The 21st Century Ski Resort
The term 'ski resort' probably evokes images of log cabins, wood-burning fires and rustic décor – perhaps the antithesis of Twitter, iPhones and Wi-Fi – but today, these once-Arcadian enclaves are transforming into the social media hubs. From the rolling hills of Stratton, Vermont to the steep inclines of Vail, Colorado, ski resorts across the country are harnessing the power of social media.
So, just what does a mountain stand to gain from a Tweet or a mobile app? The dream of any business: a larger, more loyal, more satisfied consumer base.
Here’s a look at some of the most successful ski resort social media strategies.
Vail Resorts EpicMix
EpicMix syncs with Facebook and Twitter and functions as a revolutionary way for skiers and snowboarders to capture and share their ski experience through photos, check-ins and more – all without the hassle of lugging around a smartphone.
Here's how it works: Professional photographers, scattered across the mountain, document scenic photos of skiers and boarders. These images then automatically go to the visitors' online account accessible via desktop and mobile.
Twitter to the Rescue
While Stratton declined to provide the name of the Tweeter-in-distress, Stratton Communications Coordinator Nazli Kfoury says, "I ended up in a charming dialogue with her. She had nothing to say but kind, funny and encouraging things about Stratton’s ski patrolmen and social media platform.”
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
Mammoth uses social media to provide skiers with weather and ski condition updates.
When guests are away from Mammoth they want taste of what’s happening on the mountain.
Mammoth Social Media Director Steve Krcmar says, “When there’s fresh snow, our guests who aren’t here are hungry for images and we utilize social media to satiate that hunger.”
But for some visitors, a photo just doesn’t cut it. Krcmar elaborates, “On social media, some guests even ask for long range weather predictions. They ask about snow conditions months in advance.”
A Word to My Peeps 365
Maine’s acclaimed Sugarloaf Mountain uses social media to stay connected to their clientele year-round.
Sugarloaf Communications Manager Ethan Austin says, “Social media provides a channel for us to communicate directly to our guests 365 days a year.”
In the past, during off-season Sugarloaf had to relay on costly advertisements or direct mail. Social media functions as an affordable, effective platform to maintain constant contact with loyal customers.
Hurry! This Deal Won’t Last!
Jackson Hole uses social media to highlight travel deals (packages, airfare reductions, lodging specials).
The resort also uses social media as a platform to connect directly with the consumer. Jackson Hole Social Media Director Zahan Billimoria says, “A large part of social media is telling our own story, in our own words. It allows us to communicate with the consumer directly, without any media filters.”
Jackson Hole is currently the number one ski resort in terms of total page views on YouTube – a success which Billimoria says is largely accredited to the resort telling their story through videos on social media.
Ultimately, social media is like a photo album or a post-card. It’s a channel to share a story. And while the platform itself is increasingly interactive, enagaging, viral and ever-evolving, the story itself – that of the family vacation – is timeless.
From the rolling hills of Stratton, Vermont to the steep inclines of Vail, Colorado, ski resorts across the country are harnessing the power of social media.