Following along the lines of my last two posts (10 benefits of instant access to the slopes with contactless systems and Why are digital maps replacing traditional paper maps at ski resorts?), in this article I’ll give another example of how digitisation and sustainability should be the two key drivers to transform the ski industry, today more than ever, and how the apps Skitude has been developing are the puzzle piece that connects everything.
With over 100 apps, Skitude has built the biggest network of mobile apps that connects millions of skiers and mountain enthusiasts, giving them more convenience, safety and fun when they visit any ski resort. And it works the other way, too, connecting resorts with their existing and potential customers, providing appeal and building loyalty, improving their experience and generating income.
Season after season, the profile of Skitude apps has been growing, both thanks to the fact that the functionalities and quality of the service are constantly being improved, as well as the fact that customers prefer a 100% digital and mobile experience. But now there’s also the fact that this extraordinary pandemic situation is speeding up the adoption process since, as we’ll see below, Skitude apps offer a fully contactless and social-distancing friendly solution.
From the skier’s perspective, Skitude apps’ value proposition offers:
#1 Inspiration, planning and booking from the sofa
I want to go skiing. OK. But do you know where and when is the best time to go? And there’s no question that the majority of travel plans or bookings start on the sofa at home and on your smartphone. And skiing and mountains are no exception. However, your needs and decision-making change depending on whether you’re looking for a plan for just one day or several days.
That’s why, with just a simple click, Skitude apps provide real-time information about weather, snow and opening conditions at the facilities, on the one hand, for those who want to decide which nearby resort offers the best conditions the day before or that same morning, and, on the other, access to offers and multi-day packs for those who may be looking for farther away destinations, as well as the convenience of having everything booked in advance and at the best price.
Three illustrated sections of Skitude apps
#2 The ability to buy passes from the app, and direct slope access with no queuing
The majority of ski resorts compatible with the Skitude apps have automatic access gates, meaning you can use the app to buy and top up RFID cards with a ski pass for a specific day, replacing the manual activation that’s traditionally done at the ticket desk and reducing the time you have to wait until you can actually get skiing. Discover all the benefits offered by direct and contactless slope access in this article.
Directly with your smartphone. No plastic RFID card: We’re now working on the possibility of using the Skitude apps themselves to directly open the gates without the need for cards or even taking your phone out of your pocket.
#3 Always staying up to date and connected with your favourite resort
Skitude apps provide a constant connecting link between the skier and resort through push notifications or emails that the users have already authorised or provided to the resort. In this sense, mobile notifications make it possible to find out important last-minute information before or during the trip, allowing you to stay up to date about events or the latest snow, for example. They even make it possible to manage unexpected factors on the way, such as road closure notifications that common GPS navigators don’t provide proactively but resorts do through push notifications.
If we look at what’s been happening lately in other areas, news recently came out that railway companies will ask all users who want to buy a ticket for their names and phone numbers so they can immediately warn customers in case of a health alert. This is already a reality with Skitude apps, and there are now resorts that are able to send 4 million individual messages to their customers in a single season through these apps. It’s hard to find a more effective tool.
#4 A 100% digital, contactless & cashless experience
As a consequence of the new post-COVID paradigm, once on the slopes, offering a 100% digital experience, where coming into physical contact with customers or other physical elements is reduced as far as possible, will not only be an issue of convenience like it has been up to now, but it will also be one of the aspects to be strengthened for increased customer and employee protection. There’s also the fact that mobile devices themselves now offer the ability to pay directly without using a card, meaning a cashless experience is also possible just by using the device.
#5 Digital maps for increased guidance and safety on the slopes
Thanks to Skitude apps, traditional paper slope maps are turning into digital maps, which not only means less paper consumption and more sustainability, but it also gives skiers a more interactive experience, in addition to other benefits that we already explained in the earlier article.
#6 The ability to book restaurants, find a rental shop, etc.
Apps also make it possible to discover the full range of tourism options and services in and around the resort: list of restaurants to contact and book a table, events calendar, finding nearby hire shops, how to get to the hotel, après-ski activities, etc. We think it’s a really handy function to bring together an offering that’s often too fragmented.
All the information is easy to access and check at any time.
#7 Having double the fun on the slopes by recording your activity and competing with others to win prizes and get recognised
Mobile apps have been used for years to record and share lots of people’s physical activity, taking the experience beyond just the sport itself thanks to digital technology. Along these lines, Skitude apps include a unique monitoring and gamification system that makes it possible not only to record your runs on the slopes using GPS tracking, but also to take part in challenges to win prizes, get into the resort’s ranking, break down and analyse descents one by one, as well as to identify and follow the main leaders and experts in each discipline.
At data level, for example, last season, app users recorded over 2 million km on the slopes and 1.2 million descents, totalling a vertical drop of 400,000 km, equal to descending Mt Everest 46,000 times. The following article illustrates in an infographic summary the milestones achieved this 2019-20 season.
Tracks, photos, rankings
Then, from the resort’s perspective, Skitude apps’ value proposition offers:
#8 The resort’s own digital audience
The mobile channel is a clear way to promote the resort, both for attracting customers and securing their loyalty. Appearing and positioning themselves on app stores gives destinations extra visibility, in addition to being a reflection of the brand image. This way, it becomes a separate communication element, inviting people to discover the resort.
Once downloaded, the app shows much higher engagement than a website, making it a very powerful loyalty and conversion tool. In this sense, with the right promotion at internal level, it has been shown that during the first season alone, more than 30% of customers become active users of the app, with an average of 25 uses per season. Digital marketing experts who work with data from other platforms know that this is a lot, and it’s supported by the fact that in the case of resort websites, the figure is usually around 5 visits per user, i.e. 5 times less interaction.
#9 Direct sales channel
Providing direct access to online sales through the app is a ‘must have’ for skiers. The resort’s online shop can be linked or specific e-commerce platforms can be developed to increase this channel’s conversion to sales.
This way, the resort can stand out in a wider market (the digital market) and position itself as a benchmark thanks to new technologies. This article explains the benefits of direct slope access provided by selling passes via the app.
#10 Improving sales with push notifications
Better communication means more sales, and push notifications are an ideal tool for increasing online sales through mobile devices. This is the case with Skitude apps, which include a notifications centre where you can review the latest messages as many times as you’d like, as well as the option to get them directly on your Apple Watch.
#11 Data generation for CRM and getting statistics
In general, getting customer data makes it possible to get to know them better, in addition to making it easier to prepare and execute advertising campaigns more accurately and with better results.
In this sense, the apps that Skitude personalises for resorts usually quickly turn into the main source of obtaining qualified emails, at the same time as a unique source of data that makes it possible, for example, to collect exclusive data about favourite skiing areas, thanks to the GPS tracking functionality.
#12 Better customer experience. Improved resort operations
As explained above, the apps improve user experience because they provide access to resort services. This way, the app becomes cemented in its role as sales channel thanks to the integration of the online shop where passes can be purchased or topped up to avoid queues, or to get better prices, in addition to accessing other online booking services or contextual information thanks to geolocation.
On the other hand, this improved customer experience also often implicitly leads to improved operations, such as for example less pressure on the ticket desks at peak hours, less consumption of paper maps and, ultimately, lower and more variable operating costs.
#13 Deseasonalisation. Income optimization all year round.
For over a decade, deseasonalisation has been the major aim for many tourist and snow destinations, and ski resorts are no exception.
Fighting against seasonality has become the main bone of contention in tourist destination management. It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight, but at Skitude we have no doubt that once you get your winter customers to keep the app installed on their phones, it’s obvious that you’ll take advantage of all that potential to present a summer offering that may not be as well established, but one that more and more resorts are turning to, with hiking routes, bike parks and other outdoor sports.