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A Complete, Affordable Solution to Mobile Ski Resort Apps/Sites?

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I was recently introduced to Julien Bassan, the head of an intelligent new company that is doing some great things in the resort marketing world. Specifically, in the mobile realm. For those of you looking to put together a mobile app or a mobile ready website, PowderNation may be the solution you are looking for. Not only is it incredibly affordable, but it is also automated, pulling much of the content instantly from RSS feeds. Oh, and if you need to update it, no worries there either thanks to a built in content management system that gives the owner full control. I asked Julien three questions about their product and company, here’s the goods:

SlopeFillers: Tell me about PowderNation. What do you guys do, how long have you been around, etc.?
Julien: PowderNation is based in Santa Barbara, CA. The company was started by myself and 2 friends from college. We’re big fans of the snow and the outdoors, and decided to bring our talents together in a way that would make people have more fun on the slopes. We thought that by providing all the information about a resort and town on a phone, people would have a super convenient guide that would help them spend more time doing the things they want to be doing on vacation rather than planning and seeking them out. Mathematically that equation looks like: less time planning = more time having fun. Our first apps came out in the 2009-2010 season on the iPhone, and for this season we’ve expanded to more resorts and made our apps available on Android in addition to iPhone/iPad.

SlopeFillers: As you look at the ski industry now and the options that a resort has when it comes to apps, what is your advantage over their other options and what benefits do they get from your apps that others don’t provide?
Julien: Our apps are capable of providing a wide range of information and services to resort visitors. By combining the interactive features of the phone, PowderNation has created a unique travel planner and local guide that can be customized to the specific characteristics of any resorts. In addition to standard reporting like weather and snow totals, a resort can choose to emphasize their ski school, slopeside accommodations, terrain parks, or any combination of services and attractions that draws in visitors.

We take a different approach to creating apps which saves a lot of build time and gives clients the choice to have an iPhone App, Android App and a mobile website; all for less than what other developers typically charge for one app. Our apps update themselves by using feeds that automatically pull information from national databases and resort databases. We have a great content management system for making other changes to the app – if you want to reorganize your content, change the graphics mid season, or add new information about a hotel or event, you can get in and out really quick with our CMS.

SlopeFillers: Apps, even with your benefits and streamlined setup, can be expensive. From your perspective, why should a resort even consider building an app in the first place?
Julien: Our apps are cheap compared to what resorts spend on print materials marketing to their guests; and best of all, they are instantly updatable so a resort can update any time it wants. We live in an information-on-demand world, and people want to find out what they want to know before they get distracted by something else and forget about you. Putting a resort’s information on a smartphone is a way to stay 100% accessible to guests.

Smartphones have become ubiquitous in the last few years, just as computers and the Internet in the 1990’s. It’s part of a technological progression that has made information drastically more accessible, and now it fits in the palm of your hands. 15 years ago a lot of businesses were scratching their heads wondering who needs a website. Well, the same thing is true for mobile.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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