As a major participant in the upper-end vacation travel sector, our strategies are all focused on continuing our commitment to delivering exceptional experiences to our guests. Our success starts and ends with this mission and it is the nexus from which all of our other tactics flow.
Our strategies for each of our business segments support the integrated and interdependent nature of the businesses themselves:
No new major mountain resorts are being created in the United States and of over 500 ski areas operating in North America today, only a handful can provide the comprehensive destination vacation experience that represents the business of our Company. This allows existing quality resort operators to capture all of the growth generated in the industry. In fact, over the past 7 years, we have seen some of the best years in the industry’s history, as the demographics of the population and new excitement at the resorts have combined to create very positive dynamics for the sector.
Amongst our peers, our Company is in the enviable and unique position of being both a quality and volume leader in the industry. All five of our mountain resort are in the top ten most visited resorts in North America and all five are in the top 20 SKI Magazine rankings as well.
But we are not resting on our laurels. Our strategy is to continuously reinvest in our resorts to maintain their leadership position, with both capital investments on our mountains and by redeveloping our base areas, adding new lodging and amenities.
We also serve a customer base with attractive demographics, with an average income across all five resorts of $170,000 per year. The combination of this investment, the improving guest experience and the demographics of our customers, allows us to drive increased visitation and by constantly raising our value proposition, we can drive price growth as well.
In addition to selling lift tickets, we also drive the growth of our ancillary businesses, including in ski school, dining and retail/rental, which now comprises more than half of our mountain revenue. Our emphasis on controlling our primarily fixed cost structure allows for unusually high flow through of revenue growth and resulting growth in operating margins.
All of these factors combine to produce a very strong organic growth engine: good industry fundamentals, world class assets, industry leading volume and quality, no supply growth, premium guest attributes, high flow through of revenue growth.
Our mountain strategies also include opportunistic acquisitions, whether it is by adding to our portfolio in our existing resort areas or adding new resorts or complimentary businesses in new geographic areas. Our strategy is not to grow for growths sake, but rather to compliment our business model with new ventures which can be integrated into our overall corporate mission and values.
Our primary strategy in Lodging is to ensure we provide a high quality comprehensive experience, by controlling thousands of beds at the foot of our mountain resorts. We do this through the ownership of several hotels as well as the management of hotels and condominium properties across our resorts which offer a wide variety of lodging experiences to meet the varying needs of our guests. As in our mountain segment, we are continuously investing in our lodging properties to further enhance the guest experience, as lodging is a primary driver of overall guest satisfaction.
Selective expansion of our luxury RockResorts brand is a key strategy at our mountain resorts. By leveraging the expertise across the Vail Resorts network, RockResorts is involved in the design, marketing, sales and management of planned new developments, which combines our strong expertise in real estate development and resort management while leveraging our strong brands and customers.
Additionally, our ownership of the Grand Teton Lodging Company allows us to create an exceptional experience in one of the most beautiful, natural settings in the United States. We will look to selectively expand our National Park operations, where appropriate, leveraging our Company’s expertise at being great stewards for these iconic resorts.
Real Estate Development Strategies.
We are resort operators first and developers second. Real estate is a critical part of our mission and core business. We ensure that our Company maximizes its profit from each and every real estate project. At the same time, one of the primary goals of our projects is to increase the bed base at the foot of our mountain resort, enhance the resort aesthetics, significantly add new resort amenities, all of which enhances and drives our potential Mountain and Lodging profitability. Our development activity typically represents projects with a relatively small number of ultra-luxury units. Part of our real estate strategy is to limit our development risk through the use of pre-sale requirements before commencing construction, GMP, or Guaranteed Max Price contracts to control our construction costs, and non-recourse financing.