Groupon and the slopes.
Groupon, the online localized deal of the day site, is making some pretty major waves. Probably the biggest was the recent news that they turned down a reported $5-6 billion dollar offer from Google, which isn’t totally surprising considering that they are the fastest growing company of all time – yes, of all time, according to their President and COO Rob Solomon at the Phocuswright Conference a few weeks ago. Solomon also mentioned that Groupon is now in 30 countries but is really focused on providing more personalization to their offers. So with that in mind, is it any surprise that ski resorts are now offering their tickets on Groupon with Burke Mountain in Vermont selling 600 day tickets back on this past November 30. Burke Mountain’s deal was $26 off the full day ticket price of $66 or $24 off the half day ticket price of $52, with the standard Groupon cut of 20% the yield worked out to be $32, not bad considering that Burke was hoping to sell 300 ticket, but…a recent article in AdAge called “Why Groupon Could Own Your Brand’s Future” drills to what I think may be the primary problem of deal of the day sites like Groupon, which is that these services make price the main thing that a customer focuses on, not value, not brand promise, and certainly not the experience. So, if ski resorts start to participate regularly in deal sites, are they just driving their yields down lower, or are they actually reaching consumer they wouldn’t have otherwise? I lean towards to the former, but what do you think?