The new challenges of Digital communication for Ski Resorts & Brands
What’s the global situation?
On mid-March 2020, while most of the Resorts & Brands Marketing teams had already planned their campaigns and allocated the budget for the rest of the season, a pandemic taught us the importance of keeping our internal or external talent in marketing/communication active, of staying creative in our digital communication regardless the situation, and the advantages of having a more flexible and adaptive structure.
Our teams had to deal with an uncertain present – and its huge number of requests and information to provide to the users – and future – it’s hard to offer definitive solutions without a clear short-term vision. We had to learn on the job and develop crisis communication skills we didn’t even think we would need one day with the means at hand. We have done our best to redirect our strategies and actions, to not “stop everything”. Some of our Resorts and Brands partners (like Grandvalira, see the example below) did a good job and saw the opportunity to increase the engagement with their visitors through their social channels. At Skitude we also launched a challenge that had a great impact, Skitude at Home, to connect skiers to their passion… even at home, allowing them to have fun in family and be creative.
Below, an example a campaign by Grandvalira “Now saving lives in a hospital – Now refueling food in a supermarket – Now dispensing drugs in a pharmacy – Now at home as all of us”
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Per a aquells que treballeu a primera línia, per tots els que us exposeu pel bé comú, pels que us quedeu a casa per evitar el contagi del Covid-19. Lluitadors incansables, responsables, compromesos, solidaris. Orgullosos de tots vosaltres. #Grandsherois! ____ Para aquellos que trabajáis en primera línea, para todos los que os exponéis por el bien común, por los que os quedáis en casa para evitar el contagio del Covid-19. Luchadores incansables, responsables, comprometidos, solidarios. Orgullosos de todos vosotros. #Grandsherois! ____ For those who work in the front line, for all those who expose themselves for the common good, for those who stay at home to avoid the contagion of Covid-19. Tireless fighters, responsible, committed, in solidarity. Proud of all of you. #Grandsherois! _ Pour ceux qui travaillent en première ligne, pour tous ceux qui s’exposent pour le bien commun, pour ceux qui restent à la maison pour éviter la contagion du Covid-19. Des combattants infatigables, responsables, engagés, solidaires. Fier de vous tous. #Grandsherois ! ___ #Grandvalira #quedatacasa #quedateencasa #Coronavirus #fighters #Andorra #Europe
Or the example of a campaign by Skitude, to entertain our users while confined at home by launching a challenge through our apps, the Challenge Skitude at Home.
Now that we are planning the 2020-2021 season, let’s try to define some of the next challenges that Resorts & Brands have to be prepared for and, at the same time, how can Digital and Mobile communication help.
New season, new challenges!
Let’s take an overview of some good practices that you may want to take into account in winter 2020-2021 strategy:
More investment in building trust (branding is the new selling?)
One of our biggest challenges this season consists in providing our customers and future customers full information about the security measures and help them better understand the new functioning of Ski Resorts. As frontline actors we are responsible for explaining all the details and empowering them, generating a relationship with our customers based in trust. We’re yet observing in the Digital platforms (through the resorts/brand’s website or social media, or third communities as medias and partners) the presence of more branding campaigns to provide information, using different formats: infographics (have a look at Skitude summary of the season 2019/2020 infographics here), banners, videos, etc.
Review all your persona buyers*:
Or create new ones! This pandemic has changed the way the visitors think, consume, behave, and obviously how they will ski or ride the upcoming season. Emphasize is key: our existing persona buyers have not the same priorities, concerns or behavior than before Covid-19 crisis and we will need to know their new expectations to better meet them. Unfortunately, we have no data about it. The good news is you can increase your customer knowledge and data through launching, for example, a survey to a qualified skiers’ database to investigate on how they imagine their ski trips in the upcoming season and acknowledge what will be their purchase decision factors. Then, analyze it and adapt your 2020-2021 communication.
*A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. (Source: Hubspot)
Start communicating the sooner the better
Summer holidays will not be the one people planned or had expected to live. Be at the start line ready to go at the beginning of September, prepared to offer them the best ski / winter experience. Your audience will be waiting for more ideas to go outdoor and enjoy with their families and friends during the winter. Choose the best format to push your content and be the first to inspire them:
- Direct communication:
- Emailing to your database or to a third-party skier community,
- Mobile push notifications,
- Social channels…
- Social Ads etc.
Target local, national skiers and closer foreign skiers
If the search trends for the summer holidays destinations in France shows an increasing interest for “Lubéron”, for other national destinations and also close ones like Spain (source: Google Trends France), we can easily imagine “near me” destinations will be preferred to plan the winter and ski trips. It is important to reinforce our brand recognition to local visitors but also to expand our target area, as we may discover new flows of mobility for skiers between regions or two countries side by side.
Less budget? Optimize it!
If you suffer budget cuts on marketing and communication for the season 2020-2021, optimize the investment to obtain better results at the same cost. Instead of investing in Google Ads (Display – Search) or Facebook Ads campaigns where the audience is segmented by an algorithm through interests shown, opt for segmented medias or communities where you’re sure to find your audience of real and active skiers.
Another way to optimize your budget is investing less money in the channels with a low ROI (return on investment) and building a qualified lead strategy that will allow you to obtain qualified emails and data from skiers to use in your CRM (customer relationship management system) or email marketing strategy.
Discover Skitude Media
Promote your brand through Skitude Media to the entire Skitude Community, the largest global ski community with 1.8M skiers. Skitude Media helps you reach your business and marketing goals thanks to a highly segmented, qualified and mobile/digital media. Increase your web traffic, obtain qualified customers leads, attract and retain your customers thanks to Skitude connected solutions and different ad formats (In-App Display, Sponsored Challenges, Exclusive Newsletters, Resort or Brand Applications).