The Email That I Believe Needs to Accompany Every Lesson in Skiing

October 8, 2013 -- Gregg Blanchard

When I was a kid, I used to silently worry about weird stuff. Like, somehow, I had mixed up the day of the backpacking trip and I was going to show up at my scout leader’s doorstep a day early loaded to the gills with gear. Or that I had mixed up the time of a birthday party and I’d be three hours early.

Of course, these fears would always hit en route after it was too late to double check dates or times.

So, when I went skiing for the first time, it’s probably no surprise that I had a few concerns. Would I look like a nincompoop? Would I make a fool of myself the first time on the lift? The list goes on.

Park City Genius
A few years ago, Park City won an NSAA marketing award for something that would have been nothing short of pure gold had I received it before my first day on snow. When a newbie signed up for a lesson, they’d get an email a few days before they came that showed them:
  • How to dress to stay warm and dry
  • Exactly where to park and where not to park
  • Where the ski school was and how to get there.
For the non-skier, their first trip to the hill might as well be an Apollo mission to the moon. Some may take the newness of it all in stride, but others, like my 12-year-old self, may get lost in something so unfamiliar. An email like this sets up new skiers for success.

But why stop at newbies. If someone purchases a date-specific lift ticket ticket through a channel where you get their email address, why not assume they aren’t super familiar with your mountain and send them a quick email a few days out with tips.

Not Just Lessons
There’s another time in my life that such an email would have been awesome. A couple years ago, my wife and I were staying a resort property that we hadn’t been to before.

The hotel we stayed at had a very simple, after-hours check-in procedure. The problem was, we didn’t know what it was.

So instead of a 30-second process, a quick question of “not sure where we’re headed” at the gate turned into a runaround when the attendant sent us to the wrong place. One, short email with instructions could have saved us 30 minutes of confusion. The same could be true for every guest that comes to your resort for the first time.

That’s the word I’ll leave with you. The awesome thing about skiing is that many transactions happen months before the actual product is consumed.

Email gives you a chance to reach guests with a personal message full of tips, knowledge, advice, and even upsells BEFORE they arrive and, along the way, increase the chances they’ll have an awesome experience.

Sending emails right before someone arrives is the first idea.

» Check out for a complete list of Gregg's posts market analysis


How About...thanks

Good thought Gregg. I'd like to take this a little bit further & ask why we don't send 'em a note thanking them for coming, thanking them for their effort and asking, yes 'asking', them to come again. Maybe even ask them how it all went....

RE: Can it work for everyone?

John, great question. I'm not sure the reason for your perspective, but small hills can absolutely benefit. Park City's program actually isn't for destination guests, it's for the locals that learn how to ski. The reason it works well is because lessons are sold in advance where contact info is collected. If a resort doesn't have a lot of (or a system for) advanced purchases where they get an email to reach out with, the same principle can be applied the way some smaller midwest areas do. They may not catch them before they get to the resort, but after they buy a ticket and before they hit the snow they're shown a video and given some pointers for their first day on the mountain.

Can it work for everyone?

This is a great idea for destination resorts, but I can't see how it would work for the day areas that produce the most first time guests.

Well said

Well said Gregg - it's all about the guest experience. Resorts get a share of the first time visitor, but the ones converted determine the success of the resort.