Once up on a time, Vail Resorts started a podcast. A really, really good podcast.
At the time I said it was a perfect way for them to take folks behind the scenes and tell their side of the story. And not just and stories, but stories that were nuanced. Ones that were valuable to tell right but easy to tell wrong.
Little did I know.
Podcasting is not the perfect medium for every resort to consider. But when you look at the way Vail told the story of things like the Park City acquisition or how The Epic Pass came to be, the strengths of this channel are hard to miss.
This is especially true of “The Decision – No Playbook. Navigating Through COVID-19,” their three-part series about Vail Resort’s respones to this pandemic.
But let’s get specific. Because there are three aspects of podcasting that fit this moment perfectly and make this a perfect medium for Vail to tell their side of the story.
First, is attention. I love how Justin Jackson, co-founder of podcast-hosting company Transistor, calls podcasts a “thoughtful” medium. People listen to these when they can give each a slice of undivided attention. In the car, on a walk, on a plane, etc. Having that attention is a great way to tell a deep, complex story. A long-form piece that takes 40-minutes to read can’t hold someone’s attention like a 40-minute podcast can.
#2) No Competition
Next, they’ve had their say in the written word and so has the local newspaper. They’ve had their say on videos and so has the evening news. But nobody has the bandwidth (or justification) to tell a story like this one as deeply as they do. Which creates this situation where Vail’s side, in some ways, is the only side…at least when it comes to this type of storytelling.
#3) From the Top
Most of all, it allows them to integrate the voice of their CEO literally instead of figuratively. Anyone could ghostwrite a quote for Rob Katz, and I’m sure they do regularly, but only Rob can talk into the microphone if he’s going to be part of an audio recording. I love that. It adds a layer of real-ness that the written word can’t touch.
Not All, But This
Again, I’ll leave you with a reminder: podcasting is not something every resort should explore. But when you have deep, sticky, nuanced stories to tell – which a corporation like Vail surely does in an industry like ski – it’s a fabulous way to get those stories out in the world.
Right now, Vail is the only one really doing so. I’d expect they will be the only ones for the short term, but not for the long.
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