Engaging the Next Generation of Skiers with eCommerce

Engaging the Next Generation of Skiers with eCommerce

The ski industry is changing — a new generation of skiers is hitting the slopes, and their expectations are high. Up until recently, it has been challenging to meet the needs of the modern ski consumer purchasing online, but improvements in technology have made it easier than ever for ski resorts to provide a comprehensive and engaging eCommerce experience to guests. Watch as accesso Sales Engineer Lyndsay Jones presents how to engage the next generation of skiers, increase lift ticket and season pass sales, and maximize guest satisfaction through eCommerce. 

Why Does Focusing on eCommerce Matter?

As many operators in the ski industry know, it has traditionally been challenging to offer a one-stop shop for guests online. A typical guest doesn’t simply purchase a standard lift ticket! There are complicated, date-specific products that require the collection of extensive guest data, waivers to sign, rentals to sign, ski school lessons to enroll in, and so much more. Nevertheless, today’s guests want to purchase online. It’s estimated that there will be 1.92 billion online shoppers (or 25% of the world’s population) this year, and they expect seamless eCommerce experiences in the process. Millennials, who are quickly becoming one of the most important markets in the ski industry, make 54% of their purchases online. If a page is slow to load or does not include the products they wish to purchase, they may be prone to abandoning their purchase and possibly, their plans to visit your resort.

Focusing on eCommerce alone, however, is not enough. With more websites becoming optimized for mobile, consumers now expect to be able to make purchases on their smart phones, those devices that are perpetually glued to our hands, rather than seeking out the computer in the other room. Last year, our accesso Passport eCommerce ticketing clients saw their guests complete 43% of their orders on a mobile or tablet device rather than a desktop. 

How Can You Improve Your eCommerce Experience?

Focus on the user experience first. Our UI designers working on the accesso Passport ticketing suite develop our eCommerce platform from the guest perspective, focusing on an intuitive design and purchasing flow that makes it simple and easy to purchase. This solution goes through continuous improvements and enhancements, with a new version deployed every three weeks.

Working with a partner who provides a dedicated client services manager to provide hands-on assistance building products and advising on how to improve the guest experience online can also ensure that your eCommerce operations are a success! Our accesso Passport client services team works as an extension of your ski resort and offers 24/7 support 365 days a year. Sierra-at-Tahoe just completed their first ski season using the accesso Passport suite and have shared that “Working with the client services team at Accesso has been amazing. It is evident that the Accesso team has a vested interest in our business,” said Helen Behn, Business Solutions Manager, “Integrating this solution has really simplified the ticketing process both for our visitors and our staff.”

Moving to a fully hosted solution also ensures a reliable and secure eCommerce experience for your guests and also removes the burden on your IT team. Being fully hosted has allowed our accesso Passport eCommerce sites to maintain over 99% uptime, which is a huge benefit compared to hosting locally, since a local outage of an ISP or even loss of power can bring a grinding halt to your online sales.

With more guests purchasing on mobile, responsive design is a huge factor in the guest’s experience. This means that, no matter what device a guest is using, the system automatically responds with the correct screen size. Our accesso Passport solution doesn’t require that guests download an app, and responsive design will ensure that they are provided with the full range of products available on your eCommerce site rather than a limited offering. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an incredible shift to purchasing on mobile, with numerous venues actually seeing more mobile sales than desktop sales.

Another expected feature in today’s eCommerce experience is payment options. It’s amazing how many payment types are already out there in the US, let alone worldwide. We have a Global Payments team that works on making sure our stores are ready to support whatever comes next. Currently PayPal is our most widely used alternate payment method, and with our current rollout of ApplePay in North America, we are quickly reaching guests that may not purchase online using other payment methods. Globally we support a range of payment options and are working on countless more. Finally, with payment plans, you can offer a range of customizable options from 3 payments to 12 payments or even a “Buy Now, Pay Later” option to help make season passes more affordable for your guests.

How Can I Sell More Tickets and Passes Online?

Increasing cart conversions can have a major impact on your bottom line. This not only increases revenue, but it also can result in reduced operational expenses. Every lift ticket or season pass sale completed online is one less guest standing in line outside the ticket office, which allows staff more time to go the extra mile for guests who do come up to the ticket window rather than speeding through the process for the sake of the growing line behind them. Plus, by purchasing in advance, your guests may feel like they have more money in their wallet to spend on site .

Three simple yet powerful tools can help you sell more lift tickets and season passes online: up-sells, cross-sells and cart-sells. According to a study by contextsmith.com, “it’s 68% more expensive to acquire $1 from a new customer than it is to up-sell a more expensive offering to a current customer,” and cross-selling of related items can help you increase order size and value to the guest. A cart-sell involves recommending additional items based on the cart contents. If you’re already committed to purchasing a lesson package, for example, adding on a helmet rental is a logical choice and one less thing for that guest to worry about.

How Does This Help Deliver More Value to Guests?

Providing a one-stop shop through your eCommerce site allows your guests to plan in advance so they can truly focus on enjoying your resort during their visit. If you’re only focusing on lift tickets, you’re missing out on so many other opportunities to allow guests to spend more time on the slopes and less time waiting in lines. Whether it’s individual meals, rentals, lessons, ski school or upgrading to a season pass after a sweet powder day, if you’re not presenting the guest with the opportunity to purchase online, you may be missing out on the purchase. Our accesso Passport solution is also integrated with 1Risk, the cloud-based waiver program, which saves guests even more time!

Consider ways to deliver tangible benefits to guests through the use of Benefits and Entitlements. Adding a benefit to your current passes is easy, and the benefits are instantly redeemable. Whether it’s providing complimentary guest tickets as a standard season pass offering or being able to add benefits on the fly to mitigate an unexpected guest service issue, our accesso Passport solution makes it easy to create added value for your guests that will pay back big dividends. 

What Happens When You Invest in eCommerce?

Clients who move to our accesso Passport eCommerce solution will typically see a 30% increase in online sales as we help them to drive more revenue with our award-winning software.

Watch our webinar to learn more. If you’re ready to see how our accesso technology solutions can help you grow your business and create connected guest experiences, let’s talk