NEW YORK -- In agents' eyes, a ski package has many moving parts:
air, hotel, car rental, airport transfer and lift tickets, for
Ski lessons are a common add-on; equipment rentals can be, too.
At the same time, there are plenty of alternatives to skiing --
such as spa treatments, evening sleigh rides, soaking in hot
springs -- that can add to a vacation and help beef up
In the end, it can add up because a ski vacation already is a
For many families, a week-long vacation at a resort region to
which the family has returned year after year is a non-negotiable
fact of life.
Even those taking shorter ski trips often are vacationing for
Generally, skiers loathe spending just a weekend pursuing their
sport. They want as much time on the mountain -- or at least at the
resort -- as they can get.
Jim Muller, destination product manager for Mountain Vacations,
a division of Funjet Vacations, said he has the numbers to tell the
Muller's figures show that 10 typical ski vacations equal $3,500
in commissions compared with $2,250 for the same number of Las
And, with all the components that a ski or mountain vacation
package can include, that's just the beginning.
"I think that is where travel agents look at this and say, 'Wow,
I really should start adding ski to my mix,' " Muller said.
There are other ways to add to an agency's bottom line by
Aspen Ski Tours sells coach as well as first class air in its
ski packages. That works to agencies' advantage in two ways.
First, the first class fare in the Aspen Ski Tours package is
less than half the price of normal first class fares, according to
Barry Lefkowitz, vice president of marketing. And because that fare
is bundled into the package, agencies earn a full commission on
As another example, American Airlines Vacations offers summer
and fall packages to western Canada's Lake Louise that have
amenities or activities built in (and for which agents earn a
These can include breakfast and dinner, spa treatments and a
mountain adventure, all commissionable components.
These packages start at just under $900 (without air) for three