Impossible CAPTCHA

Tired of CAPTCHA? I Thought So, Me Too.


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:




I have a confession to make, there are a bunch of crickets in this blog. It’s definitely my fault, but work, family, friends, vacation and riding my bike in the beautiful mountains around Park City have really made it tough for me to spend much quality writing time on this blog.


Stay tuned, it will come, but in the meantime, please mind the crickets!

Photo credit: Flickr user Kristine Paulus
Travel Infographic

Travel Shifting Across the Screens


I’ve found a lot of great research that’s been published in the past few months (I’ll be posting my favorites in the coming weeks), and one of my favorites is this piece from thinktravel with Google. I am fascinated by the multi-screen usage by day part chart (if you haven’t made serious effort to ensure your web presence accommodates various screens besides desktop, just stop reading now). In addition the major increase in mobile usage by leisure travellers certainly should be of interest to resort marketers as well. One of the big question this presents is just how fast the adoption for booking on mobile will be and also how the 60-70% of mobile (OTA) bookings being same day certainly shows the potential for ski resorts to sell via mobile as well.


Travel InfographicGraphic from: thinktravel with Google



Back in the Game


It’s time to get the ball rolling again with The Resort Marketing Blog.

It was another super busy winter and with my work responsibilities, family responsibilities and side projects something had to take priority and this side project was not anywhere near the top of the list. But, things have mellowed (a bit) and I am definitely looking to pick this back up.

So, here’s a list of topics that I want to touch on in the near future:

  • What is the current state of digital marketing for resorts.
  • What is the future.
  • What has changed.
  • What has stayed the same.
  • What is going on outside the resort industry that we all must be aware of.
  • What winter resorts can do to grow business.
  • New and unique topics that come across my different feeds.

It was nice to get a little “me time” but it’s time to kick this back up – cheers!

130505-backPhoto credit: Flickr user Crystl


Google Trends



I’m a data geek and I always like to look at how data can help predict future trends. Google trends is a fairly basic tool to help sort through the big data of Google’s search history and by using the “predict” toggle you can view their prediction for a search term, or set of terms. I chose “Ski Resorts” and you can see the results:

This search is a bit better if you click-through to the Google Trends site, where you can even check a toggle to “Forecast” searches into the future. There’s also a regional map and related searches to help you drill further into the data. I have posted about Google trends and ski related searches and it’s a tool that everyone should take a look at every once in a while if not only to confirm things you already have good data about.

Google Trends

Click for full-size image

Multiple screens – a challenge for any marketer


I’m writing this post on my laptop while watching a football game on my satellite served TV, with my tablet next to me on the coffee table and my smart phone charging in the kitchen. Once the football game is over I’ll probably grab my tablet to do some reading and when it’s time to head over to a friend’s house for a part, I’ll grab my phone on which I might Instagram a photo of the party, or at least keep in touch if there are any pressing emails.

I’m not at all unique in my constant switching from one media device to another. There is a wonderful report from Google about some of the marketing impacts of this, and the highlights are covered in this great infographic from Google/Ipsos/Sterling:

Click for full-size image

What are the implications for ski resort marketers? To me, there are many, ranging from how skiers and riders plan their trips, to how they use media while they are at the mountain to how they share their experiences once they’re done…and these things all flow from one screen to another to another. I’m not going to line out how I see this happening here, but I think it goes without saying that if your web presence isn’t optimized for all of these screens, you’re in trouble, and if your campaigns aren’t moving across all screens (uh, can we say Flash ads), then you’re probably not set well either…it’s a fast changing world out there and this is certainly a trend that resort marketers must pay close attention to – note the 43% of people planning trips cross over devices.

Are there any ski resorts out there doing a particularly good job of this?

Back at it – Instagram Filters


It’s the only excuse I have for slacking off on my posting to the Resort Marketing blog – it’s been crazy busy! With a slew of deadlines at work, a 5 1/2 year-old in kindergarten, dance, enrichment and soon to be ski school and getting the house, and me, ready for winter, this blog has unfortunately slipped down in my priority list. But, I’m digging out and am back – at least for a bit!

One of the items that has recently caught my eye is a great guide to what each of those oddly named filters on Instagram really do. My go-to filters seem to usually be Lo-fi (or Hefe – a toned down version of Lo-fi) yep, I do like saturation:

I also agree with the filter article that Hudson is great for outdoor images (yes ski season is fast approaching):

But sometimes (all the time if you ask some people), a filter isn’t really needed at all:

Stay tuned for a run down of the best Instagram filters to use on the slopes in a few short months!

Ski Resort Standards All Wet?

Standards for Ski Resorts


Ski Resort Standards All Wet?There hasn’t been a really geeky post on the Resort Marketing Blog for a while, so here we go. I imagine that most people will not have ever noticed that there is a lack of ski industry standards in terms of lift/run status, resort events, news and in particular snow reporting. For each of these items, each ski resort seems to have its own way to offer this information.

There is a recently formed group called Mtn.Xml which was founded by a few resorts, interactive web companies, and one of the two main snow report aggregation companies that intends to offer “The universal standard for ski reporting data.” This mission statement cuts to the heart of what the real issue is – each resort has its own priorities and own way of checking off those priorities. To attempt to enact standards that are flexible enough for each resort to do this is in reality like trying to herd cats – it simply is not efficient nor effective. That said, I believe this effort can work for many resorts and it will make it easier to develop apps and other web services for those resorts.

But, will it work for others?

No. So,I know that the lift statuses the resort I work for are different from the lift statuses from other resorts, even when we use similar terminology it still isn’t the same, what is “scheduled” or “on hold” for us, might be “expected” and “delayed” for another. These are sometimes marketing related, but often driven by operational needs that are specific to that resort. This fragmentation continues with run status reporting, because some resorts report snowmaking, some report when a run was groomed and some even groom during the day – how can this be made consistently reportable? Finally, with snow reporting, it seems that the needs of resorts vary the most. Some report daily, some only when it snows and some seem to report with every inch that comes down. Snow reporting has definitely become more accurate with the advent of social media and the ability for anyone to Facebook or Tweet an image and report of actual conditions, but resort do have very different requirements and therefore report in different ways. Whether that be time of report, frequency of report, or even reporting from a variety of locations, the possibilities are quite varied.

But, I would love to see simplification of the reports that are now filed with SnowCountry, OnTheSnow (has some nice XML documentation of their own) and potentially with other local organizations (in Utah we manually report to SkiUtah each morning). This duplication of labors could certainly be made easier and more accurate through MTN.XML, but will enough resorts and syndicators sign on to make it worthwhile – that remains to be seen and in an industry as regionalized and fragmented as the ski resort business is, I don’t know that this can or will happen, and if anything it may need to be an outside force, such as an Apple, Google or Amazon that comes in and redefines how the travel space communicates in general – iTravel anyone?

Photo credit: Flickr user Kalexanderson

Write it Right


I’m well aware that I’m not the best writer (not by a long shot), particularly since the Word Press grammar check always has multiple suggestions anytime I hit the “Publish” button. But, I’m always looking to improve my writing, which to be honest, is one reason I blog. In addition, I follow Grammar Girl on Twitter and am always stoked to find great tools like this infographic:

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Here’s to better grammar through practice, patience and more practice!

Olympic Resolutions

Post-Olympic Resolutions


Olympic ResolutionsIt has been an interesting experience watching the various Summer and Winter Olympics since the 2002 Games were held in Salt Lake City. And these 2012 London Games were no different. They brought back a lot of great memories and they also were something that seem a lot more personal now that I’ve seen and been behind the scenes of a Games. It was great to see the solid execution of the London Games across all the events by the organizers and competitors alike. But now that the Summer Olympics are over and we’re pointing to Winter Games of Sochi 2014, I am taking a moment to make some Olympics inspired resolutions (I know they’re usually fitness related, but I figured why not add a whole variety?):

  • I resolve to post at least once a week to this blog.
  • I resolve to get myself into pre-season ski shape.
  • I resolve to evolve my work habits to be more effective and efficient.
  • I resolve to spend more quality time with my daughter and wife.
  • I resolve to finish the house projects I still have pending before the snow flies.
This is just a few things on my end of summer to-do list, and I know I’ll be adding more as we get closer to the ski season (in fact we just passed under 100 days to go until resort opening here in Park City), what sorts of things do you have on your Post-Olympics resolution list?
Photo credit: Flickr user Nick J Webb
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