I was reading through the NY Times online on Sunday and found a very interesting article called, “Putting Customers in Charge of Design“. It describes the possibilities that a consumer has with ordering a completely customizable dress shirt from a company called Blank Label. It also describes this companies’ focus on customer service, even going to the point of popping up an online chat option after a visitor has been on their site for a certain amount of time. Many other companies such as Zappos, Amazon and even Trek – check out their killer custom bike configuration tool called Project One – have taken great strides in really personalizing the online shopping experience.

My question is why haven’t ski resorts taken steps in this direction? It appears that most resorts offer some variety of planning tools along with information, but I don’t see that any have taken the steps that this very customer centric web presence demands. These steps would start with putting customer service at the forefront, whether online or offline. How many resorts offer live-chat options on their sites? How many resorts allow a consumer to really configure their own resort experience (I see vacation packages as more operationally defined than consumer defined)? And lastly, are there any ski resorts that are already doing this?