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So far in 2015/16: A few innovative product tweaks resorts are using to move the needle.

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For every topic I do cover, I have a collection of 3-10 small, but clever, tactics that are hard to shape into a solo post but nonetheless deserve some love. This week I’m sharing a few groups of these efforts from resort marketers so far in 2015/16.

Lifts can only get so much faster. Snowmaking can only get so much better. Skis can only make turning so much easier.

I really feel like the most effective things resorts will do in the next 5-10 years will be to the skiing itself. Mixing in lessons from other sports and movements to create places where everyone can have a unique, custom-built playground just like the part rats do.

On that note, I’ve noticed three innovations as of late to the product of skiing each geared toward unique groups.

Smugglers’ Notch Bounce House
When we lived in Colorado and family would visit, guess where my neices and nephews always wanted to go? Not on the gondola, not to a fancy restaurant, not on a trampoline or zipline, they wanted to go to pirate ship park in Vail.

So when i see a resort that’s created an indoor space with tons of inflatable “bounce house” features, games, and activities?

I stand up, take off my hat, and applaud. And I clap even harder when I think of the cost/value of something like this compared the cost/value of a new high speed quad.

Winter Rafting
Tubes are fun, but why not take it a step further. Snow Valley, Ontario did just that.

The gist is:

“A raft is a large, circular tube-style of toboggan that holds up to six adults or kids…You can go down the hill with friends and family…The rafts are the most popular activity on the tube hills right now.”

I love it. Such a simple product tweak it sorta makes wonder why it’s taken so long to happen when you look at the variety that already exists at waterparks.

Makes me wonder if the next step is developing the tools and equipment to go big on a winding, twisting luge down an unused beginner run. Getting more value out of a ski run using tubes than skis…how’s that for a thought?

Mammoth SKYBOX
Finally, there’s Mammoth’s SKYBOX. Here’s how the release put it:

“After 60 years as a premier recreation destination, Mammoth is aiming to engage the technology and business communities directly by offering products and experiences tailored to their business and lifestyle goals.”

Yes, it’s a concerted, focused effort to build a B2B business at a ski resort from a resort “just down the road” from Silicon Valley’s burned out employees working for venture backed companies.

Personally, I think it’s brilliant. It’s like taking the current group approach and simply aiming those crosshairs on a much larger, much more wealthy corporate demographic that goes far beyond the traditional conference facility sales or ski club trips.

I really think much of skiing’s future success will come from thinking like this. From thinking off-piste and giving the skiing experience and mountain-as-a-product approach a new twist.

All three of these do that. I wouldn’t be surprised to see much, much more of this going forward.

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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