Lose-Lose! A new Business Model Case Study
A ski card that allows you to ski all year! What a great idea! For less than the price of a week card you get the WinterCard!
So go skiing as often as you want! A second or perhaps a third ski vacation! A new Business Model, that turned out to be a financial disaster! But how do you stop it?
Schneesicher und Sonnig (Snow secure and Sunny)
Situated at the southside of the Swiss Alps lies the quaint village of Saas Fee high up at an altitude of 1800 meter. Sun and snow guaranteed! Right below two enormous, but shrinking glaciers. But even beautiful Saas Fee saw a steep decline in visitors due to the ever rising Swiss Franc (at least until last year). To turn the tide, the Ski lift company (Bergbahn) introduced a new Business Model! The WinterCard sold at a huge discount!
Der Wahnsinn geht Weiter (..)
Seven million Swiss Francs, that was last year’s loss at the Bergbahn in Saas Fee. But that’s not all. It turned out that the ski lift discount attracts an entirely different public. (read more about public mixing in this blog: Persona Values). An unintentional effect. Not exactly funny for the hotel owners, as this new public keeps nagging for a discount, even at the hotel. And these hotel owners also are the owners of the Bergbahn. So the knife cuts on both sides for them. Very painful indeed! And as we say in Dutch: that mouse has a tail! But not anymore! Snap! Auch again! Because this new (loud) public does not mix at all with the older public, the regular guests. The loyal guests that ‘form the cork the village floats on!’ (we have funny sayings in Holland, but you get the idea). Moreover, once a discount card is introduced, how do you lose it? So the WinterCard is a Lose-Lose-Lose-Lose-Lose Business Model. It is more than ironic for the hotel owners that the Bergbahn now advertises with: ‘Der Wahnsinn geht weiter!’
Can I invite you?
Who can come up with a better Business Model, an egg of Columbus, for this poor Swiss Village? The best, most original Business Model will get an honourable mention on my website and in my next blog!
Jan Mulder, Market Researcher and founder at Market Vision
Jan Mulder leads consulting and research activities at Market Vision. Jan founded Market Vision in 1996 after obtaining marketing experience at one of the first Personal Computer companies (Kaypro) and getting legal experience at Fokker Aerospace and Fokker Space. His current experience is based on more than 15 years of research in the hotel industry with hotel chains like Radisson and Novotel. Jan also taught research at Windesheim Flevoland for five years and assisted students with their graduation project. Jan lives and works in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, Netherlands. Jan holds a B.A. from the University of Puget Sound and a M.Sc. from the University of Oregon.