It’s a tricky time for the ski industry. It would be easy to point the finger at climate change and right now the COVID 19 Virus that is sweeping the land as hundreds of ski resorts stand abandoned across the European Alps. Victims of climate change and changing holiday habits. The European Ski Industry has 35% of the world ski resorts across eight countries and serve an estimated 120 million tourists each year. With climate change accelerating faster in the Alps than the global average, the industry is looking at a potentially extinction level event.
Yet, it is not only climate change which is affecting the industry; factors include ageing participants, business consolidation, technological and political shifting sands (most recently Brexit) are all playing their part. And for now, the impact of the coronavirus can only be guessed at.
The message is innovate or die – harsh but true. So what is the ski industry doing to stay ahead of the curve and what lessons can we apply to other sectors?
Ski trend: building appeal to attract new customer sets.
More than two-thirds of those who ski from the UK market are aged between 43 to 65. Smart players in the ski industry realise it’s time to woo another market before its ageing fans retire. Before the Coronavirus hit, some resorts have been focussing their attention on the young generations by getting on the festival bandwagon for 2019/2020.
Lesson: review your buyer personas – what worked before may no longer bring enough new customers to the door….
Ski trend: looking for tech solutions to extend the season
Mega snow making solutions are becoming the norm in the richer resorts. Money is being pumped into researching methods to stop glaciers melting. In reality, fake snow making facilities use even more energy and have yet more detrimental effect on the environment. Fake snow will never be able to provide the amount of snow needed to keep the resorts open for the duration for the season length that we currently enjoy.
Ski resorts are looking at new ways to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis by orientating themselves around non-skiing activities. Hiking, mountain biking, nature watching and sightseeing are becoming more popular. Thanks to the E bike revolution, mountain biking in the Alps is no longer just for the super-fit as inaccessible parts of the mountain become more accessible.
Lesson: look for tech innovation – review latest trends in your industry; what can you use to inform your products & services so you stay ahead? Research your international competitors – see what they are doing in different parts of the world, what can you replicate?
The world seems more chaotic than ever and in the midst of this agility is key. We would love to hear how you’re adapting to shifting times like the ski industry!