This blog post is based on an exchange with Tricia Garcia, Director of Base Area Operations, Cranmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire.
This winter has been off to a really strange start at Cranmore. Season pass sales are at an all-time record high. We are also coming off our longest season in resort history and celebrated our earliest opening for the resort this November. But temperatures have been all over the place and natural snowfall has started off below average.
One of the bright spots this season, however, has been tubing.
We have had tubing since the mid 1990’s starting with a smaller scale than what we have now. In 2010, the resort was acquired by the Fairbank Group who have since invested over $10 million dollars in improvements to the resort which included expanding the park to 10 lanes, dedicating lodge and ticketing space.
The majority of tubing guests we see are non-ski families but we do have some crossover with regular skiers trying tubing as part of the experience of visiting the resort. This year, however, we have changed how we sell our two hour tickets.
In the past guests would purchase a ticket and the 2 hours would start when they picked up their ticket. In an effort to maximize pre-committed sales, we also offered a $5 discount if guests purchased online in advance, in an effort to maximize pre-committed sales.
Through Inntopia, we had used block scheduling for inventory-based products that we offer including our summer Aerial Adventure Park and fall haunt event, the Ghoullog. We felt bringing that level of organization and ease to the purchase experience on a larger level of pre-committed sales with our tubing park would benefit the overall experience for our guests based off of that success.
So this year we got rid of the discount and are selling tickets in time blocks through Inntopia so guests are able to pick their time well in advance. We are also able to make day-of reservations, limiting the wait time during peak periods.
By doing this Cranmore has seen a huge increase in online sales with units sold up 171% and revenue up 216% over the prior year. Overall, 15% of total resort revenue is being generated from tubing this season compared to 12% the prior year.
How did Inntopia troubleshoot to accommodate this? Nick Haggerty, Strategic Account Manager explains:
To help support Cranmore and all our tubing partners we had to learn the checkout behavior of the guests. There are lone skiers, but no lone tubers. Itineraries on peak weekends will checkout 5-15 tickets in a block. To support this purchase behavior, and not oversell, we expanded our pre-book check functionality to look at the real time availability in the source system against the cache for the entire tubing time block. Previously we checked real-time inventory at guest search but by shifting to checking availability against the cache for limited inventoried products gives us better search performance, faster eComm checkout, and the ability to ensure we do not oversell. This was a great win for our partners and will help scale tubing as a vertical on the platform.
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