I’ve found a lot of great research that’s been published in the past few months (I’ll be posting my favorites in the coming weeks), and one of my favorites is this piece from thinktravel with Google. I am fascinated by the multi-screen usage by day part chart (if you haven’t made serious effort to ensure your web presence accommodates various screens besides desktop, just stop reading now). In addition the major increase in mobile usage by leisure travellers certainly should be of interest to resort marketers as well. One of the big question this presents is just how fast the adoption for booking on mobile will be and also how the 60-70% of mobile (OTA) bookings being same day certainly shows the potential for ski resorts to sell via mobile as well.
Enjoy!Graphic from: thinktravel with Google
It’s time to get the ball rolling again with The Resort Marketing Blog.
It was another super busy winter and with my work responsibilities, family responsibilities and side projects something had to take priority and this side project was not anywhere near the top of the list. But, things have mellowed (a bit) and I am definitely looking to pick this back up.
So, here’s a list of topics that I want to touch on in the near future:
- What is the current state of digital marketing for resorts.
- What is the future.
- What has changed.
- What has stayed the same.
- What is going on outside the resort industry that we all must be aware of.
- What winter resorts can do to grow business.
- New and unique topics that come across my different feeds.
It was nice to get a little “me time” but it’s time to kick this back up – cheers!Photo credit: Flickr user Crystl
I’m a data geek and I always like to look at how data can help predict future trends. Google trends is a fairly basic tool to help sort through the big data of Google’s search history and by using the “predict” toggle you can view their prediction for a search term, or set of terms. I chose “Ski Resorts” and you can see the results:
This search is a bit better if you click-through to the Google Trends site, where you can even check a toggle to “Forecast” searches into the future. There’s also a regional map and related searches to help you drill further into the data. I have posted about Google trends and ski related searches and it’s a tool that everyone should take a look at every once in a while if not only to confirm things you already have good data about.
I’m writing this post on my laptop while watching a football game on my satellite served TV, with my tablet next to me on the coffee table and my smart phone charging in the kitchen. Once the football game is over I’ll probably grab my tablet to do some reading and when it’s time to head over to a friend’s house for a part, I’ll grab my phone on which I might Instagram a photo of the party, or at least keep in touch if there are any pressing emails.
I’m not at all unique in my constant switching from one media device to another. There is a wonderful report from Google about some of the marketing impacts of this, and the highlights are covered in this great infographic from Google/Ipsos/Sterling:
What are the implications for ski resort marketers? To me, there are many, ranging from how skiers and riders plan their trips, to how they use media while they are at the mountain to how they share their experiences once they’re done…and these things all flow from one screen to another to another. I’m not going to line out how I see this happening here, but I think it goes without saying that if your web presence isn’t optimized for all of these screens, you’re in trouble, and if your campaigns aren’t moving across all screens (uh, can we say Flash ads), then you’re probably not set well either…it’s a fast changing world out there and this is certainly a trend that resort marketers must pay close attention to – note the 43% of people planning trips cross over devices.
Are there any ski resorts out there doing a particularly good job of this?
It’s the only excuse I have for slacking off on my posting to the Resort Marketing blog – it’s been crazy busy! With a slew of deadlines at work, a 5 1/2 year-old in kindergarten, dance, enrichment and soon to be ski school and getting the house, and me, ready for winter, this blog has unfortunately slipped down in my priority list. But, I’m digging out and am back – at least for a bit!
One of the items that has recently caught my eye is a great guide to what each of those oddly named filters on Instagram really do. My go-to filters seem to usually be Lo-fi (or Hefe – a toned down version of Lo-fi) yep, I do like saturation:
I also agree with the filter article that Hudson is great for outdoor images (yes ski season is fast approaching):
But sometimes (all the time if you ask some people), a filter isn’t really needed at all:
Stay tuned for a run down of the best Instagram filters to use on the slopes in a few short months!
There hasn’t been a really geeky post on the Resort Marketing Blog for a while, so here we go. I imagine that most people will not have ever noticed that there is a lack of ski industry standards in terms of lift/run status, resort events, news and in particular snow reporting. For each of these items, each ski resort seems to have its own way to offer this information.
There is a recently formed group called Mtn.Xml which was founded by a few resorts, interactive web companies, and one of the two main snow report aggregation companies that intends to offer “The universal standard for ski reporting data.” This mission statement cuts to the heart of what the real issue is – each resort has its own priorities and own way of checking off those priorities. To attempt to enact standards that are flexible enough for each resort to do this is in reality like trying to herd cats – it simply is not efficient nor effective. That said, I believe this effort can work for many resorts and it will make it easier to develop apps and other web services for those resorts.
But, will it work for others?
No. So,I know that the lift statuses the resort I work for are different from the lift statuses from other resorts, even when we use similar terminology it still isn’t the same, what is “scheduled” or “on hold” for us, might be “expected” and “delayed” for another. These are sometimes marketing related, but often driven by operational needs that are specific to that resort. This fragmentation continues with run status reporting, because some resorts report snowmaking, some report when a run was groomed and some even groom during the day – how can this be made consistently reportable? Finally, with snow reporting, it seems that the needs of resorts vary the most. Some report daily, some only when it snows and some seem to report with every inch that comes down. Snow reporting has definitely become more accurate with the advent of social media and the ability for anyone to Facebook or Tweet an image and report of actual conditions, but resort do have very different requirements and therefore report in different ways. Whether that be time of report, frequency of report, or even reporting from a variety of locations, the possibilities are quite varied.
But, I would love to see simplification of the reports that are now filed with SnowCountry, OnTheSnow (has some nice XML documentation of their own) and potentially with other local organizations (in Utah we manually report to SkiUtah each morning). This duplication of labors could certainly be made easier and more accurate through MTN.XML, but will enough resorts and syndicators sign on to make it worthwhile – that remains to be seen and in an industry as regionalized and fragmented as the ski resort business is, I don’t know that this can or will happen, and if anything it may need to be an outside force, such as an Apple, Google or Amazon that comes in and redefines how the travel space communicates in general – iTravel anyone?Photo credit: Flickr user Kalexanderson
I’m well aware that I’m not the best writer (not by a long shot), particularly since the Word Press grammar check always has multiple suggestions anytime I hit the “Publish” button. But, I’m always looking to improve my writing, which to be honest, is one reason I blog. In addition, I follow Grammar Girl on Twitter and am always stoked to find great tools like this infographic:
Here’s to better grammar through practice, patience and more practice!
It has been an interesting experience watching the various Summer and Winter Olympics since the 2002 Games were held in Salt Lake City. And these 2012 London Games were no different. They brought back a lot of great memories and they also were something that seem a lot more personal now that I’ve seen and been behind the scenes of a Games. It was great to see the solid execution of the London Games across all the events by the organizers and competitors alike. But now that the Summer Olympics are over and we’re pointing to Winter Games of Sochi 2014, I am taking a moment to make some Olympics inspired resolutions (I know they’re usually fitness related, but I figured why not add a whole variety?):
- I resolve to post at least once a week to this blog.
- I resolve to get myself into pre-season ski shape.
- I resolve to evolve my work habits to be more effective and efficient.
- I resolve to spend more quality time with my daughter and wife.
- I resolve to finish the house projects I still have pending before the snow flies.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review describes how the London Olympic Organizing Committee set about pricing tickets for the 2012 Summer Olympics. I had never heard of the concept of “shared-value”, which I understand was actually first introduced by Harvard Business review and explained in this blog post.
The central premise behind creating shared value is that the competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities around it are mutually dependent. Recognizing and capitalizing on these connections between societal and economic progress has the power to unleash the next wave of global growth and to redefine capitalism.
The London Olympic Committee created shared value by dong a lot of market research to see what Londoner’s would be willing to pay and then creating multiple tier ticket prices to enact this as they could. This was executed by being firm about not giving away free tickets and then they set “symbol” high and low price points of £20.12 and £2,012 for high demand events such as the opening and closing ceremonies.
So how could a ski resort create shared value with its customers via its pricing strategy? I’m not an expert on pricing strategy, but I do know that ski resorts don’t generate only 20% of their revenues from ticket sales (as the London Olympics anticipates). Rather they must generate a higher percent of revenues and they also don’t have as much flexibility in setting the prices. So how can ski resorts create shared value? Certainly energy conservation, using local vendors and slow food where possible are a start. There are also plenty of ways to think about reinventing how ski resorts work, in particular using new technologies like RFID access gates to allow skiers and riders to pay as they go or even put their cell phones (NFC in the new iPhone anyone?) in their pocket as they head out the door to the mountain. In terms of pricing, there could be any number of yield managed situations, perhaps along the lines of how many sports teams (SF Giants were one of the first with their Dynamic Deals) are setting ticket prices by virtue of the opponent they are playing that day.
How do you see ski resort using created shared values working ski resorts? Or do you see created shared value as something that just isn’t the right fit for ski resorts?
Photo credit: Flickr user p_a_h
- It’s absolutely an amazing way to find information that one would never see on their own. Some of this is amazing and some pathetic, but it’s interesting how quickly and how varied we find out about things these days.
- Social networks have connected so many people who would never meet each other without it. This is helpful in small business segments such as resort marketing, I’ve met a ton of great resort marketers via social networks and most of them I haven’t ever met in person.
- For brands, in particular ski resorts, social media presents nearly endless opportunities to really connect with our customers. This is obviously some of the largest impact for brands and I have to say that it feels way longer than 4 years ago that I first dove into Twitter. That winter of 2008-09 was the first winter I saw resorts using social media and it’s pretty much exploded since then because social media is such a natural fit for winter sports enthusiasts who are a passionate and engaged bunch of folks.
- The integration of photos and videos with social media is a no brainer for resort marketing.
- People enjoy using social media to share about their favorite winter sports, even if I often wonder if we should also encourage people to shut off their phones on the mountain so they can fully connect with the mountain, it’s still a thrill to share your experience on the slopes with your friends back home.
- Social media is still way less expensive than buying tv spots, and is way more targeted.
- Social media is amazingly dynamic and always evolving. To be able to keep up with the next best thing and changes in the landscape requires dedication to figuring out existing channels and recognizing each of their strong points so that it’s easier to see what will fit best with your resort/brand when a new property starts to shoot up the ranks in social media land.
- The risk in social is tangible, but if a brand makes a mistake, acknowledges it and moves forward, it is also a very accepting and quickly forgetful space as well.
So, while it may not be the ideal world at times, it’s still not a bad place to be as a resort marketer. Stay on top of things in the social space and reap the benefits!Photo credit: Flickr user FindYourSearch