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Trends Q: Are winter mountain resort vacationers more likely to return than summer guests?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

Summer is becoming a more and more important time of year for resort marketing and resort revenues. A time of year that was once written off, activities like races and mountain biking are filling rooms and bottom lines. But how does a summer resort guest compare to those in winter? Are they as likely to return? Here’s what we found.

The Goods
We took four years of guest data from ten mountain resorts with both summer and winter lodging. The data were organized to answer the question, “of all the guests who came to the resort last winter/summer, how many came the winter/summer after that?”

wintervssummerreturn

So, of the guests that came in any given WINTER, 16.4% of them returned the next winter. Of the guests that came in any given SUMMER, 11.4% of them returned the next summer. Overall, winter guests return within a year about 44% more often than summer guests.

What This Means
Guest loyalty has long been a focus of winter operations. along with marketing messages, satisfaction in the experience has been refined to encourage and drive repeat visitation, increase revenues, and make marketing easier (retention vs capture).

Though the job is hardly done for the winter side of this equation, as we look at these numbers, it’s seems there’s certainly an opportunity to take the same approach and focus with summer. While it’s easier said than done, taking lessons from winter and applying them to warmer months could be a critical skill moving forward.

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