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The Beautiful Non-Secret of Ski Resort Market Research

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Most of the resort marketing guys and gals I have met started their careers marketing products in another industry which means they know the challenges of market research. Now, the research in itself is tricky enough, but it’s even harder to get the customers’ views on the product candidly, without them thinking they are being drilled in a focus group or survey. Luckily, resort marketing is refreshingly different.

Want to know why someone chose to come to your resort rather than your competitors? Ask them. Jump on the lift with a few skiers and say, “Is this your first time at Wolf Mountain? Have you ever skied at Snowbasin? Why did you choose to come here rather than Snowbasin? Wow, you’re from Michigan? How did you hear about the mountain?” Instead of sounding like a pesky marketer, you sound like a skier interested in choosing his next ski destination.

If you want to get how pass holders at your competitor view your mountain, snag one of their lift tickets, and do the same thing. There are great places all over the mountain to get market research:

  • The lift line
  • On the chair
  • Waiting to hit features in the park
  • At the table you’re sitting at in the lodge
  • In the ticket lines

One of the most beautiful parts of skiing is that people seem to let down their “why are you talking to me” shell. Anyone can talk to anyone about skiing. At times, it is almost expected.

So next time you are wondering about an event, promo, or add-on you are thinking about adding but just aren’t sure how it will be received, put on your boots, grab the sticks, and jump in the nearest lift line. Maybe even make up an old-school 90’s style t-shirt to remind your office-mates that “I’m not skiing, I’m doing market research.” It will be hard work, but I’m sure you’ll manage.

On a serious note, there are very few industries that give marketers such easy access to their customers’ views and opinions. Don’t let this resource, or your skis, be ignored ;)

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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