A Queenstown entrepreneur has created the skifield equivalent of a cheap-flight website like Grabaseat.
As the snow season kicks off, David Finlayson has this week launched www.liftie.co.nz – a website offering chairlift ticket specials at mountains across the country.
Skiers and snowboarders can search skifields and heliski operators around New Zealand to snap up limited deals over different time periods.
Canterbury’s Porter Heights, Hanmer Springs Ski Area, Broken River and the North Island’s Tukino have signed up to the fledgling business, as have Queenstown’s Alpine Heliski and Southern Lakes Heliski.
Major fields aren’t on board, but with his website going live Finlayson is confident others will follow – and says it’s win-win for consumers and mountain operators, who get to control when and how many discounts are released, he adds.
“We’ve given ski resorts a platform which allows them to change the price of a ticket in relation to that day’s de-
Finlayson says his site is more viable for operators than some others like GrabOne.
Liftie’s buyers must claim their passes on a set day, he says – rather than other models where the customer chooses, which could be on peak days.
“Those models don’t protect the resort’s ticket yield on busy days. Liftie is a more efficient means of discounting.
Inventory is perishable. We want ski resorts to capitalise on lost revenue opportunities so we’ve given them a tool to make as much money as possible.”
Liftie can also provide ski areas with useful web search information and feedback on demand from specific regions, he says.
GrabOne sales director Casey Eden says his site’s offers can be blocked out for particular dates.
“The other thing GrabOne does is we create demand where there wasn’t already – if I’m aleady in Queenstown and I buy a [liftie] ticket I’d argue I was already going to pay full price.
“[With Grabone], people go ‘I didn’t even want to go out to a restaurant but because the offer’s so good I’m going to’. So why sell someone something at a discount price when they were in town doing it anyway?” Eden says.
“But I wish this guy luck – it opens up opportunities. Ski fields have always been apprehensive about discounting.”
NZSki’s marketing boss Craig Douglas confirms Finlayson approached the company but it’s not interested at this stage.
“It didn’t suit our method of distribution,” Douglas says.
“I haven’t seen it since it’s gone live so I haven’t had a chance to investigate further.”
Finlayson, 31, is originally from Wellington and was once a “career ski bum”. He signed up to Queenstown’s Southern Lakes Business Incubator, run by Dan Roberts and Mat Weir, to launch his business.