Excited for opening and to get ready for the season I figured I’d cruise the Whiteface website.
We’ve made extensive use of the snow sports school at Whiteface. They’ve been great over the years. We used to do the kids in the Kids Kanpus/Bear Den programs, and transitioned a couple of times to doing all day privates, because at $550 or so plus a tip it wasn’t much more expensive than 3 full day kids in Junior Advnture. Because the rate included up to 5 people I could tag along and get some instruction, or one of the cousins could come, or whatever. It was not cheap, but it was good, and well worth it.
Whiteface changed their private lessons. They no longer offer a full day option, the rates went up, and there is now an add on for each additional person.
Bottom line....a full day private that covered up to 5 people and HAD cost me $550 (before tip) would now cost more than $1,400 (before tip) for 4 people for 6 hours. That’s upwards of a 200% increase. Wow. An then the instructor would probably expect a $225 tip as well!
It won’t cost me that ever, because if that’s the new setup I’ll never use the Whiteface Snow Sports School again!
HPD.....share that with management, they’ve lost their way! I hope they re-evaluate the new structure at some point.
It’s not an ORDA thing. Gore at least offers a full day option, but 4 people for 6 hours would run $825 before tip. Crazy. Bellayre only sells in 2 hour increments, and 4 people for 6 hours would run $1,320. Crazy crazy.
For comparison purposes, you can get 7 hours of private instruction for 4 people for $759 at Squaw/Alpine. Sugarbush offers a full day private, no additional person add on, for $580.
Whiteface, single person, 6 hours, $578. Last season it was close to that, but included up to 5 people.
I called. Sugarbush is $580 for one person. They have a $50 per person add on, so 4 people would be $780 for 6 hours, reasonably close enough to Squaw’s $759 for 7 hours for 4 people, and a little less than Gore at $825.
Gore’s single person rate at $330 for 6 hours is actually really good.
Whiteface is crazy greedy with a $139 add on per person per 3 hours. That’s $278 to add a person for six hours, where Gore charges $165 and Sugarbush charges $50.
I don't agree with the characterization "greedy." Maybe it's a poor business decision, maybe it is a good one.
The goal is to run Whiteface (Gore and Belle too) as profitably as possible. I don't know what the demand for privates is like at Whiteface, but if it exceeds the supply, you raise the price. If the reverse is true, and supply exceeds demand, you lower it or accept limited sales.
If you're a capitalist (maybe you're not, just guessing) then pricing is something that will work itself out. I'd be surprised if the person(s) who made this decision is benefiting from the sale of private lessons personally.
"If it's my mountain, I'm installing a fixed grip and telling the lifties to stuff the beginners into chairs as aggressively as they have to, to keep it going full speed." —Brownski
I don’t think any particular person is benefitting from the decision to make this pricing change. Yeah, they are probably trying to drive lesson sales in a particular direction with the new pricing structure, and half/full day privates probably generate less revenue than having that same instructor go out for an hour with 6 different clients, or better yet doing group lessons, so it’s a business decision. I get that.
Sure, maybe greedy is the wrong word, but what better words would you chose for putting a pricing structure in place that makes a previously available product (that was offered at a reasonable rate) now cost twice what other mountains are charging? Honestly, most average customers aren’t going to analyze profitability and dissect the business reasons behind making the change. Rather, they are going to say “damn, they doubled the price!”, and I don’t think that ever wins over customers. Kind of smacks of greed, even if it’s something else.
I suppose the real discussion should be centered on what kind of product/experience Whiteface is looking to offer, and should private lessons, an admittedly premium product, be part of that? With their new pricing they won’t be attracting the premium crowd that is willing to shell out for private lessons, IMHO. Maybe that’s a good thing.
I honestly believe that decisions based on the sharp pencil gang’s evaluation of theoretical bottom line profitability aren’t always the best ones. I’m sure the cafeteria changes made by Centerplate a few years ago were based on such profitability analysis. However, now the selections suck and I’ve got to buy a bottled drink out of a case, so I no longer shop there. Heck, maybe Centerplate is making a slightly higher profit. However, if it comes at the expense of customer satisfaction, and if dissatisfied customers start to take some of their business elsewhere......we’ll, the few cents extra profit might not have been worth it.
Come on Z what's the skinny? I think it was realized last year people were utilizing the lessons in ways they did not intend. The easy fix it was to add a per person price. Fair not fair I'm not sure but I'm certain there's nothing cynical about it. Cloudsplitter program for kids if I had them that's what they would be in.
There was no loophole. The full day price was clearly stated, and it clearly stated it included up to 5 people. So people couldn’t have been using it in a way that WF didn’t anticipate and permit. Like I said, a place like Squaw/Alpine, among others, operate similarly. I could understand if WF concluded their price for the product they offered was too low they would raise the price. However, to nearly triple the price to a level that is double what other mountains charge for the same thing? Sorry, that’s either stupid, greedy, or an attempt to dissuade people from doing full day privates.