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From Lasers to Acquisitions, My Six Resort Marketing Predictions for 2016

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In years past I’ve spread my predictions out over multiple posts.

But rather than seeing a few big trends, I’m noticing a handful of smaller ripples within our industry. Still important, but not worth a dedicated post.

That and there is some of your are doing some really, really cool stuff that I don’t want to put off covering for another week.

Prediction #1) Epic Will Expand in Utah
Utah is still a huge, untapped market for EpicPasses and I think this will only expand in 2016. If I had to name one resort that’s mot likely to join the Vail Resorts family, I’d have to say Snowbasin. Originally, I didn’t think they were a great fit. Having seen their master plan, my mind has quickly changed. And if there’s anyone who knows how to move those plans along, it’s VR.

Prediction #2) Experiments with the Skiing Experience
Terrain parks are snow shaped for a specific segment of skiers. I’m gonna predict this sort of catering-to-a-group will expand in 2016. And not just snow:

I think stuff like “Cosmic Tubing” will be just one of many experiments with enhancing/tweaking the skiing experience we’ll see in 2016 to create experiences for all skiers the way we create experiences for park rats.

Prediction #3) Snapchat Won’t Catch On in Skiing
Usually I predict what will happen, this time I’m calling what won’t. Snapchat is being places pretty dang hang in many marketers’ priority lists and predicted to be big in 2016, but I don’t think it will last in skiing. By the end of 2016, I think Snapchat will still have a smaller place in ski resort marketing than it has now.

Prediction #4) Weather-Related Pricing
The tough years in Tahoe led to some interesting innovation in products and pricing, especially in regard to season passes. With Andrew Snow’s efforts starting right as a the East struggles with record warm, I think we’re going to see some really interesting intersections and experiments between weather data and pricing.

Prediction #5) Year of the Popover
The battle between website real estate and newsletter opt-in forms is often a losing battle. So what’s the solution I’m seeing? Popovers. Golf resorts are rocking them with beautiful designs that combine offers and sign up forms…


…and I predict that in 2016 ski resorts are going to start adopting a similar strategy in droves. By this time next year, dozens of big resorts will be using popovers.

Prediction #6) The End of Apps
Yes, Apple Watch is cool. Yes, new sensors are opening up doors. But for ski resorts, I think the end of the app era is upon us in 2016. We’ll see few, if any, resorts build apps on platforms, multiple resorts drop their apps altogether, and not a single custom resort app get built in 2016.

There are a lot of other things on my radar – content curation, print strategy, TV commercials – that I see glimmers of potential within, but I’ll stop here for 2016.

We’ll see how I do this year.

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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