As everyone is hopping on the social bandwagon, there are now a few are disembarking (even though I don’t believe him), and although I’m not one, I figured it was time to put together a list of problems that I see with social media:
- I’ve said this for years, starting with the death of Michael Jackson, but for better or worse, Twitter seems to be the new obituary service.
- Using location-based services without good forethought is a “welcome” sign for all sorts of potential problems for those who aren’t reputable.
- Purportedly, something like 40% of divorces in this country now involve Facebook, uh yeah, really.
- Social Media is the place to bitch and moan – I was speaking with an acquaintance recently who mentioned they primarily used their Twitter account to complain. Personally, I’ve made a concerted effort to try to cut down on my online complaints, but, it’s a bit hard when social is the only way to get any response in terms of customer service.
- SPAM – it’s amazing how SPAM and even just badly played marketing efforts are now all over the various social networks. Even brand page walls on Facebook that allow others to comment have to be very alert to other companies’ posting their own marketing on their pages.
- Privacy is not something that many people seem to be too concerned about these days, but in this post in the NY Times Bit Blog, there are some exceedingly valid points raised about privacy online (in general but in particular on social networks) and quotes a Microsoft researcher as saying,
A conversation in the hallway is private by default, public by effort. Online, our interactions become public by default, private by effort.
- White noise is creating so much blah that people will gravitate away from open social networks to closed ones like Path, and perhaps ones just for 2, like Pair.
Nike probably has the marketing budget of every ski resort in the US put together, but if resorts could all pool their resources and create campaigns like what Nike does…watch out, because if you haven’t taken a look at Nike’s recent football (ok, soccer) campaign videos on YouTube, you should, check out the preview video below and for the really good stuff visit their My Time is Now interactive piece – it’s pretty amazing how much interactivity is in it, with player stats, slow-mo, shopping and there’s even an embedded Sonic the Hedgehog “tunnel”, certainly ideas galore in this piece. And oh, the video below just has only 14.3 million views – no stats I could find for the interactive version).
Preliminary numbers from the 2011-12 Winter Season have been released by the National Ski Area Association, and boy do they stink…down 15% to 51 million, or back nearly to 1991-92 levels…wow, that was the season I moved to Park City and was a long time ago!
Other interesting items of note:
- 50% of resorts opened late this past season
- 48% of resorts closed early this past season
- Lowest national average snowfall since the 1991-92 season (interesting coincidence?)
- The biggest YoY drop was 17.6% drop in 1980-81, but there was a 22% increase the next season (reason for hope?)
A recent post in HotelMarketing.com about Starwood committing 75% of its marketing spend to digital media sent me back to reading this great deck about the power of digital marketing. The question I see now is how much digital spend are you putting forth? Are you ahead of the curve, or behind? Are you concerned or excited?! I’m excited and think the opportunities in digital are only getting better…post your thoughts in the comments, thanks!
I had a conversation with a friend recently which reminded be about some advice that a pro photographer gave me years ago as we were considering transitioning to digital. “Reformat your memory cards often.” I don’t know that this is as essential as it might have once been, but I do know that I’ve heard more stories about lost photos and video as we all are using our digital cameras and phones for our only devices and it’s certainly a potential horror show situation if you lose a slew of photography or video for business or personal reasons, so here are a couple of key things to think about:
- Reformat digital media cards often to start with a clean slate – do this after you’ve transferred your media of course!
- Backup, backup, backup. A friend just mentioned that her phone wiped itself and she only lost 2 photos due to having backed up recently.
- On the backup note, I backup using Time Machine, but I also automatically push all of my photos to Flickr and videos to YouTube – using the private setting until reviewed – for safe keeping.
- Don’t transfer images or video when the camera’s battery is low and don’t remove a card until the operation you’re performing is finished.
- If you have any other tips or suggestions – please leave them in the comments below!
The winter of 2011-12 will not go down in the record books (at least not in a good way) as it was one of low snow totals and warm temperatures for most almost all areas in the US. It certainly goes to show that the winter mountain resort business is one which can never be absolutely accurately predicted as it truly seemed like, with the business climate picking up, leisure travel in a rebound and after a solid 2010-11 winter season that this might be a winter to remember. Well, Mother Nature showed that she still plays a major role in the winter mountain resort business cycle and by waiting until well after the December Holiday season to bring snow to most mountain locales, the weather did have an impact on those vital holiday bookings along with business throughout most of the remainder of the season due to in part to a perceived lack of snow and perhaps the want to simply stay home?
What are lessons we can learn from this? Here are a few quick hits:
- It’s impossible to accurately predict exactly what the business levels for a season will be like – sometimes things are close to estimates, but other times…
- Be flexible (have a plan B/C/D, because once things start to change from where you thought they would be, you need to be able to shift your priorities and efforts.
- People will still come and will still have a wonderful time. I spoke with many people on the mountains here in Utah who were having a wonderful time skiing and riding on manmade snow only. Perhaps they didn’t ride the closed runs at other times but they were excited and happy to be on the slopes, in the mountains and didn’t have a care that off-piste runs weren’t open.
- These are the times to shine for a ski resort’s customer service, both on and off the hill, because a blip in customer service can really get magnified in these sorts of situations. I heard a waiter at a local restaurant commenting during a snowstorm recently that he was “over winter” to a table of visiting skiers/riders. What a way to bring them down about the new snow!
I’ve posted impressive avalanche videos in the Resort Marketing Blog before, but no wet snow avalanches yet. Until now, check out these two separate clips about this monster which took out a ski lift in France last week:
A news segment – click the “CC” button to get English subtitles
And even crazier, here’s a video shot from the lift taken during the slide, yikes!
Use this as a reminder that wet snow avalanches, while not as impressively fast as their dryer snow counterparts, can still be very powerful and destructive and deserve respect – be careful, in particular if you’re heading out into the backcountry this Spring!
One of the benefits of living and working in Park City is its close proximity to Salt Lake City and the benefits of a metropolitan area – like professional organizations. A great new(er) organization in Salt Lake City is SLC|SEM, a group dedicated to search marketing – a fairly geeky specialty but one which is increasingly important as travel planning shifts more and more online. I’ve meant to get to one of their monthly meetings but between work and family commitments I’ve been unable until this past Wednesday, which happily was an event which featured a talk by Danny Sullivan, the head of Search Engine Land, and evidently an ardent snowboarder who has discovered that Utah does indeed have the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”
Danny opened with a nice rundown of how search engines have evolved over the years, which he highlighted via the Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors:
This is definitely a useful visual summary of the various ranking factors that go into search engine rankings and one that is continually evolving.
From here the talk moved to current state of search – obviously Google dominates, but social search is evolving (although frustratingly fragmented with Google on its own, Twitter off to another side and Facebook in with Bing) and mobile is another fast-moving area with apps providing a very interesting space for search to evolve further as well. He mentioned using Foursquare as a discovery tool, or shaking the Urban Spoon app as ways that search has moved from the “Search Box”.
He also provided some insights in how people are using search on their desktops vs mobile including this great comparison by time of day from Google Inside Search (scroll the video to the below noted times):
Scroll to 5:16 to see desktop search graph by time of day
Scroll to 6:12 to see mobile search graph by time of day
He also offered up several more examples such as showing the bump in Valentine’s Day restaurant reservation searches on mobile vs desktop in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day – certainly something one might expect, but it was interesting to see hard supporting data.
I also found the way Danny dissected personalized, in particular with geo-location to be interesting in that he noted the flaw in trying to offer local search results to a searcher when they are looking for results that are out of area. If he was looking for “snow report” while he was in California still, would he want any California area resorts’ snow reports? Probably not, but how does a search engine gather enough signal to serve up the correct results – tough issue and one that they’re doing incredibly well at, at least not yet.
There was also an Inside the Actor’s Studio-style questioning in which Danny described his least favorite thing about search, which was “Inbound Marketing”, but only in the way that people throw the phrase around without delving into (or maybe really understanding) the various online marketing strategies which form it.
I’d highly recommend attended an SLC|SEM event in the future, particularly if they continue to put up speakers of the calibre and interest of Danny.
Update 3/5 – here’s the deck from the presentation:
Priorities. It’s something that we all balance continually in our personal and professional lives. And I’m sad to say that this blog has dropped a bit in terms of its importance in both areas recently.
- For one, this truly is a blog that is personal in that I write posts on my time and it is a personal perusal of topics of interest to me.
- I prioritize projects that I’m working on for my day job well above creating new posts for this blog.
- As my daughter has grown and has become more active, I find myself spending more time with her (and my wife) and less at my keyboard during evening and weekend hours.
These items aside, I still see plenty of reasons to keep typing away and with a few months (busy at that) away from the blogosphere, I will be back on a weekly basis with Resort Marketing blog posts.Photo credit: Flickr user cogdogblog
Wow. I’ve been so busy with the start of the ski season that I’ve neglected the Resort Marketing Blog long enough that the Travelers commercial folks were able to edit and post up the ad that they filmed partly in our backyard just 3 weeks ago…very cool (and yes, I will be back blogging on resort marketing topics soon):
(updated on April 19, 2012 due to Travelers making their update ‘private’)
If you’re wondering, the song is What I Want for Christmas by Orba Squara