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Ski trips are a prime activity for many ski clubs. This is especially true of clubs in areas far from skiing and riding opportunities. Club members, however, have many travel options. So, how do clubs compete with discount packages offered by resorts and others?
The National Ski Council Federation brings ski council presidents from across the nation and representatives from ski resorts, tour operators and service providers together yearly to discuss items of mutual interest. A chief topic of these meetings is club and council trips.
Industry and council leaders agree that clubs and councils should market trips as a good value for money spent. Going on a club trip can be compared to gassing up a car at the full service pump instead of self-service.
Pack your bags and show up at the airport where the trip leader hands you a plane ticket and off you go. Board a bus at the destination airport to the resort where the trip leader gives you lodging keys and lift tickets. No searching the Internet for the best package, arranging air and ground transportation, and searching for your lodging in the dark on arrival.
Bus trips can also be lots of fun if you are within a few hours of a resort. They can be less expensive than air trips and provide a rolling party to the slopes. U-drive trips are another popular option for short distance trips.
Use the bus ride to the resort for introductions. Have a mixer on arrival to let participants unwind and get further acquainted or reconnected. Resorts often provide a wine and cheese reception. If not, check ahead of time with the resort or tour operator about a nearby bar that can accommodate your group.
Skiing or riding is a more enjoyable experience on a club trip. Members can link up with people of similar skiing or riding ability, meet up with more friends at lunch and make plans for dinner. Some clubs include dinners, sleigh rides and other activities in trip packages.
As clubs and councils begin planning trips for next season, survey members to learn where they would like to go and what price points they are willing to pay. Programs are available to create on line surveys that don’t require higher order computer skills.
Provide participants with a quality experience. Remember, you are selling the trip based on value. Trip leaders can make or break a trip. Choose them carefully. Train potential trip leaders by having them assist experienced trip leaders. Have them lead a small trip before taking on a larger, more complicated one.
People often are attracted to join a club because of the variety of trips offered. If they have a good experience, they will become loyal members for many years and may take an active role. Trips are a great way to attract “new blood” into a club.