Vail Resorts CEO Robert Katz was looking for ways to energize a boring business in the stale skiing industry when he had a simple idea: to reinvent the season pass.
Some seven or eight years ago, Vail Resorts slashed the price of its season pass from $1,500 to $600. Then Katz started finding new ways to tailor the pass to customers' wants and needs, using the information gleaned in the process to mine their profiles and deliver better products.
The results have been stellar — a company considered a leading innovator in the vacation and leisure industries and a stock that has outperformed the market. Vail shares have risen more than 40 percent in 2017 and more than 300 percent over the past five years.
"Everyone thought we were nuts, (that) there was some mistake," Katz said during a speech Friday at the Baron Investment Conference in New York.