By Liesl Kenney
In her recent article in “Mercury News,” Janet Fullwood commented on social media in the ski industry: “So crucial is social media to most resorts’ brands and bottom lines that many have diverted marketing dollars away from traditional advertising outlets and invested instead in social-media managers, videographers and consultants.” Skiing social indeed! From interactive photo and video contests for lift tickets to mobile apps that track a skier’s vertical feet every day of the season, ski resorts are embracing social media with open arms.
This conversion of some of America’s most fundamental recreational institutions indicates not only a major marketing shift, but also a deeper understanding of ski resort clientele. As our own Milena Regos explains, “Skiing is a very experiential sport in which people interact with their friends.” Skiing is unique in that it is not only an athletic endeavor, but a highly social one as well. The ski industry drives customers towards their excellent snow and terrain, yes, but that is only a small part of an experience that often includes sipping beers with friends on a sunny lodge deck and even several nights stay at a local hotel. Guests come with family and friends to enjoy a place that is stunningly beautiful and raucously enjoyable. Therein lies the magic of sharing the experience, whether with a video that goes onto a Facebook profile or a friendly competition over who logs the most runs in a day.
Interactive applications provide a casual and fun experience for guests (that’s what ski vacation is all about, right?!) while also creating immense benefits for the resorts whose names are permanently aligned with those experiences. In the short term, guest experiences will be broadcast almost immediately to their own social audiences, creating instant recognition for the brand. In the long term, guests will have tangible evidence of a memorable experience that was not only worth the price tag but also worthy of recommendation or, hopefully, repetition.
For an in-depth look at the innovations currently taking place within the ski industry, please read Janet Fullwood’s article “Social Media Puts World at Your Ski Tips” : http://bit.ly/U5fLQG