Ski Resorts & Online Marketing: How They’ll Get Your Attention This Winter

Winter is upon us and that means snow sport lovers across North America are flocking to their favorite slopes and ski resorts. The market for Ski & Snowboard Resorts has an annual revenue of $3 billion and experienced a 1.4% annual growth rate from 2007-2012.

There are over 600 North American ski resorts vying for guests each year. Resorts flaunt differentiators and competitive pricing to attract visitors, but when that isn’t enough, marketing campaigns can give these destinations a much-needed leg up on the competition.

Online video and social media are two popular marketing channels ski resorts use to generate awareness and ultimately business. Whistler Blackcomb and The Canyons in Park City, Utah, have utilized these advertising avenues to increase resort traffic and visibility.

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Whistler Blackcomb, located in BC Canada, offers visitors access to two side-by-side mountains which include over 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls and three glaciers. Along with a Twitter following of 53,500, Whistler Blackcomb boasts an impressive YouTube channel with over 200 videos.

Several of its videos have earned upwards of 50,000 YouTube views. The resort’s most popular video, with 357,000 views, makes Whistler Blackcomb look like a miniature town filled with moving toys—definitely a creative and well-executed concept.

This winter, the resort launched season two of “The Wonder Reels,” a series based off of Whistler Blackcomb’s marketing campaign slogan, “Wonder. Is it a Place? Or a state of mind?” These teaser videos have been leading up to slopes’ grand opening this coming weekend.

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This video has racked up over 55,000 views and 7,000 social shares. The resort has promoted the videos on its homepage, maximizing the potential for viewership.

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Whistler Blackcomb has also done an amazing job at interacting with YouTube users in the comment section, building up anticipation for the resort’s opening. The company is creating quality content and engaging with users on a personal level, successfully integrating two key elements in any video marketing campaign.

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The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, has developed a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and blogs. This resort has been using social media for three years to draw in visitors. Though the road to social media wasn’t easy, it was well worth it says Hannah Bowling The Canyons Communications Coordinator.

“A lot of the people here higher up don’t necessary understand social media,” said Bowling.  “But when I did a big contest giveaway on Facebook and they saw how our number of fans grew so quickly, we started thinking of future social media strategies that include more contests, making sure our blog is updated with information our customers want to see.”

The blog is employee-run, and though it’s not the prettiest site ever, it captures key moments on the slopes and keeps readers updated on all the new happenings. The resort has almost 30,000 fans on Facebook and is extremely active on the site. On Twitter, Canyons has over 8,000 followers, many of whom share Tweets raving about the resort and its slopes. Flickr is another tool Canyons Resort uses to keep visitors engaged—almost all of the pictures feature individual skiers, snowboarders, zip liners, and other guests.

With social media, the Canyons Resort is reaching a wider customer base that is often inaccessible with traditional media. By interacting with fans and helping them tell their stories online, the resort is catalyzing effective word-of-mouth advertising and as a result, generating significant revenue during the on and off season.

At this point in time, it’s imperative that ski resorts have a presence online whether it be on video hosting sites or social media networks. More and more people are seeking out information online—if your company can start meaningful conversations with these customers through the aforementioned platforms, you are more likely to develop authentic relationships and consumer loyalty which will help drive sales this winter season.

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