To App or Not to App, That is Today’s Resort Marketing Question

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October 21, 2013 -- Gregg Blanchard

Oh, apps.

If I were to start a business tomorrow, the last thing I’d put at the core of my model is a mobile app. It’s a tough space. It’s a tough thing to monetize. Among other things, Ski Nation seems to be learning this lesson right now.
Yet, from a marketing perspective, the outlook for apps is much brighter.

My Mobile Pal
Getting your app onto a guests’ device – where they can check conditions, reload passes, track runs, receive push notifications, and much, much more – can be a handy addition to a marketing tool box. But it’s a tough system to master. To sum up about a dozen variations of the same quote:

“Once someone deletes your app from their phone, they’re pretty much gone. It is very rare that someone will redownload and install an app they’ve already deleted. If they don’t love your app from the start, it’s over.”

Lose a Facebook fan, email subscriber, Twitter follower…you have a decent chance of getting them back. But apps? You spend a wad of cash to build it and, if it doesn’t delight them right away, your one chance may be up.

It makes iteration incredibly expensive and failure extra painful.

My Thoughts
You know, not every resort needs an app. The cost, the number of potential users, the features…for many resorts the cost simply doesn’t justify what you get out of it.

However, for many mountains, an app is a small price to pay to tap into a channel that sits closer to a skier than most. Yet, of those mountains, I can’t think of any that honestly need to start from scratch.

And why? Because there are a handful of app platforms that, in a matter of weeks, can get a resort an app that’s already been iterated, already been proven, already been built, and get the final product for much, much less cash.

Platform Central
This week, I’ve given some of the best resort app platforms a chance to tell me, and us, who they are, what’s great about their apps, and more.

I’ve offered this chance to more than a half-dozen of these companies last week and only four responded. From now until Friday, sit back, grab a handful of some extremely healthy snack, and take a look at the various app platforms built specifically for ski resorts.

Enjoy.

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