Gregg Blanchard -- January 5, 2015
Buoyed by my semi-successful prognostication in 2014, I'm back at it this year with three predictions about where I think resort marketing will go in 2015.
There are a handful of really interesting undercurrents in resort marketing right now.
Though they seem disconnected, I believe they can all be answered with the same concept. But before I get to my prediction, let me quickly cover three of those trends.
Many resorts are working hard to both identify and leverage influencers within their community. By definition, these are people whose voice carries weight to the point that a few words from them can lead to a few sales for you.
#2) Rise of the Bloggers
There are a lot of ski bloggers out there and every day more are born. What marketers often find as they try to get coverage with these folks is that they may talk about you only if you give them a freebie first which comes with no guarantee of return.
#3) Changing Distribution
Liftopia has dramatically changed lift-ticket distribution for the better and has changed the way resorts think about things like local ski shop discount products. What's interesting, however, is that those are not mutually exclusive.
The Reward is the Incentive
In effect, we find ourselves with three people or organizations who are already talking about you (and a dozen other resorts). What an affiliate program does is reward these conversations.
- It gives the guy who talks about you on every flight he takes a way to talk about you on every flight he takes AND get something in return for it.
- It gives the blogger who mentioned you in one post last year a reason to mention you in five posts this year.
- It gives the ski shop who posts on Facebook about buying lift tickets for the upcoming storm a reason to focus that enthusiasm on your resort first.
In effect, it rewards people for talking about you and, along the way, incentivizes them to talk about you more in the future.
So, I believe that during the summer of 2015, a resort is going to setup and launch the industry's first major affiliate program.
It may just be lift tickets, but I'd hope to see lodging come along for the ride as well. It won't be something only for partners (that kind of exists now), it will be something that the ski resort actively markets to their customers as a way to share skiing with their friends and earn money (or just rewards/kickbacks) for it.
The first, affiliate marketing push by a ski resort is my first prediction. The second is coming on Wednesday.