Maison Sport connects skiers with independent ski instructors, we provide customers with a consistent way to securely book private ski & snowboard lessons in over 130 ski resorts across France, Switzerland and Italy.
Maison Sport bypasses the traditional ski school and connects skiers directly with passionate, independent instructors, who are renowned for going the extra mile.
Customers can choose an instructor based on real reviews and their profile, whilst saving up to 50% on the lesson price. This results in far higher customer satisfaction.
For instructors, Maison Sport is a game changer, with complete control of their profile, availability and pricing, our platform is helping them increase their earnings. For independent instructors we are providing a new source of clients, whilst those working for ski schools now have the option of working for themselves, resulting in far higher income.
As well as introducing instructors to new customers, our platform’s functionality allows instructors to manage their entire business in one place, becoming a software solution for independent instructors.
This is just the start of our mission to create a multi sport platform. Connecting people to passionate and professional independent instructors, coaches and trainers in the sports they love.
As ski school owners and professional ski instructors, our knowledge of the industry means we have a key understanding of the problems facing both the customer and instructor market, which in our view has remained unchanged for over 40 years and therefore is ripe for innovation.
We believe we can create a far better experience for customers, firstly by leveraging a large community of independent instructors which are typically struggling to compete with ski schools, and then by creating a brand that shows ski lessons are best booked through Maison Sport with an independent ski instructor.
The current ski school model often causes customers to feel unsatisfied with their experience, problems include:
• The booking process can be complex and time consuming.
• Customers have little access to verified, individual instructor reviews.
• Customers can rarely choose their instructor.
• Lessons are generally expensive and overpriced.
In our view, ski instructors are overworked and underpaid, with ski schools taking up to 40% of their income. We've seen that existing independent instructors, or instructors wanting to work for themselves struggle to compete with ski schools, as they have better websites and much larger marketing budgets.
The Maison Sport platform solves these problems.
Substantial accomplishments to date
- Over 4.5X year on year revenue growth from 16/17 to 17/18, whilst making a positive return on marketing spend.*
- On average, the cost of acquiring a customer is lower than the margin earned from their first purchase, so we make a positive financial return straight away*.
- There are over 350 instructors signed up and live on Maison Sport, which gives us an estimated £12M+ of bookable availability.
- 69% of our customers left a review during winter 17/18, 96% of instructor reviews were 5 stars.
- Nominated for the 2017 World Travel Awards Travel Innovation Award & Best Snow-Sport Start up.
*Based on unaudited management accounts.
We take a total of 10% commission from each transaction, split between the customer and instructor.
Future monetisation strategy
Commission from connecting instructors with new customers.
Subscription fee earned from instructors that are using our software to book lessons and process payments for their returning client base.
Use of proceeds
Product improvements should help us to reach our aim of doubling our conversion rate, by ensuring more new users coming on to the site convert to sign ups and more of these sign ups convert to sales.
Increased spend on marketing and wages will impact our customer retention and word of mouth revenues. We expect 35% of 2017/18 customers to return and for word of mouth referrals to continue to bring in a large proportion of our revenue.
Our instructor services team and marketing outreach will drive brand awareness to instructors in new resorts - encouraging instructors to leave ski schools and join the platform in resorts where we have little to no existing coverage.
An increased marketing budget will enable us make use of new customer acquisition channels, with driving brand awareness being a key focus.
Maison Sport is addressing the ski lesson market, which is estimated to be worth at least £2bn annually. Our addressable market consists of an estimated 60,000 ski and snowboard instructors worldwide, based on our calculations this equates to a market worth £1.2bn annually.
Since launch, we have predominately focused on the French market, which consists of over 18,000 fully qualified ski and snowboard instructors, we believe it represents the largest opportunity for our business model. Our focus will remain on France for the 18/19 winter but we will also target resort specific opportunities in other countries, to grow our coverage in the key resorts across Europe.
In our experience, ski instructors generally work on a self employed basis, even if they are working for a ski school, which typically results in them not benefiting from any of the standard employee benefits. Our model takes advantage of this self employed status, to enable instructors to increase their earnings by truly working for themselves.
We see parallels to the ski lesson market in other sports, so will be looking to expand the platform in to new verticals in the coming 12 months.
Characteristics of target market
We've identified 3 types of ski/snowboard instructor:
Independent instructors - those that already work for themselves, they have a decent returning client base, but are struggling to find new business.
Ski school instructors - those that rely on a ski school to generate business for them, typically giving away 40% of their earnings in the process.
Part time instructors - those that only work during school holiday weeks (this can range from 1 week to 6 weeks of work per winter). From our experience, most rely on ski schools to find them work, as they don’t have the time or knowhow to find or manage their own clients.
Our initial focus has been to sign up independent instructors, as we gain traction, more instructors are leaving ski schools to join Maison Sport, with a view to increasing their earnings. Maison Sport is already creating huge value for part time instructors, in fact last winter we have seen some part-time instructors double their earnings compared to when they worked for a ski school.
We have already identified profitable marketing channels, which we will continue to expand on as we make the service available in new resorts and increase user traffic to existing ones.
The majority of our customers are English speaking, however over the coming 12 months we will build up our brand awareness, further increasing our already high percentage of word of mouth referrals, whilst increasing awareness in new markets.
Our main competition comes from traditional ski schools, instructors working for these schools are self employed and are paid for each hour they work.
Other platforms focus on a "compare the market" type strategy, listing multiple ski schools in one place, their USP is mostly around ease of booking and comparison of pricing for ski schools.
Our goal is to change the way the market operates and improve the experience for both customers and instructors. As our marketplace grows it strengthens - better resort coverage, more instructor reviews, results in loyalty from instructors and customers. As Maison Sport grows we weaken the competition, by taking valuable instructors thus reducing their supply.