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 I  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!!! 😀

Photo Credit: Me, posted to the PCMR Flickr account