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Name your ticket sale? Sunday River says yes.

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Let me kick this off with an interesting observation.

Every season I probably see thousands of messages related to lodging offers. I see 5 nights for the price of 4, 30% off, pre-season specials, and last-minute deals. But there’s only one of those thousands of campaigns I can actually remember.

That being Vail Resorts’ 96 hour sale.

A simple name and logo are more than enough to help a campaign (that may not save skiers more money than any other campaign) stand out from the rest.

To Name or Not to Name
I think naming things is a really interesting idea.

On the one hand, part of the challenge I first faced when I joined Inntopia was the fact that names had been created without a process or structure for just about everything – products, features, admin areas, integrations – and the resulting matrix was tough to keep in your head for a minute, let alone recall when it came time to look for a new booking system.

But my initial proposal was clearly too simple and missed using the power of names for critically important things.

So while you could clearly have too many names, too few was also a risk.

Campaign Names?
I could be wrong (I usually am – batting about .300 these days), but I think we’re erring on the side of too few names for our marketing efforts.

For example, resorts are starting to push a lot of winter-related products. There are been dozens of deals in my feeds every day for weeks. But just like the 96 Hour Sale I started with, only one has caught my attention. Only one has gotten me to click.

Once again a simple name and logo are more than enough to break through the clutter that surround virtually all marketing messages.

And once I clicked, a dedicated landing page with three lovely icons (more on that here) to capture a few key aspects of the sale.

If ski resorts named every sale and every offer we’d start to sound like a used car dealership. But we don’t.

So if there’s a key campaign you pin your numbers on each year that you really want your audience to grab hold of? Well, maybe a name for that is just what the doctor ordered.

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  • Years ago at Whitefish Mountain Resort, we decided we needed a lodging promo to attract destination guests in the off weeks between New Year’s and Presidents’ Day.

    Inspired by department stores of old trying to unload last year’s linens, and being fans of a clever double entendre, we gave it a name: the January White Sale. It’s still a thing at Whitefish, and to my understanding, guests still call in out of the blue and ask things like “When is the January White Sale starting this year?”

    I think there’s an important nuance, which is that it’s common in the ski industry to name packages: the Staycation Special, the Bed & Bagel Bundle, etc. But those never stick in people’s heads and don’t come with built-in urgency. It’s naming the time period that is key. #96hoursale, Sunday River Cold Front: These are limited-time events just by their very nature.

    P.S. (To be fair, WMR’s January White Sale isn’t a sale that happens in January, it’s an always-available discount for stays during January. But I actually think the reason it’s so sticky in the minds of guests is that they incorrectly understand it to be the former, not the latter.)

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