skip to main content

As Resorts Focus on Summer Marketing, the Heath Brothers Have Good Advice

divider image for this post

If you haven’t read any of the Heath Brothers (Switch, Made to Stick, Decisive, etc.) I’d highly recommend them.

The key takeaways from Made to Stick have been hanging in my office for years, but there’s a specific principle from Switch that keeps coming up in my work over and over and over again: “bright spots”.

Summer vs Winter
Let’s backtrack a bit. In the Stash this week, I pulled some basic YOY return rates for a bunch of resorts to see how summer return rates compared to winter.

In other words, of all the guests that came to your mountain last winter, how many are likely to return this winter. Same goes for last summer’s guests returning this summer. Here’s how it looks:

To put some numbers to it, 16.4% of winter guests return the next winter, but only 11.4% of summer guests return with a year. Clearly there is room for improvement, but how do we tackle this problem?

Bright Spots
Back to the Heath Brothers. One of the key points in their book was simply this: when faced with a problem we tend to look at what’s wrong instead of what’s right.

In this case, we’d tend to look at 11.4% compared to 16.4% and say, “we’ve got to do better.” Instead, we should look at 16.4% and say, “we already are doing better, let’s look at the bright spots (winter loyalty) and see what we can carry over to get the same results from summer.

I really think that’s will be a big key going forward in many areas of ski. Snowboarding participation in on a slight decline, but from what I’ve heard, skiing did the same thing 30+ years ago. What did industry folks do then to stop the skid and do those lessons apply now?

Bottom line, look at what is working, rather than what isn’t, and you may be surprised by the solutions you come up with.

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.