On the occasion of the extension of the cooperation between the ski resort Zermatt Bergbahnen AG (ZBAG) and Smart Pricer, we talked to Markus about strategic challenges such as shorter winters, investments in the summer offer and digitalization.
Dear Markus, the Covid-19 pandemic has left its mark on the entire mountain railway industry. Now, things are slowly looking better again. What do you expect for the next 2-3 winter and summer seasons?
For an international destination (40% Swiss; 60% foreign), it’s difficult to make a prediction. Zermatt is dependent on unrestricted, functioning international travel connections. Next summer and winter, the markets in Europe and North America will certainly recover. However, how things will develop with our important market in Asia cannot be estimated at the moment. Still, in 2 years at the latest, all markets should be able to return to their pre-Covid-19 levels.
Climate change will lead to shorter winter seasons in the Alps. What does this mean for you as a high altitude ski resort and how are you preparing for this?
As the operator of the highest ski area in the Alps, the starting position is somewhat differentiated. At sea level, where many are already on “the roof” of their resorts, things are really just getting started for us. Since Zermatt is one of the driest places in Switzerland, we are dependent on an area-wide snow system, one way or another. The temperatures for their use are usually given at our altitudes. What we are constantly observing are the developments in the high mountains regarding permafrost and the associated rockfall. The safety of our system is our top priority.
You are currently in the process of making major investments (e.g. “X-Alpine Crossing” and “Klein Matterhorn Extension”). What motivated you to do this and what can your guests expect in the future?
With the Alpine-X, we will enable our guests to experience the highest Alpine crossing by cable car. They will cross one of the most impressive glacier landscapes in the Alps, always accompanied by the “turning” Matterhorn. Additional offers are intended to complement the experience of the cable car journey with further, unforgettable experiences.
Picture: Alpine Crossing, Source: Zermatt ski resort
You have been focusing on consistent digitalisation for some time now. What topics are you planning to implement in the next few years?
The digitalisation of the piste rescue service is currently underway. Various tools on relevant topics are being developed, as well as the necessary interface to the internal and external information systems. Furthermore, the area of e-learning for our staff is being developed.
Thank you, Markus, for the exciting content from two great interviews! Did you miss the first part of the interview series? No problem! Just click on the button below:
If you want to know more about the pricing journeys of other popular ski resorts, you can check out:
👉 our Interview with Valentin König, CEO at the Aletsch Bergbahnen ski resort.