Anyone have any idea why Sunday River chose not to offer towns discounted bulk tickets for this year? 

We are pass holders but a lot of our friends are disappointed they aren't offering these tickets any longer... $99/ticket is lofty. Can't imagine doing this and raising prices as high as they did can be good for sales this year?

Just curious if anyone knows the reasoning behind pulling those tickets. 

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Kinda of like  " Build it,..and they will come", except it's

"oh,.. they seem to like that feature/social club/service provided,...maybe we should pull it off the table""

Pretty sure Sitz and Mach will give a more detailed dissertation that's more informed,..

but hell, I drank more than both of them this afternoon!!

My guess, SR Bottom Line / Margins

A Darcy/Nick question for a SR specific answer.  

But in general the answer is marketing - an inexact science - to accomplish what MB says. Like a lot of mountains, SR has signed on with Liftopia, which is a value-driven aggregator for non-pass products.  Liftopia balances demand with discounting to maximize value for all - mountain and customers.  Lower demand periods (based on sales algorithms and known busy times) are discounted more, heavy demand periods less.  Liftopia model helps to load-balance demand by steering value-seekers to times when revenue would otherwise be low.

Simple bulk ticketing can "load up" high demand periods with customers using significantly discounted/bulk pricing.  Overcrowding reduces the quality of the experience for $99 paying customers, while giving discounted access to best/highest demand times for others - both put downward pressure on peak period value and similarly all other times by default.

Is overall profitability better or worse?  .....  need more drinking to figure out.  :)

Running a ski area is a tough business that involves a lot of tough decisions.....we tend to only see the ones that impact us directly, but I will complement SR and Boyne....they do a nice job and are committed to a positive skier experience and they definitely listen to their customers.  Just check out the beer scene around the mountain, I have to think that is JL and his team responding to a ton of thinking, feedback and suggestions for improvement.  I am looking forward to a MB Lunch out of my mug at MR today.  See you on the hill  

Like Sitzmark said - if you ask people to pay $99 - they don't want to wait in lines aided by cheap tickets. It has to be worth $99. And didn't ME minimum wage go up Jan 1? I think that's a good thing - but means SR has added expenses, and we all end up paying for it somehow. Personally - less bargain tickets is good by me :)

I can see your point, I guess when we are talking about families with children, it gets very expensive. I have found most of our friends are now going to other mountains when they may have chosen to ski SR and utilize their Ski School and other amenities this place offers in the past. Having 4 children of my own, I know first hand how expensive skiing is, and we are able to make the commitment to ski every weekend to make our passes worth it. We don't own property in the Bethel area but are Maine residents and I think SR should embrace Maine residents. 

There is enough space for everyone here at SR and making it exclusive by j****** up prices and taking away benefits for other Maine residents I think is a bit much. 

If a family of 4...5...6 purchases tickets from the town at a reduced rate, does not mean they aren't paying to play, they are also most likely investing in other parts of the mountain (ski school, food, drinks, etc). I think spending $400 for one day of skiing for a family of 4 or 5 is really expensive and know without our passes, our family of 6 would not ski at Sunday River. Not every family can make the commitment to ski every weekend.

At the end of the day, if Sunday River doesn't want their business, they don't want their business, and guess they are doing financially better than most mountains. And in that case, am glad they are choosing to support local mountains. I selfishly enjoy skiing with our friends from home and think it's a shame, however, I am not an exclusive person and feel there is space for everyone here :) 

Not an issue of "exclusivity".  Objective is what all businesses strive for - profitability.  Sometimes best profitability comes with less overall revenue.  If one makes $500,000/yr but has $510,000/yr in expenses to do so, there's not much left to put in the bank.

SR - like all businesses - will live and die by the decisions taken.  If business was easy everyone would own one.

I'm not disagreeing with the expense of skiing for families.  It is costly.  So is running a ski area.

I've always wondered why SR doesn't try to drive more business to the mid-week days when they certainly have excess capacity.  Killington has NH/VT discount days,  many others have 2 for 1 or other big discounts mid-week.  This is the first year that they have a cheaper mid-week rate ($79 vs $99) but that's still much higher than other big mountain's discount days. If it weren't for a condo and season pass, I'd be skiing elsewhere based on the price.

Looking at list prices isn't the actual story.

Low as $51 mid-week, single day on Liftopia.  As demand goes up for each day, so does price.

Mountain has had many significant discounting options in the past.  I suspect if it was working it would be continued.  Obvious that something different is being tested - we can all speculate as to why.

Have to agree with sitzmark. The big resorts are already battling the perception that the product is not worth the ticket counter price by the constant downward pressure on pricing and the myriad of discount options already out there....the conversations on this topic are not any different today than they were 15-20 years ago when the 1-day price was in the $40s. I think most people might be surprised to learn what the effective ticket price, i.e. total skier visits divided by total ticket/pass revenue, really is (hint: it's not even close to the 1-day ticket counter price).

Not sure when they started giving "towns" access to their corporate/bulk ticket programs or how it worked, but if that is no longer an option there are still others out there. Some of those options include the likes of Liftopia, as well as pre-purchase, corporate and bulk ticket programs from the resort (all of which are outlined HERE), and Maine families also have access to the Winterkids programs as well as discounted season passes for Maine students and even more discount programs for the local community. If it were really true that SR didn't want their business (you don't really believe that, do you Onecrazymamma), then they wouldn't offer all these other options.

sitzmark said:

Not an issue of "exclusivity".  Objective is what all businesses strive for - profitability.  Sometimes best profitability comes with less overall revenue.  If one makes $500,000/yr but has $510,000/yr in expenses to do so, there's not much left to put in the bank.

SR - like all businesses - will live and die by the decisions taken.  If business was easy everyone would own one.

I'm not disagreeing with the expense of skiing for families.  It is costly.  So is running a ski area.

Great summary Zenny.

Saddleback tried the low price game .... still looking for a successful model.

Agree with Sitz and Zen.  I have seen in my company when we diluted the product too much with low cost options, we had the largest fleet size and revenue but profit margin stayed razor thin at our peak size.  As we trimmed back and focused on our core owners (priciest model), we shrank down in fleet size and total revenue but our profit margins increased, netting more income from less revenue.  I am sure a similar thing may be happening at the larger resorts, SR included.  And yes, that may trim out some seeking g lower cost options from SR, but that should be to the benefit of Mt. Abram and Black Mountains out there.

 I know SR/SL do support those smaller areas to some extent (they have lent their lift techs at times to small hills in ME).  The success of all areas is actually critical to SR and other large resorts.  But I agree, there are many local ME discount options for families (especially the kids) still out there.  Models evolve, margins need to be improved if we all want to see future upgrades and investment on hill.

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