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Social Media
The State of Ski Resort Social Media Contests: Marketers at Three Mountains Weigh In

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After chatting with Milena Regos at Out&About Marketing (formerly of Diamond Peak fame), we wondered how resorts were perceiving the success of their social media contests. I’ve weighed in on the results of the Epic Race (which is mentioned below, but I think you’ll find these first-hand perspectives very insightful.

We wanted to give you the best information we could… so we consulted the experts! We reached out to about a dozen ski resorts and were able to speak with Sugar Bowl, Diamond Peak, and Vail and asked them personally about the success of their social media contests. And here’s what they had to say: YES, social contests work.

Why do ski resorts conduct social media contests?
So, let’s breakdown the specifics. We asked our ski resorts if they run social media contests and they came back with a unanimous, yes. Then we dug a little deeper and asked what their main objectives are in social media contests. Here is where they started to differ.

Sugar Bowl looks for gains and followers, information on potential customers and reach, and calls to action that result in things like season passes.

Diamond Peak wants the followers and emails but is also looking for general engagement and awareness as well as to raise excitement in what they have to offer. Vail cited their most successful campaign as aimed at targeting multi-resort, destination guests to share authentic experiences and drive awareness of their product.

With everyone coming from different angles, did they manage to accomplish their goals?
Once again, we get a unanimous, yes! But, were there pitfalls along the way? Definitely, Sugar Bowl made the valid point that without enough snowfall, that even the best campaigns will fall short.

Diamond Peak mentioned that there was an occasion when it became extremely difficult to contact the winners of their contest. So though social contests reach their goals, there are always unforeseen circumstances to overcome.

What is the BEST case scenario?
For Sugar Bowl, that looks like their campaign, “Rep your Shop,” where they not only won the 2012-2013 best media partnership but saw results like active participation on their social media platforms, especially Facebook.

In the case of Vail, their campaign, “Epic Race” resulted in 9,000+ photos, 4,000+ videos shared across all social channels with a total reach of 1.5M people. This snowballed into 112 media stories that totaled in 270,861,266+ overall impressions. So is there potential for some huge results? We believe so.

But what happens after the big campaign, how did they hold on to followers?
Sugar Bowl gets personal by thanking people, continuing to showcase their winner, encouraging people to stay tuned for future offers, and makes sure that followers are hooked up with new information.

Diamond Peak reposts winning submissions to generate more hype for future contests.

And Vail utilizes open ended campaigns that keep followers posting their experiences so that campaigns don’t die off.

The Gist
All in all, it sounds like our ski resorts are pretty happy with social media contests. They help get the word out there on what the resorts have to offer and often times result in engagement that lasts past the contest. Sometimes, unforeseen events created boundaries, but in the end, social media contests connected people to resources and connected resorts to their guests. And that- readers- is where the true value of social media contests lies: connection.

Special thanks to: Peter at Sugar Bowl, Jaclyn at Diamond Peak, and Jeff at Vail!

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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