skip to main content

What I'd Do
If I were you, I’d use this summer to build yourself a resort marketing sandbox.

divider image for this post

Not having been in your shoes, I’ve tried to find people who have that I can use as a sounding board for the marketing shenanigans that are spewed from my cerebellum.

But when I do stumble upon some rare, not-so-hairbrained idea, the dialogue usually goes like this:

ME: “Yo, I’ve got this idea. Resorts should do X, Y, Z.”
THEM: “Not bad, Gregg…[cough] for [cough] once…but no resort would ever let you try it.”

The dialogue that follows tells a concise tale of risk, wiggle room, and failure: none of which are able to exist in large doses within most resort marketing offices.

My Story
As I’ve hinted at before, my marketing skills – for better or worse – came from a lot of experimenting and a lot of failures.

I was incredibly lucky to be running a small business during college that gave me a sandbox to challenge what I learned. The professor would say one thing, I’d wonder if it were true, I’d go home and try it, I’d find out by the next class if it worked.

It was so helpful that, ever since, no matter how much any one project or employer took of my time, I’ve always kept a few side projects to use as testing grounds for new ideas.

Even Now
Even now, as a full time Ryan Solutions guy, I have five of these projects.

To the point I started with, even in industries with a high tolerance for risk it’s not always fair to experiment on an employers time and dime, so I keep these websites, lists, and apps in my back pocket to use as a testing ground for whatever thoughts keep me up at night.

I find out if they work, my employer doesn’t have to shoulder the risk. A win-win.

If I were you, I’d use this summer to create one of your own.

Attributes, Lessons
It can be as simple as a blog with an email list, but doing so (and starting from scratch) will teach you a progressive series of lessons:

  1. Traffic generation is hard (you’ll do a happy dance when you consistently hit 25 uniques a day).
  2. Because traffic is hard, every visitor counts (and you’ll start focus on optimization to milk value out of each visitor).
  3. As you optimize, you’ll be blown away by how small changes can massively impact conversions.
  4. You’ll then figure out really creative ways to get more traffic.
  5. Which lessons you can then take back to work with the confidence they’re gonna fly.

That combination of starting from zero and total freedom will teach you more than you could ever know. It has for me.

A Place to Fail
But even more importantly, you’ll be creating a place where you can fail. It’s cliche, but failure is where I’ve learned perhaps my most valuable marketing lessons.

Once you have a place to experiment and make mistakes, you’ll have an outlet for creativity. And, with an outlet, I think you’ll be amazed at all the new ideas your brain comes up with.

This summer, create that place.

That’s what I’d do.

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.