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Opinion FCRM - Getting value for money....

Discussion in 'Falls Creek' started by Hully, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    This thread is an attempt to bring together a couple of points that have been discussed on other sub-forums and get a Falls Creek focus, they being:
    Should RMBs be disbanded and Resorts be absorbed into local Shires?
    What services would you cut in order to reduce the cost of Resort Entry?

    FCRM's recent attempts at reducing cost through outsourcing have been far from successful or inspiring. Outsourcing road clearing last season was recognised by all as a disaster. Outsourcing Finance has resulted in Annual Report for Financial Year 2013/14 still not being posted 10 months post end of year - FAIL.

    Given this, and the fact that Resort Entry goes up each year at a rate significantly above CPI, how would the paying public cut cost from this expensive bureaucracy?

    As a starting point, I would slash the FCRM Marketing Department. There are 3 full time year round staff to help facilitate one major and a couple of minor green season events, one major and a couple of minor winter events and the weekly winter marshmallow toasting festival; put together a bit of generic marketing collateral and coordinate uninspiring digital marketing (for which there is a full time Digital Marketing Officer). In regards to digital marketing, Falls Creek still has two different (FCRM and Lift Co) on-line identities, which is confusing for many. FCRM results are far from fantastic - their new website does not inspire and their Facebook has the lowest likes in the ski industry, 7k compared to 60k FCSL, 38k Hotham, 72k Buller and 12k Baw Baw!! I would recognise that FCSL are a far more superior marketing outfit for Falls Creek, outsource to them to do some green season marketing and keep doing what they are great at for winter. The rest could be done with probably 1 or 2 part time or seasonal staff.
     
  2. Majikthise

    Majikthise Sage Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The RMB set up is a quirky anachronism, why not amalgamate all the RMB s into 1 overarching" trust "?
     
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  3. gaz35

    gaz35 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Has their 2014 Audit been completed yet?
     
  4. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    One issue with summer marketing: IMO the lift co. Seems to melt into the night (so to speak) once lifts shut.

    It would require a substantial increase in committment for FCSL to provide much of the customer information & marketing in the Green Season.

    That said Im sure Lift co, staff are busy managing slope & lift maintenance, planning etc... But Im not convinced their that fussed in customer contact for those 8 long months.

    As an example, Ive been to a couple of EOY stakeholder presentations & I dont recall any lift co. Reps being introduced. But hey happy to be proved wrong.
     
  5. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, and we could call it the 'Alpine Resorts Commission'
    :rolleyes:
     
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  6. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just reacting to a few comments. Have to think harder abut the OP, but no time now
    The resorts compete against each other - and need to. Stakeholders hated the ARC when it was a single body. It was seen as very wasteful and out of touch with local issues.

    FCSL used to oppose spending resources on green season. I'm not sure that this is as true under Franno. You could outsource marketing to them, but would their heart be in it? Would the interests of other stakeholders be given fair weighting?

    FCSL have been represented at every stakeholder meeting that I have attended, pre and post season.
     
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  7. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    They aren't doing it now because it is not their business, engage them commercially to do it and the opportunity for year round work for somebody might be attractive. Even so, a part time engagement by FCRM would be enough. Single online presence and a person just posts green season content for FCRM. FCRM only posted 30 pics to their Instagram account for the last 8 month green season.
     
  8. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    As in their choice of office space
    The World Trade Centre in Melbourne, one of the more expensive addresses at the time!
     
  9. Karicta

    Karicta A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    There should only be one website for 'falls creek', and probably only one Facebook page.

    The average punter won't think to look for another website (having found one already) and it may not contain the info they are after. Very few people would understand the diff bw fcsl and fcrm and they ought not be in competition with one and another at all.

    Ideally, there would be one body that ran (marketed etc) the mountain, but at the least they should have a very close relationship and united public face for the good of both, and the mountain/resort in general.
     
  10. Majikthise

    Majikthise Sage Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Forgot about the ARC history....what other options are there? How do existing local govt boundaries fit?
     
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  11. DbSki

    DbSki Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jeff Kennet says hi.
     
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  12. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hi Jeff, how have you been?
     
  13. DbSki

    DbSki Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    After a ride up Mt Buller in an MMBL Troopie, shit scared.
     
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  14. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    Agree, and based on current performance this should be FCSL. FCSL digital marketing is an industry leader FCRM digital marketing is an industry wooden spooner.
     
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  15. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    As @CarveMan has said in earlier discussions, absorb them into local government....plenty of cost saving their. Just getting rid of CEOs and board members at Falls and Hotham would result in minimum $1/2 million saving straight away before they even started on other consolidation of roles/functions. That is significant, the RMBs only turnover about $11 million each.
     
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  16. ladycamper

    ladycamper One of Us

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    As fiefdoms they could do with more transparency. Wasn't the one at Baw Baw touched by a bit of scandal.
     
  17. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    great and we could call it hmmm, "Alpine Resorts Commission"
     
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  18. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Sorry Charlie I see you beat me to the punch
     
  19. ladycamper

    ladycamper One of Us

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    The risk with absorbing the into local government as the populations of say, Alpine Shire, far outnumber the voting populations of Dinner Plain, Hotham Heights and Falls Creek, so there's a risk services to the alpine areas as the minority population would be neglected, and council votes on these matters balanced in favour of other villages.
     
  20. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    A lot of these ideas have merit.

    ARC style of management - this has potential although the old model would have to be changed. EG all revenue raised on a mountain is returned to that mountain. In the old model, all revenue went to ARC head office and was distributed how they saw fit. EG Buller received the lions share, then Falls and the Hotham was the poor cousin. All now duplicated services could be run at a central office.

    Local Shire - this could work although there are good shires and not so good. This could work with Alpine Shire under the new current management, although if you think costs will go down think again - eg Dinner Plain no cheaper than Hotham

    One on-mountain body running the resort - this would work if it wasn't the current Lift Co's, as they seem to have a all conquering, all dominating attitude, grind out the smaller shops and abolish any opposition (Buller may be the exception ). All stakeholders would need equal say/rights.

    The problem is regardless of what happens with RMB/ARC/ARCC/ARCCC and who ever else, that unless the Lift Co parent company is willing to spend money on ski field development everything else is just frosting around the edges.

    Maybe the solution is to change the Leases!!
     
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  21. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    The lift company at Baw Baw used to say they were in the uphill, not downhill business to justify no spending on slopes, etc!
     
  22. DbSki

    DbSki Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    As I understand when I was doing some research on moving up that way that Winter is the off season for Bright and surrounds and if you take away the resort numbers it could impact cash flow in the off season for business in surrounding towns.
    In which case they do have an interest in ensuring the resorts bring in maximum numbers.
     
  23. DbSki

    DbSki Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wow, thats silly.
    If people don't go down the slopes they wont be going up the slopes either.
     
  24. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    I wouldn't be spending too much if I was the Lift Co at the moment. They, to me, seem to be the only ones cutting cost to the consumer and trying through competitive pricing to increase visitation. RMB resort entry and commercial accommodation costs keep going up. Make a big cut to RMB costs and as a result reduce resort entry (about 1/2 of their income) and other rates/taxes and we might see overall costs go down and visitation increase. Then Lift Co might see their assets being better utilised and justify investment.
    As an example, absorb FCRM into Alpine Shire management and straight up save probably about $500k+ in executive salaries which could be applied as an immediate 10% reduction in resort entry fees.
     
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  25. DbSki

    DbSki Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    How willing are local shires to take on responsibility for the resorts ?
     
  26. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Winter is not a big income earner for Bright for the most part. Most snow commuters get fuel and keep going. Bright's big income time start when it warms up.

    Mind you in saying that, there has been a trend over the last couple of years for skiers/boarders to stay off mountain (more like it use to be 20 years ago), and there are a number of reasons for this:
    1. Cost - it is cheaper off mountain when you do the maths and you have more eating options
    2. Very little discount for multiday lift tickets - skiers are now buying 1 day tickets only, because if its raining tomorrow then its a total loss,
    3. and if it is raining then there is plenty more to do off mountain (see previous 1000000000 posts on lack of off snow activities)
    4. Cost
    5. some smart ski hire operators (eg Hoys) offer 1 day hire with the option to extend at no additional charge other than the difference between 1 and 2 day hire.(also applies to multiday). So rather than locking the customer in for extended periods, let the customer make the decision and keep them happy.
    6. Cost
     
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  27. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    The resorts are important to the local economies and townships and to have some control of a major business driver I would think would be attractive. I know a manager at my local Shire passed concerned comment to me about the state of the FCRM management when it was without an appointed permanent CEO for a number of months.
     
  28. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    This discussion is great and important. Quite frankly, there would be more ski industry experience and insight, passion and commitment within those involved in this discussion than in the management of the resort and currently it is unheard.
     
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  29. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    ....and cost.
     
  30. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Yes Hully like I said a lot of the ideas have merit.

    Although If you take a family of 4 to ski for a long weekend (2 nights) you will not get change from $5k. If you halve the resort entry component to say $50 then the 2 night holiday will be $4950 that is not enough to sway me to go or not. I would rather pay the extra $50 and know ski patrol is there.

    That's not to say that the RMB don't waste money,or its the correct model. Its everyone else taking their cut along the way as well.

    I don't think the lift co's are doing enough, low season pricing is not low enough, half day pricing is non existent, what about refunds/credits for rainy days, what about incremental pricing based on lifts running and better still terrain open, mid week pricing option, half price Wednesdays. Things that will please the customer, get bums on seats, get return visitation because the customer wont feel they are being fleeced the moment they drive through the gate. Or if they are being fleeced its in a nice way, which is OK. Its about perceived value!

    Am I ranting :tany:
     
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  31. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    oops sorry did I forget to mention cost ;)
     
  32. ladycamper

    ladycamper One of Us

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    Most visiting to Alpine Shire and Bright in the summer is mass events based in the valley such as Rod Run and Audax Alpine Classic, then individuals, families and groups doing fishing (not in alpine resorts), road cycling, mountain biking, shooting, motorbike and 4wd in state forests, day & overnight bushwalking. The resorts in summer and Dinner Plain get steady numbers but are rather quiet except when an events on up there......I rather like it when it's not busy. Most of the above are mainly base out of the valley.

    Lift companies are owned mainly by private equity firms out of Sydney or Melbourne and don't. Have an interest in the community.

    As for reducing resort entry etc, maybe governmmet should find the RMBS a lot more. If we can waste many millions on football stadiums, the previous Vic govt committing to the East West link without a robust business case & strong community support, funding the Grand Prix etc I'm sure a bit thrown our way would t seem unfair.
     
    #32 ladycamper, Aug 27, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
  33. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    $5k for a long weekend....wow. We are a family of 3, and admittedly living local don't pay accommodation, but ski all season for $1500 2x adult hero passes, next year will need to pay for the grom's lift pass so $350, $300 resort entry, $350 kid's local squad lessons and probably $1-1.5k on periodic equipment upgrades. $3.5-4k for the season.
     
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  34. ladycamper

    ladycamper One of Us

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    Are you hearing what I hear, that those with some coin are saving it to take their major ski trip overseas and use resorts here for pottering around or their kids school camps? I think that the budget visitor and snowboarder may become more numerous in resorts here as the others will spend overseas for a better experience.

    I heard 2-3 weeks ago when visiting Bright, that in the north east and the resorts, booking numbers for September are well down on normal numbers.
     
  35. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeh, I thought the $5k was a bit pessimistic!
     
  36. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    What I am trying to say is the above is the cost to enter the resort and ski all season. All the rest of the cost that people are experiencing is holiday cost. I suppose when it comes to holiday cost skiing is no different than any other Australian holiday....heaps cheaper to beach holiday in SE Asia than Qld resorts.
     
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  37. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Yes same although we are local and have local knowledge on how to save money, or when not to spend it, best places to eat, beers in the car for the trip home (passengers only), hot dogs in a thermos, etc etc
     
  38. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Ok yes possibly a touch too high for 3 days sking 2 nights accom family of 4 traveling from Melb
    Accom = $1000
    Lift passes = $1140
    Lessons = $200
    Hire skis/clothing = $500
    On mountain food = $500
    Chain Hire = $50
    Resort Entry = $140

    Travel from Melb:
    Fuel = $150
    Food for starving kids = $100

    Total = $3780 and that's pretty much no frills

    This does not take into account: oversnow transport to accom for luggage $50, oh the kids want to go on the sled dog tour $300, oh now the wife does as well $150, now the kids want to go in the snow park $50, OK yes I will get a you a new Parka dear $400 (yes matches your goggles), sliding into the snow drift in the car $500 damage, frozen diesel and towed off hill $500 + PITA etc etc

    Yes it can be done a bit cheaper (although not much) and can be done a lot dearer - would I be spending $4 - $5k on a 3 day holiday nope!
     
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  39. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Absolutely Hully, its about value for $ spend, and I reckon the local sking product has priced them selves out of the market
     
  40. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    for most, accommodation is the big cost. resort entry, chain hire etc all add to the already high cost, but while a bed costs more than a day ticket, I don't think you can significantly increase on mountain stays.

    reducing resort entry cost would have a bigger impact on day trippers and those staying off mountain

    IME (and I did work there for a couple of years) Bright peak season is January, Easter and Autumn Festival. Some businesses used to take holidays in August because it was off season. Mt Beauty peak is winter,but January and Easter are important too. Talking to one Mt Beauty accomm owner, he was very happy with his bookings this season. Our club has pretty good September bookings, but they have only come in recently: good price and reasonable prospect that snow will last this season.
     
  41. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    Snap....sounds just like my ski life :)
     
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  42. Hully

    Hully One of Us

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    So accomm costs, there is always talk about lease fees, bed taxes.....how much do these really contribute to cost and if we make RMB leaner and cheaper how will it flow on to paying guests.
    For me the real issue is that Falls had been busy for 1 week (2nd week school hols and only those stuck with huge prepaid coats and no refunds) and 3 Saturdays (1 fir the Hoppet). Costs are never going to reduce with this sort of asset utilisation.
     
  43. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you are keen you can ski, if not cheaply, then for moderate cost. hero passes, season entry pass, car you can sleep in or keep your own van in sub-alpine town, own all your own gear (and keep it for a few years), bring some meals with you, make sensible choices about where to eat the other meals.
     
  44. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    that's the dilemma. high accomm cost reduces utilisation, low utilisation drives up cost.

    Utilisation has not really been an issue at our club in recent years - although it remains vulnerable to poor snow conditions. for all the talk about OS, I think that if the cost and the snow are ok, people will still come.
     
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  45. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here Ski Pass: Gold

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    IMO, most people aren't prepared to go OS for a snow holiday, they need reasonable prices so they can get away for a quick weekend's skiing or snowplay
     
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  46. snowduck

    snowduck One of Us

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    I often have chats with first-timers to FC. At some point in the convo the costs of skiing are raised. People kind of expect lift prices and ski hire to be not cheap, but the shock I see is when they hear that the (current) resort entry fee is $45 per day ( if purchased online.)

    A reduction in fee may not be attainable next season, but at the least I reckon the Resort Management should be making a price freeze a priority. I recall two or a few years ago when the lift company actually reduced costs on many of the lift passes.

    Also, a sliding scale of charges should be implemented. We have to consider that there are plenty of tourists who won't be interested in the savings of a Season Pass. Let's say they wish for a midweek trip in the car. 5 days X $45 = $225.

    Pricey

    Have the daily rate DROP as the stay lengthens, and it entices visitors to stay longer
     
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  47. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    The most successful multi season structure in Australia is the Thredbo head lease/sub lease structure with sub lease rents calculated as a percentage of turnover. It is in the head lessor's interest to maximise all season trade for the sub lessees because that increases their rent, so it is worth investing in off season activities.
     
  48. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm tempted by the head lease model. I can see downsides but it may be least bad option, if there are safeguards.
     
  49. Ziggy

    Ziggy A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jeez, you gotta be kidding.
    I used to do it way cheaper.
    DIY food. Accommodation at Howmans Gap camp or onsite van or cabin in the valley. 2nd hand gear for the kids that would be good for a season or two & maybe to hand down.
    Wasn't hard to do. If you want to ski you find a way.
     
  50. FlatLander

    FlatLander Addicted

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    Missing the point Ziggy and no I am not kidding. Yes you can do that if you want, BUT the big factor in that is knowledge. Once you have the knowledge, you can do things differently. And yes after a couple of years, if you persist, you work out what works, where to eat or not to, where to stay etc etc.

    I am talking about the first timer family of 4 (or 2nd timer), that ring the booking agency with "we would like to bring the kids up for a week in the snow, oh that much really :eek:, ok well lets try for a long weekend, yes please" that price is about right. And when that family gets up to the resort, and it rains for 2 of the 3 days, there is no refunds on anything, they are stuck in the unit for 2 days, kids are bored as they don't want to ski in the rain, there is no cinema or games arcade etc for them to spend some time. Then on the last day its fine, kids want to go skiing, dad cant because he has to get all their gear out of the unit by 10, so he has to go and get the car, bring it to day parking make a few trips back to the unit for all the gear, so he is knackered, grumpy and feels ripped off. The family wants to leave about 1pm to beat the traffic so they lose half the last day as well

    Is that reality absolutely yes, is that value for $4k absolutely not, will that family come back most likely not!

    Can you do it cheaper yes, but you have to know how to do it, and you have to know what you need. We know from experience how and when to avoid the pitfalls, but they don't!
     
    BilbyBill likes this.