Business Lesson for Us?
I was forwarded this article from my former colleagues still in the ski snowboard industry.
It really ties together some of the things I have been trying to bring over to the paintball industry.
The Ski and Snowboard industry just got nailed in 2008 and had a hard time recovering because their revenue model was flawed.
Plus ... how to say it so we dont get into a political debate about weather ... there is less predictable snow falls in North America.
Prior to 2008 the ski snowboard industry sold their lift tickets at a loss to sell Real Estate, Condos and Hotel Rooms.
Then boom...prime mortage scam, resorts ran out of land and companies went bankrupt. IntraWest prior to 2008 was the world`s largest resort company, it went bankrupt, got bought up and chopped up.
This is how some of the large resorts have recovered. While the sports are different, there are some lessons here.
I am also aware some of my local hills in Vancouver. Cypress and Mount Seymour, that dont offer any accommodation, have been pushing hard on passes and lessons. It worked so well that Mount Seymour put in a new high speed quad chair last summer at a cost of $13 million.
First. Get your customers to own your field. PASSES!!!!
Second. Then get revenue from your add ons like Food and Beverage, Lessons and Coaching, rentals (Demo Days for gun owners) and retail.
Third. Atomsphere, directly connected to the above. Who wants to ski or snowboard in a ghost town. Its about meeting new people and showing off your new moves.
Anyways, I know there are some field owners in here...what`s your thoughts...Im I smoking something...or good ideas...
Yes, I know you dont offer accommodation and no, as a consumer, I would not want less competition.
By the way... Kevin Smith is a great guy...just saying....
No Business Like Snow Business: The Economics of Big Ski Resorts - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
It seems like the business model for paintball field memberships seems to be to get people to buy markers in the pro shop.
I just can't justify spending the money on one field's membership when their are 5 fields in the area and their are 4 months out of the year that are going to be ****ty. It would be nice to have something like mentioned in this article that would give you access to a group of fields.
Paintball Explosion's membership is the biggest joke out of them all, $300/yr, $10 off an $85 case of 2000. Oh, but it's free if you spend $400 or more in the shop.
It was hard to do anything more because how do you split the revenue fairly between all the hills. Especially if one gets all the visits....we spent hours in meetings trying to figure that one out. I think there is a solution, but I could not find it...yet
The pass would just be to push people to play more often. Have it include admission, free air, and a discount on paint and deals on other concessions at each field, and maybe a members only private day here and their. The markup is so high on everything even giving it at a discount with the assumption that regular members will end up buying more is better then not selling anything at all.
It's long been said that one play recball rentals don't make the field money. It's the regulars. Now that the majority of people are back to playing woodball these fields are going to feel the hurt of outlaw fields if they don't figure out a way to bring more repeat loyal players. I think it would be win win for everyone.
There are certain costs to a field that are only a consideration of magnitude. Let me try to explain through example:
Fields run best when there is a certain player to ref ratio. Some insurance policies require one. Lets just say its 10 to 1.
A field generally overstaffs this ratio.... again I need to back up and rephrase. Successful businesses generally overstaff this ratio especially when discussing businesses seeking disposable income because the experience is more important than price (within reason). IE you might put up with Wal-mart and buy that tv there to save $25. You will not put up with bad service at a field if you could have a good experience for $25 more.
So fields are generally overstaffed. Unless you are operating at peak capacity to this ratio, or at peak overall capacity, you have unused entrance.
Don't lose out on sales of other items (ie paint, chips, hot dogs, soda) that have good mark up because of your entrance. You are better off giving entrance away if that is what you need to do to get the optimal number of players there. This is especially true when dealing with a business where the other customers provide atmosphere for paying customers (its a base concept behind "lady's night" at the club).
Since I know we have members here that run CPX, PB Explosion, O'Hare Paintball, and others around my area take note. Offer a pass for $100 a year (or whatever you decide is reasonable) and usable at any of your fields.
Stop using these overpriced memberships as bonus giveways to sell stuff from your proshops (if something is free with purchase it's not that valuable to start with). That bonus giveaway mentality also assumes the customer has to be in your proshop, which they won't be if they're not at your field. Use it the other way around, buy a membership, get free admission and air. Then offer marginal discounts on everything else like your proshop, maybe to the tune of 10% on proshop purchases so I won't buy additional gear online to save on tax.
Are you a field owner or manager?
-boo, they do have passes like that here. check out aggressive sport shop off southwest hwy and harlem, they sell all sorts of free entry passes and whatnot. you can buy a sheet of 10 free entry/rental/air tickets to funtime square (yeah its a crappy field), and other discounts for $40. they also sell (and sometimes give away) passes to pbx and cpx. ask around, local shops have the local hookups.
i do think this is the way to go though, because even as a 'frequent paintballer' who understands fields gotta get paid, it can be hard to shell out $50 just to get in the door. they are going to make money on you when you get in, and they are gonna ream you on concessions.
its starts feeling like you payed a valet to park you car, payed a cover to get in the door, payed a ton for money for some refreshments, and dancing costs money. im just saying, if im gonna be out $100+, there better be some jugs in my face.
like it was said earlier, im not going to be in your proshop, if i have to spend a ton of money on entry. im surprised fields can charge what they do and expect alot of people to come back.
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