Mammoth Mountain in California is riding high this ski season, with daily storms bringing almost 300" of snow already, and is ready to share the bonus with travel agents beginning this summer. We sat down with Joani Lynch, communications director fo Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and Jimmy Kellett, tourism marketing manager for Mammoth Lakes, and the best news they have to share with the agency community is that all of the destination's products will be commissionable beginning this summer. Lynch told us they are "committed to the travel agent market."
Maybe you've heard about Mammoth, and maybe you know little-to-nothing about it (and if you know nothing, sign up now to learn more via the Mammoth Specialist program on Travel Agent University). What you should know is that the destination is the third most visited ski resort in the U.S., behind Vail and Breckenridge in Colorado, and was recently named one of the 10 best ski destinations in 2010 by Orbitz. Oh and Arnold Schwarzenegger learned to ski there before becoming governor (guess he found it better than the Austrian Alps).
With the launch of daily flights from Los Angeles via Horizon Air during the last ski season, the California spot has been popping up on a lot more travelers' maps. The destination experienced a 9 percent increase in visitation compared to last year, and expects to see more as, in addition to two daily flights from L.A., a daily flight for the season is available now from San Jose, CA and Reno, NV (and those flying in from San Jose get a free afternoon lift ticket after they touchdown in Mammoth around noon). But the flights don't end with the ski season. In fact, Lynch and Kellett told us that the L.A. service to Mammoth will now be year-round.
"It's been one of the toughest time to launch flights and it's still going well," Kellett told us. "It's a good long term investment." He added that the 77-passenger planes have been reporting a loading capacity of 45-55 percent, bringing in the most business during the midweek.
What to Sell
With the connectivity these flights provide, Mammoth's product development has improved as the air service makes it easier to package vacations. So, although ski season is still in full swing (and it can last as long as until the Fourth of July), what points should agents be pitching to clients about Mammoth for this summer's commissions launch? We'll answer that question with a simple statement: Mammoth Lakes is a four-square-mile town that rests within miles and miles of wilderness, and it's only 45 minutes from Yosemite National Park. So, think hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, golfing, horseback riding, scenic tours, swimming, shopping, dining, and events.
Got clients who love blues and booze? Tell them about the Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza. Are they the healthier type who love the outdoors? Tell them how New York City Marathon winners train in the region all summer long. Maybe they're looking for some animated flair? Tell them about the new Hyde Lounge which, with Sunset Blvd style, brings a little bit of Hollywood to the area.
Who to Target
If you have clients in the San Francisco Bay or Fresno areas in California, or in the Seattle or Portland, OR in the Pacific Northwest, or even Europe, then start paying more attention to Mammoth, as these geographical markets are in the center of the destination's radar screen.