Skico launches ad blitz for lift tickets
The Aspen Skiing Co. launched its advertising blitz this month to inform skiers and snowboarders about something they might not associate with Aspen – cheap lift tickets.
The September issues of Ski and Skiing magazine feature the same full-page ad that emphasizes “$39 tickets, all season long.” The Skico announced earlier this summer that it will spend unprecedented funds this year on a marketing campaign touting its bargains.
The discounts feature a six-day ticket for $39 per day; a five-day ticket for $45 per day; and a four-day ticket for $49 per day.
The catch is they must be purchased by Dec. 1, and the purchaser must state an arrival date. The tickets must be used within 15 days of that date.
The Skico’s ad features an almost subliminal background of a powder-covered mountain, with a small amount of text and three small color photos.
“Aspen,” the headline simply says.
Below are the three small photos featuring a skier in steeps, Aspen’s signature fireworks shot and the historic structures of the 300 block of South Galena.
Below the photos it says, “Our millennium celebration lasts all winter. Please join us.”
Toll-free numbers are listed for Aspen and Snowmass along with the Skico’s website address.
The ad was designed with the same texture and feel of previous campaigns, noted Skico Chief Operating Officer John Norton. It touts the bargains “without being `Crazy Eddie’ ads,” he said.
The Skico ultimately decided to run ads in some of the old standbys – Powder and Outside – as well as Ski and Skiing magazines.
“We considered [skipping those publications] but wanted to reach a broad audience with our thirty-nine-dollar tickets,” Norton said.
Those ads will run through the December editions of the magazines, which hit news stands well before that month begins.
Similar ads will also be run in travel sections of newspapers in the Skico’s major markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami, according to Norton.
The Skico will spend more to run ads in the newspapers than it does traditionally, he said. However, the Skico won’t disclose the size of this year’s marketing budget.
The campaign for the reduced-price tickets actually began in July when a direct mail piece went out to thousands of prior customers. The letter from Skico President and CEO Pat O’Donnell informed loyalists about the discounts.
Ticket sales will be available starting in September via the Internet.
So far about 100 individuals or groups have called to buy tickets, according to Norton. “Since there’s no reason to buy it now, we don’t know whether we’re doing well or not,” he said.
The price is the same whether the ticket is purchased now or in the fall.
In a typical year, reservations will start rolling in during September, then each month will get progressively busier through January, said Norton.
“I think November will be our busiest month, I hope,” said Norton.
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.