By Candice G. Ball. Photos courtesy of Liftopia
Even though Liftopia pioneered dynamic pricing for more than 110 lift companies all over the world and powers the largest consumer online marketplace for lift tickets, the CEO of Arosa Lenzerheide still had some reservations about moving to a new pricing strategy. Arosa Lenzerheide, a winter ski destination in the Swiss Alps with 225 kilometers of pristine terrain, is the largest ski resort in the Graubünden region of Switzerland.
Arosa Lenzerheide faced a couple of challenges that made it difficult to predict annual revenue, including varying snow conditions and rising travel costs. For the 2017/18 ski season, the management team at Arosa Lenzerheide set a goal to increase revenue generated from online ticket sales. The specific objectives were to double online ticket revenue from 200,000 CHF ($201,042) to 400,000 CHF ($402,084) and to drive online transactions so that in a few years, 50 percent of tickets will be purchased online in advance.
To help Arosa Lenzerheide achieve its goals, Liftopia combined the resort’s data with its own proprietary pricing model based on 13 years of historical data to create a dynamic pricing strategy that offers skiers a more attractive price the earlier the guests are willing to commit to their ski holiday. Pricing strategies designed by Liftopia and sold on its platform respond to consumer demand. For instance, low demand days have a different pricing curve from high demand days.
“The dynamic platform helps our partners run their businesses more efficiently,” said Evan Reece, CEO and co-founder of Liftopia. “Liftopia has always been singularly focused on the efficiency of our partners’ marketing funnels and our strategies help reinforce customer buying behavior. Liftopia also identifies for resorts where revenue opportunities exist in their data to make real-time, dynamic corrections.”
Liftopia offers its resort partners a best-in-class e-commerce solution, which boasts industry leading conversion rates and user interface, and a continually optimized checkout path, which helps partners generate greater revenues. That’s certainly the case for Arosa Lenzerheide. By partnering with Liftopia, the resort’s pre-sale revenue increased from 200,000 CHF to 5,300,000 CHF ($5,327,624), greatly exceeding the management team’s expectations. In addition, 25 percent of total ticket revenue came from products that were purchased online.
“We chose to partner with Liftopia because of their proven track record of increasing pre-sales for ticketing businesses in North America and pioneering dynamic pricing now used by hundreds of ski areas,” said Philipp Holenstein, CEO of Arosa Lenzerheide. “The ongoing assessment of the strategy during the season by Liftopia’s analytics team and the possibility to measure the success in real-time made them the obvious choice for a pricing partner.”
Arosa Lenzerheide is just one of the ski resorts Liftopia has helped to achieve their revenue goals. Since Liftopia’s inception in 2005, it has developed and fine-tuned a proprietary
e-commerce web-shop platform with a revenue-management model, data structure and toolset focused on dynamic pricing. With a dedicated focus on increasing ski resorts’ pre-sales, the U.S.-based Liftopia has carved out a niche for itself in a highly competitive industry.
Why has Liftopia been so successful? When resorts choose to work with Liftopia, they gain access to real-time purchasing dashboards and business intelligence tools.
“Liftopia turns marketing dollars into transactions,” said Reece. “We are very passionate about helping an industry we love to thrive. Although ‘dynamic pricing’ is now a very trendy topic, we believe we are different. When we started in 2005, we were foundationally a pricing company and therefore all of our e-commerce tools, data and reporting are explicitly designed around empowering these strategies.”
Liftopia gives partner resorts access to customized dashboards throughout the year, so they determine whether their pricing strategies are optimized for the market conditions. The analytics team also provides detailed, measurable key performance indicators such as revenue, online consumer behavior, regional benchmarks and upcoming bookings.
Reece emphasized that Liftopia is much more than a software solution; resorts gain access to a pricing engine that analyzes purchase behavior to generate optimized prices for each day.
“That pricing engine is built on millions of data points of consumer behavior,” Reece said. “Due to the high volume of partners using the same model, our continual improvement-iteration cycle is much faster than someone building a dynamic pricing strategy for a single resort. This ensures we more accurately identify successes, failures and unknowns in both an individual partner’s strategy, as well as in our pricing model.”
The power of data analytics has disrupted traditional sales strategies in almost every industry. With access to historical and real-time data that accurately predicts consumer demand, sellers can move to a dynamic-pricing model.
“We’ve been analyzing data for 13 years and we’re harnessing it for our customers. There’s been a major shift and now online platforms are starting to drive consumers’ behavior. Most consumers now think of purchasing online first,” said Reece.
When a resort enters into a partnership with Liftopia, they can implement the technology at any time. Their specific offerings will be posted on the consumer marketplace, Liftopia.com, and they will gain access to a sophisticated, secure Cloud Store.
The Cloud Store offers customers an e-commerce solution with a simplified checkout process that is easy to use on their desktop computers or smartphones. Ski resorts also gain access to a simplified process for waivers, photo collection and pre-fulfillment of lift tickets.
With a cutting-edge algorithmic fraud-prevention system, the Cloud Store offers consumers and resorts peace of mind that transactions are secure. Liftopia’s Cloud Store boasts 99.99 percent uptime over the last 12 months and delivers payment processing and gateway redundancy, operational support and a 24/7/365 on-call engineering team.
After using Liftopia for one season, Arosa Lenzerheide signed on for another two years.
“Since we began working with Liftopia, the results have far outpaced our expectations and created a win-win situation with our skiers,” said Christian Wyrsch, sales manager at Arosa Lenzerheide.
Even though the management team had some concerns about how the dynamic pricing strategy would affect Effective Ticket Price (ETP), the resort didn’t experience any major downsides.
“The ETP was only slightly lower on tickets sold online” said Wyrsch. “Looking at the higher no-show-rate, the large volume and performance comparison with the competitors, it is very likely that the tickets that were sold more than compensated for the loss because of selling at a lower price.”
The increase in online sales ultimately contributed to a better guest experience on the slopes. Forty-one percent of guests who purchased lift passes online reloaded a SkiData card, allowing them to skip the ticket line and head right to the mountain.
The success that Arosa Lenzerheide experienced after joining Liftopia is not unusual. The resorts that partner with Liftopia get significant return on their investment.
“We have been helping ski resorts get results for more than 13 years,” said Reece. “With Liftopia’s technological advances and increasingly sophisticated data analytics, we are confident that we’re on the leading edge and our customers will continue to reap the rewards.”