One nice thing about benchmarking the industry is the ability to identify trends, and such a trend is certainly revealing itself this season. In early October I predicted that fan count growth would hover around 6% at its peak this Winter. I was wrong. This month fan counts increased a healthy 8.80%. My miscalculation was due to one, simple reason: using ads to acquire fans. Last season, this was virtually non-existant. A few resorts dabbled, but never on a scale that majorly alted their growth. This season has been much different.
Also note that Facebook numbers and regional rankings for all ski resort social media dashboards are now updated.
Starting a few months ago, resorts, especially Vail Resorts, started pouring some significant resources into acquiring fans. In September, Beaver Creek increased their fan count by 61.5%. In October, they jumped again by 51.5%. Then, in November, Heavenly boosted theirs by 83.1%. This month, Heavenly kept up their pace by also posting growth of 66.48% while Northstar took a turn as they grew their fan count by 73.78%. Sun Valley also joined in, increasing their count by 50.72%.
The Math Makes Sense
So, I did a little math. If each of those three resorts (Heavenly, Northsta, & Sun Valley) would have grown by the high averages of the resorts near them, you’d end up with about 51,000 fewer fans combined this month (about 25% of total growth). Without those extra fans, growth for industry during the last month would have been 6.64%. Slightly above my prediction, but I’m not counting possible spending from Squaw who nabbed 21.04% growth, over 4x what they saw last month.
If You’re Serious, Buying Fans Might Be an Option
Before I hit the rest of the stats from this month’s Facebook Top 25 update, let me address this idea of “buying” fans. Most resorts, in one way or another, are buying fans. Whether it’s giveaways, contests, or discounts, you are using some form of financial allocation to draw them in. When you use Facebook ads, you just have a more direct, easy-to-measure return on your spending. As Facebook user growth and fan count growth starts to slow significantly, if you want or need more fans, ad spending may be an option.
Now, a word of warning. Before a resort starts spending money on fans, I hope you have proven the Facebook concept and can say yes to each of the following three questions:
Until you can check all those boxes, I’d hesitate to put too much of my budget toward this arena. Okay, off my soap box, moving on.
Facts and Figures
Growth by Region
All the Changes
-2 Killington Ski Resort
-2 Sunday River
-2 Copper Mountain Resort
-2 Mount Snow
-3 Mount Hood Meadows
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