Lutricia Eberly: Selling warm fun in a cold-friendly environment

It’s 85 degrees and sunny, a perfect summer day.

It’s the kind of day, however, that adds an underlying challenge of promoting a resort that is better known for its ski boots and gloves than its swim trunks and tank tops.

That doesn’t worry Lutricia Eberly, who has been the director of sales at Roundtop Mountain Resort for the better part of the last decade.

Like a pro, she rattles off the non-winter offerings at the northern York County resort, first highlighting the popular OGO ball ride. In the ride, you hop into what is best described as a large inflatable ball filled with water and you roll down a hill, inside it. Only three resorts in the country offer an OGO ball.

Inflatable ball not your thing? Roundtop also offers zip lines, paintball, rope courses and meeting facilities. They cater to individual families and they cater to groups, the latter of which is the wheelhouse where Eberly spends most of her time.

She admits that she initially joined Roundtop staff in the mid-2000s for some semi-selfish reasons. The part-time gig at the time allowed her to snag some outdoor slope activity – on the cheap.

“I wanted to ski for free,” she said.

Eberly is originally from Indiana, but moved to the Central Pennsylvania region for college in 1996. It was then she became familiar with Roundtop. She went back to Indiana for graduate school before returning to Pennsylvania. She started part-time with the resort in 2005.

During those early working years she took on tasks that got her noticed. For example, she recognized the facility needed a social media presence so she created and managed its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Meanwhile, the company was embarking on a strategy to expand its business from its core winter activities. They saw Eberly’s potential. In March 2010, the company offered her the newly created position of sales director.

“I asked a lot of questions,” she said of her time early on in the position. She knew little of direct sales and managing her own team. “I learned about the visitor’s bureau and the chambers of commerce and networking groups. All of those were foreign to me. I asked questions. How do you do your job? How do you find success? I attended every networking group that I could to get the word out that Roundtop was more than just skiing.”

Increasing revenue for off-season activities took a “fundamental change in thinking,” Eberly said.

“When you are a ski resort and people are passionate about skiing, they are going to go skiing,” she said. Finding an audience for the rest the year takes a more proactive approach.

“As an industry many resorts are happy to have about 20 percent of their revenue be non-winter related. Roundtop is working to exceed that,” Eberly said. She declined to share revenue numbers. 

“You have to go tell the world that you offer those activities,” she said. Not just offering them, but finding solutions in ways that have the best business impact: attendance volume, a satisfying customer experience and repeat business.

Eberly would focus her efforts on contacts who have the biggest impact. For example, take Girl Scout leaders. They are always thrilled to find solutions for their field trips. They are looking for something more to do than, say, an amusement park ride. Roundtop offers team-building activities in the summer, but people can also come back in the fall and winter for other activities. Each year, a new group of scouts will experience Roundtop for the first time.

“Who has the need and how does Roundtop find that need?” she said.

When she talks to talent acquisition directors who want to position their accounting firms or law firms as the better option than their competition, she knows they have to compete in more ways than just salary. Eberly will suggest snow-tubing vouchers for new hires, for example.

“You’re going to appear more cool than the accounting firm down the road,” she said. “It’s recognizing the challenge that each individual is facing.”

Growth at Roundtop doesn’t stop at Eberly’s door. She feels that the state hasn’t been doing its part. Its annual allotment of $4 million in tourism promotion dollars is low compared to neighboring states like New York at $70 million a year and Ohio’s $20 million annually.

Increasing tourism promotion will feed back into the state, she said.

“For every dollar a visitor spends in a hotel, they spend $7 in the local community. Categorically, the more the commonwealth promotes tourism, the more revenue generated for all,” Eberly said.

She also supports House Bill 1810, legislation that would close a tax loophole in the state. It would require online home-sharing and short-term rental companies in Pennsylvania to register with the state and share information with taxing authorities, noted in a memo by state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon County), who introduced the bill last year. The bill is currently in a state Senate committee.

 “Central Pa. is a goldmine for potential,” Eberly said.

In addition to driving revenue, Eberly also finds that it’s important that her internal sales team wants to be a part of Roundtop. She’s worked hard to create and encourage an engaging environment, while also complementing her own skillset.

She’s also tired of hearing about the “too stressed, too overworked” stereotype for women in business, especially at networking events or conferences. It doesn’t have to be that way, she said.

“How do you cultivate an environment that doesn’t mean you are stressed, overworked and juggling too much?” she said. Be deliberate and intentional, she answered.

For example: Be deliberate and intentional in choosing networking opportunities or in recognizing the differences in humans by not categorizing people by gender, generation or level of education, she said.

“For every decision that I make, I can create an environment that I can thrive in and enjoy my job,” she said.

Cathy Hirko
Cathy Hirko is managing editor, news, for the Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business. Email her at chirko@cpbj.com.

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