Children’s discounts, reductions for senior citizens, half-day tickets, special offers - the pricing of lift passes in ski resorts is a complex affair. Over the years resorts have developed a feeling for the best pricing policy, combining experience and intuition. However, the system currently in use has one main weakness inherent in static pricing: a fundamental lack of flexibility.
Resorts know that some days are likely to be very busy while others are likely to be quieter. This has reduced the efficiency of lift-pass sales. For example, the school holidays bring large numbers of skiers and snowboarders onto the slopes, while weekdays outside the high season are traditionally quiet. To combat this problem, Axess has come up with SMART PRICING, an innovative dynamic pricing system which makes it possible to achieve set revenue goals with a high level of accuracy. The first resort to pilot the Axess system is Pizol in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, where SMART PRICING has been in use since December 2020.
So how does the Axess SMART PRICING system work? Historical data (for example, from the last five years) are combined with other influencing factors such as school holiday dates to create a database. This database then comes up with recommended prices based on the expected level of demand. This means that on days which are predicted to be busy the average price of a lift pass increases, while on days for which the database anticipates less demand the average price of a lift pass is lower, these days particularly attractive for skiers and snowboarders. With this system it is possible to make accurate revenue predictions at the start of the season for the coming months.
In the case of Pizol, historical data and other influencing factors were just one part of the flexible pricing policy. The ski resort’s management team wanted a solution which also took into consideration the weather. Klaus Nussbaumer, CEO of the Pizol resort, came up with an innovative approach to solving this challenge - a system where the current weather conditions are the main factor in determining the price of a lift pass. “We built on the existing idea of SMART PRICING and took it one step further. The system calculates recommended prices by 8:00 a.m. each day. The team can then either accept this suggestion or reject it. Once that has been done, a static price remains in place for the rest of the day,” explains Markus Weyrer, Axess director of sales for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This means skiers and snowboarders can shop online from the comfort of their own home and book their tickets up to seven days in advance. Weather data from the official meteorological service is fed into the system each day.
Pizol’s forward-looking approach goes beyond its pricing policy. Thanks to the installation of the technologies Axess Smart Gates NG, TICKET KIOSK 600 and PARKING visitors to the resort can enjoy an integrated approach to skiing. This means, for example, that it is possible to combine car parking tickets with lift passes. The system can also be expanded further. Plans are underway to integrate a hospitality concept, while other important ski resort infrastructure such as ski storage lockers and equipment rental shops could also be brought on board.