Skico should reward loyalty
(This letter refers to David Perry, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president.)
Mr. Perry’s compulsion to respond to letters “not written in a respectful way” raises some questions. Mr. Perry states that Skico provides some of its best prices, throughout the season including Christmas, to its “tour operator partners.” But what about the other “partners?”
The “partners” I refer to are those property owners, either full time or part time, having children and grandchildren either living here or coming here for Christmas. These partners, unlike those families who buy a one-week package from tour operators, certainly spend the most dollars with Skico and the Aspen/Snowmass business community, year after year and year-round.
Why should these families be denied the use of seven-day passes during Christmas when the whole family wants to ski together? Why, when the town of Snowmass Village and Skico attempt to sell Snowmass as a family resort, implement an anti-family price policy?
Mr. Perry’s statement “the truth is that the other resorts do not discount at Christmas” is not quite the full story with respect to both price and Christmas usage. Offering a discount for large quantity purchases is fundamental not just to ski resorts but all businesses.
Vail Resorts offers a slight discount from daily lift tickets prices for a seven-day pass that can be used without restriction during the Christmas holidays. In addition, Vail offers its equivalent of frequent flyer miles that cumulatively rewards those who spend the most during the year.
For example, a family of six purchasing seven-day passes (42 ski days) could not only ski at Christmas but would get four free ski days the following year, effectively an additional 10 percent discount. Vail Resorts has, like the airlines, decided to reward it best customers. Not only property-owning families with children and grandchildren but people who just plain like to ski a lot.
Could Mr. Perry have chosen to omit these details because he was reacting to price cuts as opposed to discounts for quantity purchases? Could he believe that excluding seven-day pass usage at Christmas is not just about price?
When Mr. Perry states it is fair to charge full price at Christmas, their highest demand period and when hotels are at full rate, one wonders: Has he skied the Big Burn at Christmas? Does he believe that Snowmass has become so crowded that a price increase preserves the skiing experience? When then does Skico continue to offer discounts to tour operators at Christmas as he states in his seventh paragraph?
Or could it be a strategy based on the assumption that the families owning property are essentially a captive market and aren’t going to go to another resort anyway? Whatever, the end result is counter to encouraging families to spend their holiday dollars here.
It is nice to know that Mr. Perry is happy to discuss the Christmas restrictions with anyone in a respectful way, however, that apparently doesn’t include answering my e-mail to Mr. Perry and letter to Pat O’Donnell, voicing similar thoughts and suggestions. Rather than an answer, I would prefer a pricing policy change.
Skico would be wise to adopt a plan that rewards its most loyal and best repeat customers, property owners and non-property owners alike, without restrictions in the Christmas season.
J. David Frantz
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