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Dynamic pricing for lift passes?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I received a marketing email from the Madonna di Campiglio lift company today which said that they were moving to a dynamic pricing system for lift pass sales this winter, comparing their approach to buying airline tickets. The earlier you buy the less you will pay. I'm not sure the model is exactly the same - how often does a major European ski resort refuse to sell you a ticket because they have reached their capacity limit, in the same way that an airline won't sell you a plane ticket because all the seats are booked? But I wonder if this is something which will be adopted more widely? Plenty of places offer earlybird discounts if you buy your lift pass the previous autumn, but I can't recall seeing any European resort with a dynamic price model which operated throughout the winter.

https://www.ski.it/en/purchase-lift-passes
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If they're borrowing from airline policy, does that mean the prices will soar during school holidays?
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@adithorp, and they’ll charge you extra if you want to take skis with you? Laughing
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Slippery slope.

Maybe just a bit of cashflow plan to incentivise people buying ski passes at the time they book their accomodation/holiday but if they truly follow through on it where does it end? Disincentive for people to book your resort at short notice or perhaps even "surge" premium on powder days and special events when people turn up en mass.


If it's dressing up the normal tiered pricing which many resorts have as low/mid/peak season with usually a few Euros price/day between them then makes sense.
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adithorp wrote:
If they're borrowing from airline policy, does that mean the prices will soar during school holidays?
That would be my guess, unless you get in very quick and snap up the discounted passes which are available but will soon sell out. I wonder if there will be a corresponding decrease in prices during the low season weeks of January?
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@rob@rar, you would be royally p!!!!d off if you rock up to a resort, after paying for transport/accommodation etc, to find out that all the lift passes are sold out.

i can understand the reasoning behind dynamic pricing as a method of getting punters to part with their cash in advance of arrival, obviously there are some areas that never offer an early bird discount (3valleys come to mind).

but, if it was a first come first served on lift passes, there would have to be some form of transparency from the lift companies prior to booking all other aspects of the holiday, when booking flights you can roughly tell how many seats are still available.

does anyone know if there is such a thing as maximum capacity in resort, certainly not any during school holidays Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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I think the school holiday play would be a bold move. Why disadvantage your resort against many others by being seen to be "anti family"?

Can see there's a play where they jack prices up so much that they become attractive to non families though wink
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terrygasson wrote:
@rob@rar, you would be royally p!!!!d off if you rock up to a resort, after paying for transport/accommodation etc, to find out that all the lift passes are sold out.
Indeed, so for large resorts there is effectively an unlimited supply of lift passes available to be sold. Which makes a bit of a mockery of a dynamic pricing model based on supply and demand. If this is a fancy new way of marketing early purchase discount then that seems OK, but if it is a genuine dynamic pricing model then I'd fear that this is the start of a slippery slope as others have said.
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@rob@rar, Apparently, there has been dynamic pricing in Zermatt for a couple of years already. I'm not sure (I haven't been since they've introduced it) but I don't think they refuse to sell tickets on days with high numbers... I think they are the days when they charge the most to the latecomers.
Presumably, it works to some extent if other resorts are starting it.
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rob@rar wrote:
adithorp wrote:
If they're borrowing from airline policy, does that mean the prices will soar during school holidays?
That would be my guess, unless you get in very quick and snap up the discounted passes which are available but will soon sell out. I wonder if there will be a corresponding decrease in prices during the low season weeks of January?

If you click on the 'price graph' in the link above you can see both these features. 6-day passes currently vary between €240 and €323 over the season. Interestingly they are almost always lower on Mondays than preceding/following days, which could give those with Sunday changeovers an advantage.

My guess is that this variable-over-the-season pricing is as far as they plan to go for this year, rather than true dynamic pricing which varies according to demand.
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@SaraJ, ah, I didn't know that, I've not been to Zermatt for a few years. I can imagine all the big resorts will be looking at this notion with interest.
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ecureuil wrote:
6-day passes currently vary between €240 and €323 over the season.
I think that's quite a big differential.
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I actually wonder if MdC are doing anything different to just what a lot of resorts already do - just with better marketing people than Madonna di Campiglio!

Take the Portes du Soleil for example. I've recently bought lift passes for a couple of weeks this year and by doing so early I got 10%-15% off the full price. That's exactly the same result as MdC's "The earlier you buy the less you will pay." but leaves you with a customer with the positive feeling they've saved money and gotten my passes cheaper. The MdC system leaves customers with the negative feeling that "MdC have put the prices up because it's busy".
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 You know it makes sense.
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terrygasson wrote:
@rob@rar, you would be royally p!!!!d off if you rock up to a resort, after paying for transport/accommodation etc, to find out that all the lift passes are sold out.

You would have been equally p!!!d of if you booked flights without booking accommodation, only to find you aren't able to locate any accommodation at all.

So, it's not all that different to have to book lift pass at the same time as you book your transport/accommodation.
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@abc, the problem is the norm in Europe unlike the US is that there is generally pretty low arbitrage in lift passes for any single resort, and thus the expectation is that everyone gets a fair deal. There aren't really the cheap tix at Costco , the free tix on Elvis day for impersonators and the deep discounts for lodging purchase. Lots of people don't even look at a resort website and just assume they can buy a pass for 6 days on the day they arrive.

So you'd have to re-educate to be fair rather than pull the non-caveat emptor.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, fair enough.

But for the resort, it's truly to their own advantageous to offer a little bit of discount during quiet part of the season, in advance. Locking in the income, smoothing out the peaks and valleys are good for the whole of the economy in the ski destination.
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Mjit wrote:
I actually wonder if MdC are doing anything different to just what a lot of resorts already do - just with better marketing people than Madonna di Campiglio!

Take the Portes du Soleil for example. I've recently bought lift passes for a couple of weeks this year and by doing so early I got 10%-15% off the full price. That's exactly the same result as MdC's "The earlier you buy the less you will pay." but leaves you with a customer with the positive feeling they've saved money and gotten my passes cheaper. The MdC system leaves customers with the negative feeling that "MdC have put the prices up because it's busy".


For several years the Jungfrau region offered about a 10% discount on ski passes if you bought them online at least 3 weeks in advance. However this year they've removed any early purchase discount, so they are now going against the "the earlier you buy the less you will pay" strategy....
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I think you'd have to give them a pass this season and judge them if it comes back next year. I mean they'd have made a huge loss last year!
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Having re-read the website I might change my guess above, as it indicates that prices will change dynamically. So for future comparison, here are some prices for 6 day passes as at 26 October, for various start dates:
Sat 18/12 €248
Sat 25/12 €323
Sat 15/01 €254
Sat 19/02 €299
Sat 05/03 €309
Sat 19/03 €248 (unchanged thereafter, except for Mondays which are €240)
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Already in place in Falls Creek & Hotham in Australia, where Vail Resorts run the lift companies.

The prices vary by day of the week, week of the season, and how far in advance the purchase is made. The number of passes sold this past season was ostensibly limited by covid rules. I spoke to people who were on a multi-day holiday, had not bought their passes in advance, and found they could not get passes for some of the days. Some people might wonder why these people did not buy in advance, but the answer is quite simple: the discounts for multi-day passes versus day tickets are minimal, and there is no way of getting a refund or credit for wind-hold or rainy days.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Slippery slope.

I thought that was why people buy lift passes.
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A couple of places in Nz do it. The published daily rate is the top price but buying day passes a few days out gets some decent discounts on week days. Price goes up as more passes get sold.

Works great in my view. With a bit of long range weather understanding and a flexible work ethic Happy I can usually get the odd uncrowded powder day for about 20 of your English pesos.
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As my kids are almost finished their schooling I am more than happy for lift companies to gradually phase this in Laughing Laughing

On a serious note... makes some sense... but I'm not sure I like it. I like the simplicity of current pricing.
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Was also hearing about the POWDR owned resorts in the US will be introducing a Fast Pass scheme so you can pay around $50 a day to cut in the lift queues, like you can at theme parks.
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as far as i now, some ski resorts in Switzerland have dynamic pricing since a couple of years ago.
Pizol (according to weather i think), Laax (i think) and some more
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'Super Peak' weeks (eg New Year, Feb half-term) have been fairly widespread in Europe for ages. Canada too has had different pricing depending on the dates for as long as I remember?
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The last few times I have been to Madonna during "low season" weeks it was heaving. Very nice skiing there but getting too busy so my guess is that they figure they can squeeze some more revenue and limited numbers through higher prices.
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My take on is it that the resort gets a lot more business from Italians on long-weekends instead of Brits and Germans on their week long holiday. Maybe just trying to target the home market this year and spread out the trade over the season and convince some Italians to go for midweek stays to boost hotel occupancy?

Noticed they seem to have removed the option to buy a local, Madonna only pass. If you're skiing more than 2 days you now need to buy the pass for the whole area. Local pass used to be about €30 cheaper a week.

In general though, if this does stick and becomes a thing, trying to budget for a ski holiday is a big enough pain without having to factor in ever changing prices for your lift pass.
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In my experience, it's worked the other way as well i.e. prices on off-peak days have been discounted on the day. This to encourage locals to come on a Tues-Thurs (with the discounted rate being published from the day before on the website). We found this last time we were skiing in the 4 Vallées. We opted to buy as-and-when because we were there for 3 weeks; didn't intend to ski all the time; the weather was variable; and we avoided busy Sat/Sun. A number of times when we turned up to buy for just 1-3 days, the rate was down from the standard published rate, between 15%-30%. Which was a nice surprise. Téléverbier didn't seem to be publicising it much, I assume because locals would know anyway and one/two-week visitors will be predisposed to get a pass for the whole period.

I wondered if other resorts do this late purchase discount, but similarly, don't make a big deal out of it to avoid losing revenue from mainstream week/fortnight visitors who just buy a pass for the whole period as a default.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Wed 27-10-21 11:23; edited 4 times in total
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For MdC there are standard lift prices published here https://www.campigliodolomiti.it/en/pagine/dettaglio/skipass,162/skipass_skiarea,704.html and the website only talks about discounts so I'd come to the same conclusion as @LaForet.

FYI the week we're going in late January currently offers a Eur 0.60 discount due to dynamic pricing Very Happy you can save slightly more if your 6 days start on a Monday or if you do 4 days starting Mon, Tues, Weds.
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I have seen a dynamic pricing model on the Soelden website when checking out various resorts etc to decide where to head to early December this year
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The matt with an A also does this
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Just spotted that Chamonix is introducing dynamic pricing this season, on day passes only as far as I can see.
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La Plagne and Les Arcs are as well with some Sundays reduced and all Saturdays
and I guess you could call Ski A La carte a form of dynamic pricing as well in as much as different days are charged at different rates.
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Avoriaz has done it for a while with flash sales for midweek passes, and weekend offers.
Also they have gone down the route of not selling passes: a few years ago there was a drought and it was the only place around with snow (Christmas to new year week). People were coming from all over (I know of busses organised from as far away as Megeve). SERMA tried to manage the situation by prioritising passes for those who booked accommodation and pass packages through P&V (Maeva), and also issued a limited number of daily passes.
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