This Hotel Is Offering Season Passes to Stay and Surf in Washington
When the founders of Loge Camps realized many customers were coming back for the fourth, fifth or sixth weekend in a single summer, they started brainstorming a better answer to traditional loyalty programs: season passes.
Right now, season passes are basically for amusement parks, museums, lift tickets and not much else, but what if the same deals existed for hotels?
As it turns out, a season pass trend for lodging might actually be on the horizon.
Enter Cale Genenbacher and Johannes Ariens, founders of Loge Camps. Their five locations in California, Oregon and Washington are former motels with new lives as hubs for outdoor adventure, all set minutes from some combination of fishing, surfing, skiing, hiking and mountain biking. Along with cabins and more traditional hotel rooms, they also offer hostel-style accommodations and spots for RVs and tents.
And this year, in what appears to be a first in the hotel business, they debuted a season pass for their Westport location, right along the coast of southern Washington. For $500, guests could get a package deal of five nights, five surf rentals, five cups of coffee and five pints of beer, plus an insulated mug. It works on a punch card system, so guests can share nights with friends if they’d like to. Once they’re used up, additional nights, rentals and beverages are discounted.
“Whether this will become a trend, I don’t know,” says Genenbacher. “But I think the trend that is important is that hotels are going to have to fight. We really, really know our customer because we are our target market, and we’re doing the same things they’re stoked about.”
The idea came about after Genenbacher and Ariens spent quite a few nights around the campfire with repeat guests. Neither of them has any formal experience with hotels, but they do think the old system of staying in a placeless room, building up pennies worth of rewards that take far too long to benefit guests, is broken.
“We both have stayed at hotels before, a number of times, before starting Loge,” Ariens deadpanned when asked whether either of them had previously worked in the business.
“As a premise, [points] as a reward for loyalty kind of seems like crap,” Genenbacher said, adding that the plastic water bottle and handwritten note hotels leave for guests with “status” isn’t really doing much for consumers, either.
With existing rewards programs, customers have to essentially choose their loyalties before spending their money, and it takes a lot of money to realize any benefits. They see a season pass, on the other hand, as similar to the subscription boxes that have become wildly popular: Companies get an early investment from customers, and in return, customers get exclusive benefits right from the start.
Westport season passes are sold out for now, but Loge is working to expand the program to all of its locations. They hope to announce new options later this year. It’s tricky—rates at each one vary significantly. But eventually, they hope they’ll also foster community in a way most hotels can’t.
Maybe, for example, two couples meet in Westport at one of the hotel’s summer concerts, realize they’re both season pass holders and plan a trip together to their Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, location. Or maybe two season pass holders traveling alone head to the slopes together while staying at Loge Mt. Shasta, then discover they’re also from the same city.
“We hear it all the time in our cafes,” Genenbacher says, “people swapping numbers and planning the next trip. We want to give them a way to connect the next time they come and then get out of their way.”