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What I'd Do
Testimonials are Powerful, but Where Are They in Resort Marketing?

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I sometimes feel I do too much critiquing and too little suggesting. Like, somehow, I’m the 400 pound, mullet-sporting guy on his 3rd beer at the baseball game yelling at the 2nd baseman to hustle. So, every once in a while on a Wednesday I’ll try to balance the scales a bit and put my own ideas up for display, analysis, and critique. (view all ‘WID’ posts).

Guess Who?
Pop quiz, which Utah resort did these reviews come from?

“Where else can you get a little bit of everything for everyone. My 2 year old loves the magic carpet and us adults love that we can get some adult runs in at the same time. Wouldn’t start my kids skiing anywhere else.”

“This resort is AWESOME for families, especially if the young ones are just beginning.”

“Our large group spent two days at this resort and it was a fabulous experience. Our age range was 9 years to 54 years old with skiers from first timers to intermediate level. All had a great time! Everyone on the staff is extremely friendly and helpful.”

Family friendly so maybe Park City? Large groups so perhaps a Cottonwood Canyon resort? A little bit of everything so maybe Alta? Each of these quotes came from reviews for Wolf Mountain, the smallest (110 acres), lowest (5,300′), cheapest ($31) ski area in the state.

Whatever you call them – testimonials, reviews, recommendations, etc. – when someone else brags about what you do, it hold a power that you can’t achieve with your own brand’s voice. As Copyblogger has said:

“A testimonial builds confidence in your message, offer, product, and company because it offers proof that it has worked for others. People expect you to say good things about your own product, so your persuasive abilities have a limit. But your argument is multiplied tenfold when other people say good things, especially when those other people have no bias and nothing to gain.”

Where are they?
I looked at 10 resort websites – Keystone, Killington, Mount Snow, Sunday River, Schweitzer, Indianhead, Diamond Peak, Whistler, Revelstoke, and Sun Valley – and gave each one three clicks to see if I could find a testimonial. I looked everywhere: order pages, “why [this resort]” pages, booking forms, you name it.

The crazy thing is, I didn’t see a single testimonial.

Go to Amazon and search for your favorite book and pay attention to how much room they devote to reviews. Or stop by and see how long it takes you to scroll through the testimonials below each product (not to mention in the box to the right just below the “add to cart” button…coincidental placement? I don’t think so). But resort websites? Nothing.

Key Points of Action
What I’d do, is put testimonials everywhere, especially at points where you want the visitor to take a major action (buy, book, call, etc.). Grab them from Twitter, Facebook, Trip Advisor, Yelp, surveys, etc. – wherever people talking about you, start collecting the nice things they say. Here are five places I’d start with.

1) Booking Form
Below any booking form, I’d have a randomly chosen testimonial show up about how much someone loved their vacation.

2) Season Pass Order Page
I’d use a couple of people talking about why they chose your resort over another resort’s season pass right next to the “order” button.

3) The “Why _____ Resort” Page
If you are going to give people a few reasons to choose your resort, doing it in your voice sounds like cocky lameness. Instead, let your guests do the talking.

4) Lift Ticket Page
Find a few reviews talking about the value of your tickets and how much better the experience was at your resort vs something else.

5) Family Page
Most resorts have a family page, why not let the parents tell other parents why they should choose your resort?

The bottom line is just like Copyblogger said, ‘People expect you to say good things about your own product, so your persuasive abilities have a limit.” Let the words of your guests give take your web copy past that limit.

That’s what I’d do.

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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