Why do some Swiss ski resorts change their prices several times a day?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Why do some Swiss ski resorts change their prices several times a day?
The price of ski lifts may depend on time of day. Image by Adam Derewecki from Pixabay

In a number of Switzerland’s resorts, a ski pass can cost you less or more — depending on the time of day you buy it.


More than half of the major ski areas in Switzerland — including popular ones like Zermatt — have introduced the so-called ‘dynamic’ ski pass pricing model, instead of fixed price-ones as was the case in the past. 

How exactly does this work?

In the ski lift's computer system, the algorithm is mainly influenced by demand and expected weather conditions, according to a report in Tages Anzeiger.

From this and other data — such as ticket sales from previous years, the usual number of skiers, and the hotel occupancy rate in a given resort — the system establishes sales forecasts for each day.

If, for instance, many ski passes have already been sold in a given day, the system automatically increases prices; if sales stagnate, prices are dropped.

What does this mean for skiers?

In reality, this system does not always work in skiers' favour.

As Tages Anzeiger explained it, “what is particularly striking [with this system] is that prices never go down, they only go up."

There are no discounts on day passes, even if bad weather is forecast and pre-sales are low.


Why, then, are prices not reduced accordingly?

The reason is strategic, according to the newspaper: ski lifts want a maximum of advance reservations, rather than last-minute ones, because they provide a guaranteed return even before the start of the season.

They can also plan more precisely — for instance, in terms of staff needed for the ski lifts — if their customers book their packages online rather than in person at the counter.

"It remains to be seen whether this strategy is viable in the long term," the news platform said. "The fact that customers perceive dynamic prices as unfair may swing this new trend the other way."

READ ALSO: Are there any affordable ski resorts in Switzerland?


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