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Sunshine Village Offers the “Ultimate” Twitter Contest Reward

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I know, I know, you were expecting a Google+ post today after the launch of business pages yesterday. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m going to watch how the first week pans out and post an update then. Deal? In the meantime, if you’ve setup a Google+ page for your resort, please take a sec to let me know.

What is the ultimate perk for skiers? In August I proposed that maybe it is skiing a day early, depending on your location it could be exclusive access to powder or a long list of other benefits. But to continue my own argument, there is something about being able to ski before everyone else that lets some skiers brag and the rest of us jealous. This is at the core of a contest Sunshine Village just started on Twitter. Here’s how it works.

  1. Change your Twitter profile background to one of 4, contest-approved images (#1, #2, #3, #4)
  2. Tweet using the hashtag #WinSkiPassesB4OpeningDay
  3. Have a chance at winning one of five pairs of passes that will be valid the day before opening day from noon-3pm

That’s it. If you are local and want a chance to win tickets, the deadline is a week from today at noon. Speaking of chances, when I checked yesterday at noon ET, only 20 people had entered. Pretty good odds.

What I Like
I really like the basis of the concept. The prize is unique, gets your attention, and has a viral element built in. Props for giving it a go. It’s got all the making of a great contest, except for…

What Might Be Missing
I think there are a few things missing with this contest.

Entry Mechanism – Having a Twitter user change their background image would have been much more effective, say, a year or two ago, when people still visited profile pages en masse. However, between mobile use, apps (think Hootsuite), and the “new” Twitter that shows a user’s basic profile in the right sidebar, background images just don’t get seen like they used to. ¬†Also, why not require they @mention Sunshine Village or require their info link to be included in the tweet so others know how to enter?

Wording – “Win Ski Passes Before Opening Day” is a bit confusing. To me is says that the winner will get to win passes now rather than after they open, as if somehow contests for free passes don’t exist once the resort is open. I would probably have said, “Win Private Skiing the Day Before We Open” or, to clarify the current line, “Win a Ski Pass Valid BEFORE Opening Day.”

Timeframe – As far as I can tell, the contest started mid-day on Saturday. With only three days to promote it, the promotion simply didn’t have time to build on itself and really catch on. Luckily, yesterday brought the announcement that opening day, including the contest deadline, was pushed back a week. Bad news for skiers, good news for marketers.

Design – Maybe this is a reflection of the last-minute nature of the contest, but the design looks a lot like a Halloween poster. A bit more time on the design could have helped folks take it a little more serious.

Arena / Size – For a contest that has such an exclusive reward requiring lifts to be turning and staff to be on hand, Twitter seems to be a bit small for an Arena. I’d love to see it extended out to every one of their web profiles. A contest like this could be HUGE. Entry mechanisms could be:

  • Become a fan on Facebook to drive Facebook counts (fangate an email entry form on a tab, Facebook’s guidelines shouldn’t push you to other sites if you want to hold a contest, they just need a bit more ingenuity)
  • Join your e-newsletter
  • Post a link pointing to your resort’s website on their own blog / website for SEO
  • Opt-in to your text alert list
  • Buy a season pass and be automatically entered
  • etc.

Give out 5 pairs of passes on each outlet and let each of your various online profiles drive the buzz. You’d still only have 50 people on the mountain which would keep it exclusive.

The Bottom Line…
I love the prize, but for something that exclusive and that buzz-worthy, given time to blossom and pushed through more channels with a the reward/offer clarified a bit, this could be intense. Let’s remember it is the first go around I’ve seen for this type of concept. Maybe a few more rounds will refine the system.

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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