont
||Camelback Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania
||Mountain Creek, New Jersey
||Mt. Bachelor, Oregon
||Snow Time, Inc.