Killington Resort Wins NSAA 2015 Conversion Cup Award

Killington Resort Wins NSAA 2015 Conversion Cup Award

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Killington Resort in Killington, Vt., is the winner of the 2015 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Conversion Cup Challenge. This annual award recognizes resorts across the country that have developed outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts. The Challenge is sponsored by HEAD Wintersports.

NSAA launched the initiative in 2010 as a way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant strides in boosting conversion rates. The winner of the Conversion Cup is chosen based upon proven results, creative ideas, consistent execution, and long-term commitment to the conversion effort. Several key conversion metrics are used in the judging process including beginner lesson volumes; quantifiable success of beginner lesson packages; season-to-date sales and repeat sales data collection; and marketing ingenuity and use of new media. Killington was selected among a strong field of ski areas from across the U.S. The other two finalists were Bromley in Peru, Vt., and Hunter Mountain in Hunter, N.Y.

Killington pioneered a new "learn-to" initiative in 2013-14 season—the 4-Day Elan Discovery Program—which offered a unique incentive to the first 400 students to complete the four-day series: their own pair of skis, free of charge. Working closely with Elan Skis and Burton Snowboards, Killington expanded the program for the 2014-15 season to include 500 adult ski packages, 200 snowboard packages, and 200 Burton youth ski packages. In addition to launching this innovative approach to incentivizing new skiers and riders to stick with the learning process, Killington also embraced Terrain Based LearningTM (TBL), offering a ¾-mile stretch of TBL features across three locations.

The success of the Discovery Program and the overall results of Killington’s conversion efforts are impressive. A total of 98 percent of participants have completed the program so far, and 96 percent say they are likely to continue to ski or ride. Some 71 percent of participants have returned for additional days, and 94 percent purchased equipment, clothing, or accessories.

Equally impressive is Killington’s commitment to tracking and measuring the success of these programs and following up with the participants. With the resort’s systems, they are able to track their graduates as they move into other ticket products and lesson programs. Killington has seen the number of participants in its beginner programs and the return percentage increase for six years in a row.

All of these efforts take resources. Rob Megnin, Killington’s director of sales, reservations, and marketing, puts it well: "The commitment from Killington’s management in support of these major programs and the introduction of Terrain Based LearningTM has been game changing for our first timers. We are offering an unprecedented learn-to experience that is truly building lifelong skiers and riders."

The Conversion Cup Award, a large silver trophy based on a Stanley Cup prototype, is a traveling award. Killington claims ownership of the Cup for one year, until the next winner is announced at the 2016 NSAA National Convention, scheduled for May 18–21, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.