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The three strategies Sugarbush used to drive use of their official hashtag.

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Lots of resorts have an official or semi-official resort hashtag. And many of those resorts wish their skiers would tag their photos and videos and posts with that hashtag to better connect all of these moments.

Now, consistent reminders can certainly help drive adoption and there will always been a group of hashtag-loving folks who will seek out any tag they can find to stick at the bottom of their family photo before tossing it on Instagram, but how do you get more normal skiers and guests to use the official tag?

This year, Sugarbush did (at least) three things.

1) A Contest

First, Sugarbush rolled out a series of recurring contests throughout the year based on usage. From their site, there were three ways to win:

  • Weekly Contest – winner gets a $20 Sugarbush gift card and non-holiday lift ticket
  • Monthly Contest – winner gets a $100 Sugarbush gift card and brand-new GoPro
  • Season Long Contest – winner gets a $500 gift card and a weekend ski or golf getaway for two (two nights in Clay Brook Hotel with two days of golf or skiing for two people, non-holiday)

And how do you enter? You guessed it:

“There are two ways to participate. The easiest is to just post on your social media with #MySugarbush. We’ll pick our favorite posts with that hashtag and dish out prizes based on the timing above. Plus you may even see your posts displayed around the resort or used in other forms of media. You can also submit through an entry form on our My Sugarbush webpage.”

And that second layer – grabbing an email address – is a nice way to make it so anyone can enter and build the marketing database at the same time. They also publicly announced and celebrated winners along the way.

2) Consistent, Correct Use

The posts they wanted folks to tag weren’t just any posts, they were posts with moments. So I appreciate that Sugarbush patterned how they wanted their guests to use the tag by using it on moments-style posts…

But didn’t on promotions…

I appreciate this little bit of nuance. It’s tempting to just toss it onto everything, but that’s not what they wanted their guests to do so they led by example.

3) A Meaningful Mosaic

The last thing I’ll mention is the fact that they didn’t just let all of these photos float out in the ether, they brought them together in a way that aligned with the overall goal. The foundation of all of this was a simple idea:

“This mountain is made up of the stories & memories that you make here.”

So Sugarbush saved and compiled them all into an interactive mosaic where each photos makes up a tiny square of the whole. And what is the photo of? The mountains that make up Sugarbush.

screenshot of sugarbush mosaic

This not only builds on their message, but puts everyone’s names up in lights and encourages more folks to do the same going forward.

You can view the full, interactive mosaic at the My Sugarbush page on their website.

Three of Many

These are the three things I could see. The team at Sugarbush almost surely backed this up with a thoughtful collection of signage, emails, and other messaging that I didn’t see.

But all of these things reinforce the idea I started with: Sugarbush wanted people to share, they wanted people to tag what they share, and they wanted to do everything around an on-brand, meaningful theme. So they didn’t just choose a hashtag, they built a campaign around it.

Nice work, Sugarbush team.

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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