Nestled amidst the pristine peaks of the French Alps, the village of Aussois possesses a rustic charm that sets it apart from other tourist destinations. With its scenic vistas and historic attractions, the village has long been a haven for visitors seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Until recently, many tourists visiting Aussois were unaware of the abundance of winter activities available on the mountain, which lies at the foot of the Vanoise National Park. Aussois’ ski area features easy-to-navigate beginner and child-friendly runs coupled with a range of family-friendly amenities that make it an ideal spot for multi-day visits, such as four high-altitude restaurants offering stunning sunset views, a swimming pool, and a wellness area.
Realizing the untapped potential of showcasing ski and snowsports on the mountain, Aussois partnered with Catalate beginning in 2021 to capture the attention of visiting tourists in advance and ensure more families visited the ski area. Leveraging Catalate’s Cloud Store e-commerce and Dynamic Pricing services, we set out to meet Aussois’ goals, which also included implementing an online sales strategy, streamlining operations, and gathering data to make informed decisions. After two seasons with Catalate (2021-2023 seasons), Aussois Ski Area has increased online revenue by 370% and successfully positioned itself as an enjoyable winter sports destination for families to create unforgettable memories together.
When it comes to a pricing strategy, one size does not fit all. That’s why Catalate took a tailored approach to help Aussois achieve its goals. Catalate’s team worked closely with Aussois to understand their historical sales and visitation. We quickly realized that Aussois’ visitation patterns are unique and the vast majority of visitors come within a specific time period, from a single day up to 14 days. To maximize revenue, we implemented a Dynamic Pricing model that leveraged a carefully crafted strategy for every possible combination of dates and products. On top of that, Aussois had a specific set of dates and product combinations that needed a particularly detailed strategy. With an unrelenting focus on effective ticket price (ETP), we helped Aussois attract more skiers while ensuring that visitors had access to flexible pricing options that met their needs.
One of the keys to success was our ability to predict demand and adjust pricing accordingly. To do this, we considered a range of variables. Demand rankings — meaning the portion of the pricing plan that dictates what days should be higher or lower priced — played a crucial role in the pricing strategy. Using this approach, we factored in the popularity of skiing at different times of the year, such as January when south-facing slopes are in high demand, and Mid-March when ski visitation drops considerably due to late-season conditions. The result? Catalate’s strategy was a resounding success, catapulting Aussois to new heights. Here’s how our e-commerce and pricing strategies met and exceeded expectations for each of their goals:
#1 Goal: Increasing Advanced Sales & Ski-Specific Tourism
Aussois was excited by the prospect of working with Catalate for a plethora of reasons, but perhaps the biggest one was the assurance of a steady influx of skiers at their resort. While Aussois village offers over 5,000 beds for visitors, it was difficult for Aussois to be visible among a large selection of bigger ski resorts in France. But Jérôme Choudin, Aussois Ski Area Director, knew that Aussois could begin to compete with other contemporary ski resorts in the area.
By implementing a carefully crafted online sales strategy and ticketing system software with Catalate, Aussois was able to increase visitation from online sales via Cloud Store — as measured by the total number of guest days and excluding season pass holders — by 23.5% from the ’21/’22 to the ’22/’23 season. As it relates to season passes sold online, we see that ‘22/’23 season pass sale revenue increased by 8.9% from the previous year. Season pass sales reflect that more and more people are buying their tickets online, rather than at the window, indicating that the Cloud Store purchase path is very convenient.
“We chose to work with Catalate because it was evident they cared just as much about their relationships with customers as they do about the quality of their products.”
Jérôme Choudin, Ski Area Director
#2 -Goal: Implement a Successful Online Sales Strategy
Prior to partnering with Catalate, Aussois had an online store, but no clear online sales strategy in place. In fact, leveraging an online ticketing system software was a low priority and the price of lift tickets was the same whether purchased elsewhere or at the ticket window, meaning there was no “buy now and save” incentive for guests to attempt advanced booking. Consequently, the majority of Aussois’ revenue came from on-site purchases, with most guests opting for half-day or single-day passes instead of planning extended stays in advance.
After shuttering during the ’20/’21 season due to Covid 19, it was more important than ever to massively increase bookings from their ‘19/20 season. To incentivize multi-day ticket sales, Catalate dynamically priced 1-14 day ski passes for Alpine Skiing, layering in savings for multiple-day ski passes. Aussois also offered a wide range of other products through Cloud Store, such as season passes, 1-day Nordic skiing, and even admission to the pool area for the summer of 2022. By offering savings for multi-day passes, Aussois visitors purchase more multi-day tickets to ski in the mornings and indulge in other activities on-site or in the village in the afternoons.
By offering an array of dynamically priced 1-14 day tickets, season passes, and other thrilling activities like pool passes on the online store, online revenue skyrocketed by 370% over the previous season. Of course, it’s key to note that the resort was doing little sales online and was shuttered during ‘20/’21. But the resort’s online revenue has continued its upward trajectory in its second year of partnership with Catalate, achieving another 25.7% increase year-over-year during the ’22/’23 season. Season passes saw a steady rise too, with an 8.9% jump in the same period. Cloud Store has also witnessed a spike in searches, with a 15.8% increase from the previous year. It’s evident that the resort has leveraged Catalate’s platform to create a seamless and successful online experience for its guests, which has translated into spectacular business success.
#3 Goal: Smoother Park Operations
Prior to partnering with Catalate, Aussois leveraged quite a few ticket promotions and prices to encourage multi-day passes. But without the ability to review the array of options and purchase ahead of time, lines at the gate stretched on as patrons struggled to understand which tickets to purchase. By implementing a Cloud Store with dynamically priced tickets and simplifying complex offerings, lines at the gate were shorter and pressure on cash desk staff was reduced.
With advanced purchase, Jérôme Choudin and other managers are now able to better predict guest flow. In the ’21/’22 season, the average booking window leaped from almost nothing to an impressive 32.46 days in advance of arrival date. And the success didn’t stop there; in the ’22/’23 season, the average booking window increased even further to 36.0 days. With over a month of lead time, Aussois can comfortably plan staffing across the resort, mitigate cash flow by capturing revenue in advance, and is able to spend more time focusing on making visits to the park even more enjoyable.
Now that an unprecedented amount of guests are discovering the snowy slopes of Aussois online, the resort was faced with a new challenge for the ‘22/’23 season; accommodating a growing number of skiers who discovered the resort online once already in Aussois village. To mitigate the lines now forming for half-day tickets, we added a new 4-hour ticket to their online store. This new product offering has been a massive success, driving notable bookings and great customer experiences in just one season. And at a fixed price of €30.7 per ticket, this affordable option has quickly become a great way for first-time visitors to experience the ski area and encourage longer future visits through marketing the multi-day tickets for the following season. With the ability to easily add new products to their online store, Aussois was able to keep up with the ever-changing demands of their customers. Guests were more satisfied than ever and their loyalty to the ski resort grew stronger with every perfect powder day.
#4 Goal: Better Data to Make Decisions
Before partnering with Catalate, Aussois relied heavily on local accommodations to sell their ski tickets. While they were able to sell bulk tickets to these larger hotels, they had no way of knowing who their actual customers were. Even more challenging, the hotels were rightly focused on making their guests happy with a variety of ski options, versus recommending Aussois specifically. This lack of data and control made it difficult for Aussois to understand their customers’ needs and preferences, leaving them with only end-of-season numbers and total tickets sold through accommodations to guide their strategy.
Over the last two seasons as a Catalate Partner, Aussois has been able to gain valuable insights into their customer’s behaviors and preferences to tailor their offerings accordingly. By feeding transaction data from Cloud Store into their current CRM, Aussois now has insightful information to build into customer-centric marketing campaigns. They can keep guests informed about season pass sales, promotions, and other offerings that are relevant to their interests to encourage repeat visits. Aussois has been able to break free from the limitations of traditional sales channels and is well-positioned to thrive in an ever-changing market.
Thanks to Catalate’s user-friendly Partner Intelligence Dashboard and powerful weekly sales reports, Jérôme Choudin now has real-time insights into Aussois’ revenue and can gain precise control over effective ticket price (ETP). Before partnering with Catalate, he struggled to understand exactly how his resort was performing and what its weaknesses were. Our first-year goal was to establish and gain control over ETP, which we accomplished successfully. With Catalate’s Dynamic Pricing, he’s able to sell more tickets online without taking on any financial risk, and the data shows that online tickets are selling with higher average ticket revenue.
But it’s not just about the data for Jérôme Choudin. He trusts Catalate’s reports and relies on his dedicated Catalate Account Manager, Jérôme Estienne, to help him develop forward-thinking strategies to provide context and reporting that resonate with Aussois’ owners. Additionally, he leverages Catalate’s flexible reporting offerings to help articulate Aussois’ insights and successes to key local stakeholders, such as the Mayor and local businesses involved in the resort’s decision-making. With comprehensive customer support and experienced teams of real people, Jérôme Choudin is confident that he can take Aussois to new heights and deliver an unforgettable ski experience to his guests.
Catalate is a global pricing and e-commerce company empowering ski resorts, parks, and attractions to increase online revenue. As the only purpose-built ticketing platform for the industry, Catalate has developed successful strategies for hundreds of Partners across $1 billion in online sales. Get in touch today.