Summer is in full swing and beaches are bustling – perhaps a little too much. Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in many states. Those employed in the ski industry are keeping a watchful eye on current recreational facilities while discussing ways to attract customers this coming winter and keep customers as safe as possible.
Industry insiders in the U.S. have seen a number of their business-oriented conferences cancelled for this summer and fall – specifically in the Midwest, New York/Pennsylvania, and New England. They have have watched two Australian ski resorts open and close quickly due to Covid. Both stories were covered on saminfo.com. Even the National Ski Areas Association is conducting its gatherings virtually.
Weekly Zoom calls range the gamut from safe lift capacity, how to handle food and beverage, what ski and ride schools might look like, pricing structures (will there be any “discounts”?), and how to minimize “touch points”.
Industry leaders point out that skiing and snowboarding are outdoor recreation activities and that being outside is safer than being in a crowded auditorium. On the other hand, many questions abound. Rental operations not only are indoors but also require a substantial amount of hands on procedures. What safety guidelines can/should be implemented? Rentals apply more to beginners and novices who are not as likely to own their own equipment so how will that impact attracting new customers?
Will resorts monitor the number of customers who can enter a dining facility much the same way as Walmart and other retail operations have instituted to limit the number in the store at any given time? How much room is available for outdoor dining and will people even want to eat outside if it is not a warmish, sunny day?
And, everyone is wondering if consumer-oriented shows will be happening this fall. SnowSports Industries America (SIA) recently purchased large shows in Boston and Denver from entrepreneur Bernie Weichsel who had organized the shows for years. SIA is rebranding the shows and calling them Snowboard. These are just two of many consumer shows that are held from October through December in various parts of the country.
Most shows not only feature resorts but also products related to the sports. Are ski/sporting goods shops selling anything besides bicycles? Inventory levels are high due to the mid-March closings of major resorts so deals on last year’s items may be a silver lining.
It might be too early to tell what might or might not happen but that day is coming soon.
Thoughts and Comments are welcome.