Archive for September, 2013

Printing press

Should Ski Resorts be Publishers?

I found a recent article in AdAge by Ben Elowitz titled, “Brands Should Stop Trying to be Publishers” an interesting concept that could readily apply to most ski resorts. Many ski resorts barely have enough staff to get through their daily work of creating ads/collateral, put on events, host media and create a few videos and post photos of fresh powder and other exciting events. To try to create a consistent stream of blog posts and extra content on some semblance of an editorial calendar will and probably does break the back of a department (or individual) that is already stretched thin.

Printing press

There are examples around of ski resorts creating successful content publishing sections, but these blogs, photo and video series do take a lot of commitment, cash and resources to support them and only the larger and more well-financed resorts can even think about going do this path.

What’s the solution? According to Elowitz it’s to look to curate the content that’s already being created about your brand (resort). Perhaps this is a good idea for the one person marketing teams around, but I would argue that it’s more about blending content created by your resort along with the content that your customers are creating as well…not a new concept (UGM), but one that will certainly allow a resort to “use a chorus to back up your own voice” and assure that everyone is reading from the same page. Save your money, buy a smaller “press” and spend a bit of that time that you otherwise spend on content creation instead on content curation.

Photo courtesy Flickr user oldandsolo

The Countdown

Countdown clockAs I type this the clock is ticking down the weeks, days and minutes until the lifts start to spin for the 2013-14 winter season. For ski resorts, like many seasonal businesses, the five months of the winter season make up the majority of their revenues for the entire season so it’s crucial to do the best job possible getting as many people as possible onto the slopes.

For most resorts, ski season begins sometime between mid and late November and runs through mid-April. This doesn’t sound too crazy until you step back and note that the busiest, and most lucrative, time of the winter comes within a month of the season starting – the Christmas/New Years week. This doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, but many resorts will gradually open terrain, lifts and revenue centers like restaurants and shops in the weeks between their opening and the busy holiday week (due to conditions and business levels). This means that they are just getting into full operating mode just as they enter their peak time frame.

So once the opening day countdown reaches zero, in many ways it’s just then starting the countdown to the holiday time, and while a resort can afford to push back its opening day due to conditions, it certainly can’t afford to push back on its holiday business.

Photo credit: Flickr user amagill

 

Impossible CAPTCHA

Tired of CAPTCHA? I Thought So, Me Too.

Unable to load the Are You a Human PlayThru™. Please contact the site owner to report the problem.

Because I’ve seen the carnage that can result by not CAPTCHA (if you have no idea what this actually mean – well here you go) protecting forms on websites. Here’s a classic I just pulled up:

Impossible CAPTCHA

 

Do you know what these words are? I sure don’t.

In fact, even though I’ve had what I consider good protection on this site, using a variety of tools like Askimet and CloudFlare, I still have 49,793 spam comments that Askimet alone has “protected” this site from. Boy, that’s a ton of spam as well as some wasted time on my part to clean all of that crap out. This makes it tempting to use CAPTCHA to protect my comment form, but I do hate putting up any barriers to people who do want to leave a comment on my blog without having to login via social login.

What are our options aside from CAPTCHA? Not a lot, there are some simple forms with math problems and such, but I like this “Are You a Human” option which, aside from the fact that it’s supported by advertising in the free version, is actually quite clever in that it asks the user to play a quick game to show that they’re not a bot. Think that sounds interesting? Try playing with it below:

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