One of the best ways to develop a picture of any company is the SWOT analysis -- a look at a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Today, we'll focus on Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN), the company behind the Vail Mountain and Breckenridge resorts, among others.
- Brand -- five of the company's world-class resorts are among the top 10 most-visited resorts in the U.S., and they consistently earn top rankings in industry publications.
- Significant barriers to entry for would-be competitors.
- Real estate holdings in highly desirable areas (Colorado, Tahoe, Wyoming, etc.)
- Loyal customer base (season pass holders increased year over year).
- Expensive resort operations (lift services, grooming, trail maintenance).
- Heavy reliance on mountain segment success (nearly 65% of sales).
- Dependent upon a seasonal workforce.
- Increase ownership of existing resorts.
- Continued real estate development.
- Continued innovation in resort operations.
- Difficult economic environments that strain discretionary spending.
- Weather -- short winters (or little snow).
- Reliance on government permits and strict adherence to environmental laws and regulations.
- Small supply of available property to develop new resorts.