StartI’ll finish that title, Labor Day is the unofficial start to…the ski resort marketing season.

In the years I’ve worked in ski resort marketing I’ve often wondered a bit about why we started each winter’s marketing cycle when we did. Much of it has been related to the timing of the ski vertical publications – anyone checked circulation numbers lately? Much has also been related to traditional lead times of vacation rental bookings – anyone seen how short lead times have gotten over the past several years? A lot of timing has also been tied to the idea that Labor Day weekend is the “traditional end of summer” and that if a resort is first to market that they may seem some sort of bump in brand awareness and hopefully business over the coming season. Does any of this still hold true, and when is the ideal time for resorts to start their marketing as well as PR efforts?

Certain things like mountain improvement announcements are usually announced earlier in the summer. This is then followed by special package deals for select time frames around Labor Day Weekend. Season pass sales typically are pushed anywhere from mid-summer up through Labor Day weekend. And you can count on a big blitz of PR and marketing as soon as the first major snow storms pass blanket the mountain tops.

I think that the best time for each resort to start their marketing efforts is different, depending upon who their target audience is and therefore upon when their target audience begins to think about their winter plans. I also think that it’s integral in today’s integrated marketing environment to continually test to see if what you thought was the right time might be wrong and vice versa – see my post on testing for more.

This is also topic that we will discuss on #mrktchat tomorrow, so please stop by on Twitter at 3pm MST and tell us what you think Labor Day weekend is the unofficial start of – or just let us know in the comments on this post.

Photo credit: Flickr user iwouldstay