Off-season marketing strategies are crucial for ski resorts to maintain profitability during the non-winter months. While winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are the main attractions at mountain resorts, there are plenty of opportunities to attract visitors during the off-season.
One effective strategy is to leverage the natural surroundings of your ski area and offer activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and zip-lining. These activities can appeal to a broader audience beyond just skiers and snowboarders. By showcasing these activities on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, mountain resorts can promote their beauty and attract visitors during the off-season.
Collaborating with local businesses and events can also help ski resorts expand their reach. This strategy allows ski resorts to tap into new markets while providing unique experiences for visitors. Offering discounted rates for lodging, dining, and activities can incentivize visitors to choose a mountain resort for their off-season vacation.
Ski industry publications like Ski Magazine provide an excellent opportunity for ski resorts to promote off-season activities and events. By partnering with these publications, mountain resorts can reach a wider audience interested in winter sports.
Vail Resorts is one example of a company that has successfully implemented off-season marketing strategies. In addition to offering summer activities like hiking and zip-lining, Vail Resorts has expanded its offerings by acquiring golf courses near its mountain resorts.
Red Mountain Resort in British Columbia offers a unique experience by hosting yoga retreats during the summer months. Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff has capitalized on its beautiful scenery by offering scenic gondola rides during the summer season.
Importance of Off-Season Ski Resort Marketing
Attracting Visitors During Non-Skiing Seasons
Ski resorts are often associated with winter sports, but they can be so much more than that. Off-season marketing for ski resorts helps to showcase the other activities and attractions that they offer during non-skiing seasons. By promoting hiking trails, mountain biking, fishing, festivals, and other events, ski resorts can attract visitors who may not have considered them as a destination before.
For example, Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia offers a variety of summer activities such as zip-lining, bungee jumping, and mountain biking. They also host several music festivals throughout the summer months. By marketing these activities and events effectively, Whistler Blackcomb has been able to maintain a steady flow of revenue throughout the year.
Building Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Off-season marketing is not just about attracting visitors during non-skiing seasons; it's also about building brand awareness and loyalty among potential customers. By showcasing their unique offerings during off-seasons, ski resorts can differentiate themselves from competitors and establish themselves as a year-round destination.
For example, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming offers guided wildlife tours during the fall season when the leaves are changing colors. By offering this unique experience to visitors who may not have known about it otherwise, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is able to build brand awareness and loyalty among potential customers.
Enticing Visitors to Come Back During Peak Season
Offering off-season deals and packages is another effective way for ski resorts to entice visitors to come back during peak season. By providing discounts on lodging or lift tickets during non-skiing seasons or bundling together activities at a discounted rate, ski resorts can encourage visitors to plan their next trip back when there is snow on the ground.
For example, Keystone Resort in Colorado offers "Play for Free" packages during the fall season where guests receive free golf rounds or scenic lift tickets with their lodging reservation. By offering these incentives, Keystone Resort is able to entice visitors to come back during peak season and experience their skiing and snowboarding offerings.
Establishing Ski Resorts as Year-Round Destinations
Summer Activities and Events to Attract Visitors During the Off-Season
Summer is a great time for ski resorts to attract visitors who may not have considered them for a winter holiday. By offering a variety of summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking, golfing, and zip-lining, ski resorts can target a different audience during the summer months and increase their revenue. In this section, we will discuss some examples of ski resorts that have successfully implemented summer activities to attract travelers and increase lodging occupancy rates.
Holiday Valley in New York is one such example. The resort offers various summer activities such as Sky High Adventure Park, which includes an aerial park with 13 courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels. The park also features a climbing forest with over 40 obstacles and challenges, including bridges, ladders, zip lines, and more. Holiday Valley also has an 18-hole golf course that is open from May through October. The resort hosts various events throughout the summer season like outdoor concerts and festivals.
Another successful example of off-season marketing is Meadows in Oregon. The resort offers scenic chairlift rides that take guests up to Mt Hood's Timberline Lodge at an altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level. The ride provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests while giving guests access to hiking trails at higher elevations. Meadows also has disc golf courses that are open throughout the summer season.
Caberfae Peaks in Michigan has reported a 20% increase in summer business over the past year by offering activities such as disc golf, scenic chairlift rides, and hosting events like weddings and music festivals. Caberfae Peaks has two championship disc golf courses that are open throughout the summer season. These courses offer challenging terrain with varying elevations making it fun for both beginners and experienced players alike.
In addition to these examples mentioned above; there are many other ways ski resorts can attract visitors during off-season. For instance, resorts can offer mountain biking trails, horseback riding, kayaking, and fishing trips. Resorts can also host events like weddings, corporate retreats, and music festivals. These events not only attract visitors but also provide an opportunity for the resort to showcase its amenities and services.
Special Events and Festivals: Organizing, Promoting, and Their Benefits
Attracting Tourists with Special Events and Festivals
Special events and festivals can be a great way to attract tourists to ski resorts during the off-season. With the right marketing strategy, ski resorts can build brand awareness and loyalty while showcasing their unique offerings and amenities. Hosting events can also generate revenue for ski resorts through ticket sales, sponsorships, and partnerships.
Building Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Organizing special events and festivals is an excellent way for ski resorts to build brand awareness. By hosting unique events that cater to specific interests or niches, ski resorts can showcase their personality and stand out from competitors. For example, a resort could host a music festival featuring local artists or a food festival highlighting regional cuisine.
Events are also an opportunity for ski resorts to build customer loyalty by providing memorable experiences that keep visitors coming back year after year. A well-organized event that meets or exceeds guests' expectations will leave them with positive memories of the resort.
Showcasing Unique Offerings
Ski resorts have many unique offerings beyond skiing that they can showcase during special events. These might include spas, restaurants, shopping centers, art galleries, or other attractions in the surrounding area.
For example, a resort could host an art exhibit featuring local artists or collaborate with nearby wineries to offer wine tastings on-site. By showcasing these offerings during special events, ski resorts can attract new customers who may not have considered visiting otherwise.
Hosting special events and festivals can be an effective way for ski resorts to generate revenue during the off-season. Ticket sales are one source of income; however, there are other ways to monetize an event as well.
Sponsorships are another potential source of revenue for special events. Ski resorts can partner with local businesses or brands looking for exposure in front of a targeted audience.
Partnerships with vendors selling products at the event is another way to generate revenue while enhancing the guest experience. For example, a resort could partner with a local brewery to offer beer tastings during a music festival.
Season Pass Promotions: Early Purchase Discounts and Incentives
Promo Codes and Sales: Early Purchase Discounts for Season Passes
Ski resorts often offer early purchase discounts and incentives to encourage prospective customers to commit to purchasing a season pass before the start of the season. These promotions can greatly influence purchasing decisions, as they provide an opportunity for customers to save money on their passes while also receiving additional perks or benefits.
One common promotion used by ski resorts is the use of promo codes and sales. By offering a discount of a certain percent off the regular price, ski resorts can entice customers to purchase their passes early. This not only provides customers with a financial incentive but also helps ski resorts generate revenue during the off-season.
For example, Steamboat and Jay Peak are two ski resorts that offer early purchase discounts for their season passes. Steamboat offers up to 20% off their regular prices when purchased before specific dates in September or October. Jay Peak offers similar discounts, with up to $200 off their regular prices when purchased before specific dates in April or May.
Additional Perks and Benefits: Incentives for Early Season Pass Purchases
In addition to offering discounts on season passes, some ski resorts also provide additional perks or benefits for those who purchase their passes early. These incentives can include discounted lift tickets, priority booking during peak times, or even free bonus days at select resorts.
The Indy Pass is an excellent example of a multi-resort pass that offers early purchase incentives. The Indy Pass provides access to over 50 independent ski areas across North America and offers a free bonus day at select resorts when purchased before specific dates in November. This not only encourages customers to buy their pass early but also provides them with added value by allowing them more time on the slopes.
Making the Booking Process Easier: Encouraging Customers to Purchase Early
Another way that ski resorts can encourage customers to purchase season passes early is by making the booking process easier. By providing clear instructions and easy-to-use online booking systems, ski resorts can make it simple for customers to purchase their passes and take advantage of early purchase discounts and incentives.
For example, Jay Peak provides a step-by-step guide on their website for purchasing season passes. This includes information on pricing, deadlines, and how to use promo codes when making a purchase. By providing this information upfront, Jay Peak makes it easier for customers to understand the benefits of purchasing their pass early and how to take advantage of these promotions.
Social Media Engagement: Staying Active, Types of Content, and Encouraging Interaction
Staying Active on Social Media
Ski resorts are not just for winter anymore. With the rise of off-season activities, ski resorts can now benefit from social media marketing all year round. One platform that has become increasingly popular among ski resorts is Instagram. To stay active on social media, ski resorts must post high-quality content regularly and encourage engagement from their followers.
Types of Content to Post
Ski resorts should focus on showcasing their off-season activities and attractions. This can include hiking trails, mountain biking routes, scenic drives, and local events. High-quality photos and videos are essential for capturing the attention of followers and encouraging engagement.
In addition to showcasing off-season activities, ski resorts can also use Instagram to promote their lodging options, dining experiences, and other amenities. By highlighting these features in a visually appealing way, ski resorts can attract potential guests and encourage repeat visits.
Encouraging Interaction with Followers
To maintain a strong social media presence during the off-season, ski resorts must encourage interaction with their followers. Contests and giveaways are a great way to incentivize engagement and increase brand awareness. For example, a ski resort could run a photo contest where followers submit their best hiking or biking photos for a chance to win a free night's stay at the resort.
User-generated content is another effective way to encourage interaction with followers. By reposting photos or videos that feature your resort (with permission), you can show appreciation for your guests while also promoting your brand.
Email Marketing: Importance, Content Ideas, and Tips for Successful Campaigns
The Importance of Email Marketing for Ski Resorts
Email marketing is an essential tool for ski resorts to stay connected with their customers. It is a cost-effective way to reach out to potential customers during the off-season and keep them engaged throughout the year. Personalized emails with relevant content can increase open rates and engagement, leading to more bookings and revenue.
One of the main advantages of email marketing is its ability to target specific groups of customers. Ski resorts can segment their email lists based on factors such as location, interests, and past behavior. This allows them to send personalized messages that are more likely to resonate with each recipient.
Another benefit of email marketing is its measurability. Resorts can track metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to see how well their campaigns are performing. This data can then be used to optimize future campaigns for even better results.
Content Ideas for Successful Email Campaigns
To create successful email campaigns, ski resorts need to provide value to their subscribers by offering relevant and engaging content. Here are some ideas for content that ski resorts can include in their email campaigns:
Off-Season Activities: Promote off-season activities such as hiking or mountain biking that visitors can enjoy when there's no snow on the ground.
Exclusive Deals: Offer exclusive deals or discounts through email messages that incentivize customers to book their next ski trip early.
Newsletters: Regularly sending email newsletters can help keep your brand top of mind for potential customers.
Snow Reports: Provide regular updates on snow conditions throughout the winter season so skiers know when it's time to hit the slopes.
Events: Highlight upcoming events at the resort, such as concerts or festivals, that visitors won't want to miss.
Tips for Successful Email Campaigns
Creating successful email campaigns requires careful planning and execution. Here are some tips for ski resorts looking to improve their email marketing:
Partnerships with Local Businesses: Collaboration and Benefits
Collaborating with local businesses can be a game-changer for ski resorts looking to attract more customers during the off-season. Here are some of the benefits of forming partnerships with local businesses:
Added Value for Customers
Partnering with local restaurants, hotels, and other attractions can provide added value to customers. For example, a ski resort could offer a package deal that includes lift tickets and a discounted stay at a nearby hotel. This not only incentivizes visitors to stay longer but also creates a more comprehensive experience for them.
Increased Exposure Through Cross-Promotion
Cross-promotion through social media and email marketing is another benefit of partnering with local businesses. By promoting each other's offerings, both the ski resort and its partners can increase their exposure to potential customers. This type of collaboration can also lead to word-of-mouth referrals and positive reviews from satisfied customers.
Supporting Each Other's Growth and Success
By working together, ski resorts and local businesses can support each other's growth and success in the community. For example, if a restaurant partner experiences an increase in business due to the partnership, they may be more likely to recommend the ski resort to their own customers.
Case Study: Vail Resorts Partners with Local Businesses
Vail Resorts is one example of a ski resort that has successfully formed partnerships with local businesses. In Breckenridge, Colorado, Vail Resorts partnered with several restaurants in the area to offer discounts on meals for season pass holders. This not only provided added value for pass holders but also increased foot traffic for the restaurants during slower periods.
Analysis Data: The Impact of Local Business Partnerships on Ski Resorts
According to research by Destination Think!, partnering with local businesses is one of the top strategies used by successful ski resorts worldwide. The report found that 84% of successful resorts have formed partnerships with local accommodations or attractions.
Social Proof: Positive Reviews from Satisfied Customers
Positive reviews from satisfied customers are another form of social proof that can result from local business partnerships. For example, a ski resort might partner with a local spa to offer discounted massages for visitors. If customers enjoy the experience, they may leave positive reviews on social media or travel review websites.
Content Marketing: Creating Valuable Content for Website and Social Media
Creating Valuable Content for Website and Social Media
Marketing your ski resort during the off-season can be challenging, but content marketing is an effective way to keep your resort top of mind. Your marketing team can create valuable content for your website and social media channels to engage with potential customers. By partnering with magazines or other media outlets, you can reach a wider audience and establish your ski resort as an authority in the industry.
Blog Posts: The Power of Storytelling
One of the most popular forms of content marketing is blogging. Blogging allows you to showcase the unique features of your ski resort while also providing value to your audience. By sharing stories about your resort, you can create an emotional connection with potential customers. For example, you could write a blog post about how one of your employees went above and beyond to help a customer or share photos from a recent event at the resort.
When creating blog posts, it's important to focus on quality over quantity. Instead of churning out short posts every day, aim to publish longer, more in-depth posts once a week or every other week. This will give you time to research and write high-quality content that provides real value to your readers.
Videos: Showcasing Your Resort
Another effective form of content marketing is video. Videos allow you to showcase the unique features of your ski resort in a visually engaging way. You could create videos that show off different runs at the resort or highlight amenities like hot tubs and saunas.
When creating videos, it's important to keep them short and sweet. Most people have short attention spans so aim for videos that are no longer than two minutes. You should also include captions or subtitles since many people watch videos without sound.
Infographics: Visualizing Data
Infographics are another great way to provide value to your audience while showcasing the unique features of your ski resort. Infographics allow you to visualize data in a way that's easy to understand and engaging. For example, you could create an infographic that shows the average snowfall at your resort over the past five years.
When creating infographics, it's important to keep them simple and easy to read. Use bold colors and clear fonts to make sure the information is easy to digest. You should also include your logo or branding on the infographic so people know where it came from.
Partnering with Magazines: Reaching a Wider Audience
Partnering with magazines or other media outlets is a great way to reach a wider audience and establish your ski resort as an authority in the industry. You could write guest blog posts for ski magazines or offer exclusive discounts for readers of certain publications.
When partnering with magazines, it's important to choose outlets that align with your brand values and target audience. You should also make sure you have a clear call-to-action in any content you create for these outlets so readers know what they should do next (such as book a trip).
Resort Maintenance and Improvements: Upgrades, Sharing Updates, and Planning Projects
Keeping a resort in top condition is essential to attract guests and maintain their satisfaction. During the off-season, resorts have the opportunity to perform maintenance and upgrades that can enhance the guest experience. Proper planning and execution of these projects can minimize disruption during peak season.
Sharing Updates on Social Media
One way for resort owners to keep guests informed about upcoming improvements is through social media. Posting updates on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can generate excitement among potential visitors. It also shows that the resort is committed to providing a high-quality experience for its guests. By sharing photos or videos of ongoing projects, resorts can give followers an inside look at what's happening behind the scenes.
Northstar Resort Case Study
Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe, California is an excellent example of a resort that uses the off-season to make significant improvements. In 2019, they added two new lifts and expanded their terrain by 238 acres. These upgrades were part of a $60 million investment in the resort's infrastructure over several years. Northstar's management recognized that investing in their facilities would help them stay competitive in a crowded market.
Planning Projects During Off-Season
Planning projects during the off-season allows resorts to minimize disruption during peak season. For example, if a hotel needs new carpeting installed, it's much easier to do so when there are fewer guests around. Similarly, if a ski lift needs repairs or maintenance work done on it, it makes sense to schedule this work when there are fewer people skiing.
Improving Guest Experience with Upgrades
Upgrades made during the off-season can significantly improve the guest experience and attract more visitors in the future. For example, installing new snowmaking equipment can ensure better snow conditions throughout the ski season. Adding new amenities like hot tubs or fitness centers can also enhance guests' overall experience at a resort.
Staying Competitive in a Crowded Market
In today's crowded market, it's essential for resorts to stay competitive. Careful planning and execution of off-season maintenance and improvements can help them do just that. By investing in their facilities, resorts can attract more guests and generate positive reviews. This, in turn, can lead to increased revenue and repeat business.
Training and Education
Leadership Training: Empowering Team Members for Effective Management during Off-Season
Effective management is essential in ensuring the success of any business, especially during off-seasons when things can get slow. At ski resorts, team members need to be equipped with leadership skills that will enable them to manage operations effectively and efficiently. Leadership training is an excellent way to empower team members with these skills.
During leadership training, team members learn how to communicate effectively, delegate tasks, and make decisions that benefit the resort. They also learn how to motivate their colleagues and maintain a positive work environment. With these skills, they can lead their teams through challenging times and ensure that the resort runs smoothly even during off-seasons.
Workshops on New Products and Services: Keeping Teams Updated and Informed
Ski resorts are continually introducing new products and services to attract visitors during off-seasons. It is crucial for team members to stay updated on these developments so they can inform customers accurately. Workshops on new products and services are an excellent way to keep teams informed.
In these workshops, team members learn about new products and services in detail. They also learn how to promote them effectively using different communication channels such as social media, print guides, imagery, video content, or website updates. By attending these workshops regularly, they become experts in promoting the resort's offerings.
Communications Training: Improving Customer Support through Phone Calls, Emails & Social Media Channels
Excellent customer support is critical in maintaining customer loyalty at ski resorts during off-seasons. Team members must know how to communicate effectively with customers through phone calls, emails or social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. Communications training helps them improve their communication skills.
During communications training sessions, team members learn how to communicate clearly and professionally with customers through different communication channels. They also learn how to handle difficult situations such as complaints or refunds while maintaining a positive attitude towards customers.
Regular News Alerts & Updates: Keeping People Informed about Latest Developments in the Area
Ski resorts are not only about skiing; they also offer other activities such as hiking, biking, or fishing. It is essential to keep people informed about these activities and other developments in the area during off-seasons. Regular news alerts and updates help achieve this goal.
By sending regular news alerts and updates, ski resorts can inform people about upcoming events, new products or services, or changes in operating hours. These updates can be sent through email newsletters, social media channels, or text messages. By keeping people informed, ski resorts can attract more visitors during off-seasons.
Local Community Involvement
Community Festivals and Events: A Great Way to Showcase Off-Season Ski Resorts
Local community involvement is a crucial aspect of off-season ski resort marketing. By linking with their respective communities, sites like Loveland, Valley, Holimont, and Creek have successfully promoted their ski resorts during the off-season. One effective way for off-season ski resorts to showcase their facilities and activities is by participating in community events such as festivals and charity runs.
Community festivals are great opportunities for off-season ski resorts to attract new participants. These events provide an excellent platform for showcasing the resort's unique features and activities. For example, if a resort has a terrain park or half-pipe, they can use these events to showcase them through demonstrations or competitions. If the resort has dining options or retail stores, they can set up booths at the festival to promote these services.
Participating in charity runs is another way that off-season ski resorts can get involved in their local communities. Many charity runs take place on mountain trails or roads near ski resorts. By sponsoring or hosting these events, off-season ski resorts can promote themselves as destinations for outdoor activities beyond skiing and snowboarding.
Discounted Rates and Special Packages: Encouraging Locals to Visit and Support Off-Season Ski Resorts
Offering discounted rates or special packages to locals is another effective way for off-season ski resorts to encourage visits from community members. This strategy not only helps build relationships with the local community but also attracts new participants who may not have considered visiting the resort otherwise.
For example, Loveland Ski Area offers discounted lift tickets during its "Locals Appreciation Week." During this week-long event, residents of Clear Creek County receive discounted lift tickets as a thank-you for supporting Loveland throughout the year. Similarly, Holimont Ski Resort offers special rates on lift tickets and lodging packages exclusively for Western New York residents.
By offering discounts and special packages to locals, off-season ski resorts can build a loyal customer base and generate positive word-of-mouth advertising. This strategy can also help to offset the lower revenue typically generated during the off-season.
Recap of Off-Season Marketing Strategies and Encouragement to Implement Them
In conclusion, off-season marketing strategies are crucial for ski resorts to attract visitors during the non-skiing months. With the right marketing strategy, ski resorts can increase their revenue and maintain a steady flow of visitors throughout the year.
One effective way to attract visitors during off-season is by organizing summer activities and events. From music festivals to outdoor sports competitions, there are many options that can appeal to different age groups and interests. Promoting these events through social media engagement and email marketing campaigns can help reach a wider audience.
Another strategy is offering early purchase discounts and incentives for season passes. This not only encourages visitors to plan ahead but also helps generate revenue in advance.
Collaborating with local businesses is another great way to promote a ski resort during off-season. By partnering with restaurants, hotels, and other attractions in the area, ski resorts can offer package deals that provide added value for visitors.
Creating valuable content for website and social media is also important for engaging potential customers. By sharing updates on resort maintenance and improvements, as well as training programs offered at the resort, visitors will feel more informed about what they can expect when visiting.
Lastly, print ads may seem outdated but they still have their place in off-season marketing strategies. Placing ads in local newspapers or magazines can help reach an older demographic who may not be as active on social media or email.