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Social Media
Spanning the Seasons, Steamboat’s “Then and Now” Contest is a Smart Approach to Content

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A few years ago may have been described as the heyday of social media contests. It seemed that every day another resort was launching another contest and then another and then another.

While I’m glad the sweepstakes fever as subsided a bit, I sometimes wonder if we’ve let the pendulum swing too far the other way.

After all, a contest – like the one I’ll highlight today – can be a simple way to accomplish and tap into a handful of effective marketing strategies.

Step 1: The Format
The contest that caught my eye was the #ThenAndNow effort from Steamboat. Like many such campaigns, it started with a hashtag and a request for user generated content.

In this case, these photos were supposed to span the seasons. For example:



As you can see, the entries weren’t bad at all.

Step 2: The Entrants
Now, think about what it takes to enter this contest:

  • A decent list of photos taken at the resort during one season.
  • A repeat trip to the resort to take the opposite season photo.

What you end up with is an entry mechanism that filters out casual fans, leaving locals or loyal travelers who have preserved fun memories at the mountain.

Step 3: The Name Up in Lights
Then, by keeping it simple and simply uploading these photos into an album directly on their Facebook page, they’ve put these loyal customers “up in lights” as I often say which not only makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside, but makes them want to talk about it.

Step 4: Get Out the Vote
And, so feeling, Steamboat allows “likes” (rather than an office vote or random drawing) to determine the winner. This gives entrants a reason to send their friends and family to vote for their photo.

As I’ve said before, the real winner in contests like this is the brand whose real estate hosts the voting. Powder knows it (Ski Town Throwdown), Outside knows it (Best Towns), and Steamboat knows it.

Solid, Balanced Combo
Repeat at least a couple times throughout the season, the winner received a 15-day pass to the resort while runners-up snagged swag bags (say that ten times fast).

The grand prize was valuable enough (but essentially free to the resort) to motivate potential participants but not so valuable as to outweight the actual value the contest would drive.

Simple execution, well-chosen prize, solid entries and clean execution. Good stuff, Steamboat.

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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