Vail Resorts is granting its 2019-20 season pass holders credits of at least 20 percent, and up to 80 percent if they weren’t able to use their passes at all. It is also offering free “Epic Coverage” for the 2020-21 season, which will provide cash refunds to passholders for certain resort closures, including for events like COVID-19, as well as refunds for job loss, illness, and other eligible personal events. Vail is also extending spring sales deadlines until Labor Day, giving people more time to buy at the best price.
To provide additional peace of mind, VR said it may reassess that deadline again as it gets closer, if uncertainty about the season continues.
Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer, said, “Following the difficult decision to close our North American mountain resorts as a result of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we have been developing a comprehensive plan to address our pass holders’ concerns about the early closure this past season and provide improved coverage for the future. We are committed to providing the best passes in the ski industry and are focused on both honoring the loyalty of our guests and providing peace of mind for next season.
“To address last season, we are providing credits to 2019/2020 season pass holders to apply toward the purchase of a 2020/2021 season pass. Season pass holders will receive a minimum credit of 20% toward next season’s pass. For season pass holders who used their pass less than five days, they will be eligible for higher credits up to a maximum of 80% for season pass holders who did not use their season pass at all. For Epic Day Pass, Edge Card and other frequency based products with unused days remaining, we will be offering credits for each unused day up to a maximum of an 80% credit. The credits will be available for our pass holders who purchase 2020/2021 passes by September 7, 2020.
“Looking ahead to the 2020/2021 North American ski season, we fully expect that we will all be enjoying a great ski and ride season, but we also understand that many pass holders are nervous about the future given the current uncertainty. As a result, we are redefining how we will protect season passes through the launch of ‘Epic Coverage.’ Epic Coverage is free for all pass holders and completely replaces the need to purchase pass insurance. Epic Coverage provides refunds in the unlikely event of certain resort closures (i.e. for COVID-19), giving pass holders a refund for any portion of the season that is lost. Additionally, Epic Coverage provides a refund for personal circumstances covered by our pass insurance for eligible injuries, job losses and many other personal events. In addition to these changes, in order to give our pass holders the time they need to make decisions regarding next season, we are extending the deadline for pass holders to receive spring benefits (including Buddy Tickets) until September 7, 2020, and we are extending the period for pass holders to lock in their purchase with only $49 down for the next few months.
“As a result of the early closure this season and the meaningful credits we are offering to 2019/2020 season pass holders, we will be delaying the recognition of approximately $118 million of our deferred season pass revenue, as well as approximately $3 million of related deferred costs, that would have been recognized in the remainder of fiscal 2020 and will now be recognized in the second and third quarters of fiscal 2021. This will result in a reduction in lift revenue and Resort Reported EBITDA in fiscal 2020 of approximately $118 million and approximately $115 million, respectively, which is incremental to the negative impact previously disclosed on March 18, 2020. Fiscal 2021 lift revenue will increase by approximately $118 million, partially or fully offsetting the negative impact of the credits being offered to pass holders, depending upon the final usage of such credits towards the purchase of 2020/2021 season passes, and fiscal 2021 Resort Reported EBITDA will increase by approximately $115 million.
“Our advanced commitment products continue to be our primary focus by delivering value to our guests, resulting in increased guest return rates and guest satisfaction to drive the long-term stability and growth of our business. As we look further into the future, we are well positioned to navigate these challenging times and emerge with significant strength due to our outstanding owned and operated network of destination, regional and local resorts, the stability, loyalty and value offered through our advanced commitment pass products, and our new Epic Coverage and Epic Mountain Rewards programs. We are grateful for the continued commitment of our employees, our community partners and our guests in this challenging environment and look forward to safely getting back to the mountains next season.”
Source: Vail Resorts & SAM