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Milan is to Moab as Arlberg is to Afton Alps: When Marketing Worlds Collide

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
   

I could try to lead in with some clever reference to you living under a rock, but I think we’re all aware by now that Vail Resorts is now running the skiing side of Canyons Resort. Within this announcement there are a dozen marketing topics we could tackle, but I want to explore one.

That one concept begins with a sticker.

This sticker.

moabsticker
Sourece: http://www.zazzle.com/moab_bumper_sticker-128769330710568711

You’ve seen these around. Take 3-4 bucket-list destinations and toss a random, niche vacation spot on the end. It’s the classic “one of these things isn’t like the other” situation.

So, what does this have to do with Vail Resorts and Canyons? Isn’t Canyons a world-class destination? Yes, yes it is. But look closer at their creative.

VR.5015.EPIC-vs-CANYONS_ComparisonChart.03a

Notice something missing? Notice any resorts or states missing? Yep, you guessed it: Afton Alps and Mt Brighton.

One of these things…
So, back to the bumper sticker. Vail Resorts isn’t going for humor, they aren’t going for clever, they are going for sales, so at the end of a list that includes:

  • Vail
  • Beaver Creek
  • Heavenly
  • Verbier
  • Arlberg

…and many others, they’ve simply left off the resorts that don’t fit. In fact, the only place that you can find any reference to Afton Alps or Mt Brighton on the EpicPass site is only on the specific pages for those resorts And even then, they only show one at a time.

aftonalps

mtbrighton

It’s an interesting move particularly when you consider what was the likely motivation for purchasing those two resorts: EpicPass sales. Vail Resorts wants to sell a lot of passes. And by a lot, I’ve heard the number is 1,000,000 each year.

So when you bring feeder resorts and their loyal skiers into your portfolio but fail to recognize these areas as worthy of being on the same page as the rest of your resorts, what happens?

I don’t know. It’s hard to blame them, but it’s also hard to see the Midwest skiers they’re trying to reel in being too thrilled about the snub.


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