Archive for November, 2009

Cool Tools – My Tracks

I’m still figuring out all of the cool things that can be done with my new Motorola Droid phone. But, one of my favorites right now is the My Tracks application which not only gives you real time information on your speed, distance, slope and the like, but also allows you to download your track to Google maps and share it with your friends (you can also add your distance/speed/etc information to a Google Docs spreadsheet).

I tried it out today and here’s my “track” for my four runs before football this morning:

[map:http://www.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&source=embed&msa=0&msid=113696103983655932362.0004798d100e2a6f21bb0&ll=40.64197,-111.509307&spn=0.037448,0.066519&z=14]
View Day 3 in a larger map

I’m going to try to track as many days on the hill as I can with this to see what it looks like. What other sorts of cool things could be done with this? One thought would be to map out tours of your resort with specific points of interest noted in the tour. Or, perhaps have a contest to see who can turn in a map with the most distance or vertical covered?Ā  To wrap up, I think this application is a huge step towards creating resort centric applications that will be of real value to an end user and not just a modified snow report – what do you think?

Ski season has arrived in Park City

091122-openingI woke up at 6am yesterday (Saturday) morning without needing an alarm. My head was filled with all of the different things that I wanted to check on to ensure a smooth start to the 09-10 winter season at PCMR. I quickly checked a few items on my laptop, while I started on my first up of coffee and was off to the resort at around 7. With two hours until “First Chair”, I had plenty of time to loop in with a number of people who were doing various tasks involved with our Daily Operations Reporting (our DOR). I then wandered over to the ticket office to help stock trail maps, move signs around and start documenting the folks camped out waiting for first chair.

With just two lifts and as many runs to open, our mountain ops staff was ready to go with time to spare, so the first chair actually was loaded at about 8:50am and the season was off and running. I took a few more photos, waited for the lift line to clear and headed up for my one and only run of the day at around 9. I took a few pix as I headed down Homerun and was in the office putting up photos and helping with a few Flip shot videos until about 11.

So to wrap it up, I got my cruising run in on opening day and now I’m ready and waiting for some powder days now – let it snow!

Photo credit: Me for PCMR

One week to go!

091113-liftThe lifts will start turning for the 2009-2010 winter season at Park City Mountain Resort exactly one week from today at 9:00am! They will keep turning for 141 days, churning to a stop after closing day on April 11, 2010. For the operations departments – snowmaking, lifts, grooming, F&B, etc. this means that they will be front and center for the next, nearly five months (not that they haven’t been busting tail to get things ready for opening either).

For those of us involved in marketing and sales who have been working hard to put together and enact the marketing and sales plan, we can’t sit back and rest on our laurels. We have to keep pushing hard to ensure that everyone gets the word about how the season is unfolding (snow message, snow message, snow message), and just as importantly to work to engage with the skiers and riders that are at, planning to go to or have been to the mountain.

It seems to me that resort marketing and sales departments have traditionally turned to a more receptive mode once the season has started – sure, they have their snow reports and such – but they really have not kept their marketing program moving forward and evolving as the season has been in progress. With the big push into social media this year by resorts, there will be a lot of new things for resort marketing departments to really key on, here are five:

  1. Keep the flow of information in regards to conditions and updates coming on a much more frequent – real time if possible.
  2. Monitor online for real-time mentions of their resort and respond as appropriate – but this must be done in a very timely basis.
  3. Adjust marketing as needed to ensure that marketing messages don’t get stale – this is easily accomplish in online marketing – and also keep revising campaigns and testing.
  4. Check that internal communications keeps up with external, one of the toughest things about social media is ensuring that a companies employees are as up to date as its customers. A ski resort with staff all over a mountain can wind up in a situation with employees who don’t have radios, being not as informed as skier or riders who have smart phones with Twitter, Facebook, text or email updates.
  5. Be flexible – “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” are evolving and moving forward at a speed that nobody can readily predict or even fully keep up with. Who would have predicted Google 12 years ago, Facebook 8 years ago, YouTube 5 years ago or even Twitter just a year or two ago would have the tremendous reach and impact that they do today?!

To wrap up, I hope that NSAA President Michael Berry is correct in his prediction for a good season, and IĀ  think that as usual, if it snows early and often, it will be a lot easier for ski resorts to attain that projection, but we can all hopefully attain a greater degree of success if we keep in mind a few of the things I note above. Think snow!!! šŸ˜€

Photo Credit: Me, posted to the PCMR Flickr account

New Technologies for the Winter

image

It’s amazing how incredible the technologies that we use everyday have become. From the WordPress software that so many use to host our blogs, to the super computing devices that our cell phones now are. I’m writing this post on my new Motorola Droid phone, which I also used to take this photo of my blog (BTW, I just noticrd that there’s a ‘snow’ mode for the camera – I’ll definitely be testing that one out)!

This is all making me all the more excited for the upcoming winter season in that I can’t wait to see how we can use many of these new and yet to be developed. I’m excited about: iPhone, Android, augmented reality, social networking…it’s here, or will be soon.

What are you excited about for this coming winter? Feel free to say skiing and riding! šŸ˜‰

Predictions for the 2009-2010 Winter Season?

Hmm, what sort of season will it be...?

Hmm, what sort of season will it be...?

Our local chamber of commerce hosted a luncheon last week at which the National Ski Area Association’s President, Michael Berry keynoted. He touched on a number of topics, but the one that interested me most was when he put forth his views on the upcoming ski season. He mentioned how he’d been quoted last season predicting a five percent decline in skier visits, which was almost exactly what happened. He then went on to say that he expected this season to be “quite good”, with skier visits rebounding to last season’s level.

Personally, while I’d love to see it, I’m not certain that his optimism will be fulfilled. I don’t know that the recession is really moving in a positive direction yet and ski vacations are such financial commitment that I think that, particularly for destination resorts, a bounceback from last season, might be a bit unrealistic and that simply matching last seasons’ number might be a more appropriate expectation.

What do you think, is this going to be a bounce-back season, will it match last year’s rather ho-hum numbers or something else? I’m going with my gut, that it will match last year. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Photo credit:

Time is Literally Flying By

Yesterday morning, I had the chance to take a flight over Park City with my friend Steve, who’s also a co-worker with me at the resort. The flight was ostensibly a chance to take some photos and video of snowmaking at the resort, but in reality it was more about getting out and flying around on a beautiful fall morning. To me, the flight was also a bit of a reminder of how fast the time until the resort’s scheduled opening is “flying by”, as yesterday marked three weeks to the day until the scheduled opening – yikes and woohoo!

It was gorgeous, and to prove it, here are some pix from the flight:

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