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What I'd Do
The Future In the Flesh: Custom Resort Website by Location

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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).

I recently made a prediction about what I believe the future of ski resorts websites looks like. My comparison was how cars were 50 years ago compared to how they are today. Once upon a time, cars were one size fits all. Didn’t matter if you were tall, short, fat, skinny, cold, sweating, etc. the car was the same. Today, cars move and adjust to fit the driver almost perfectly.

That’s the future of websites. Instead of “one size fits all”, they would use any data about each visitor to match the experience to their situation. The way I proposed it in my first post had a pretty broad scope, so let me provide two, bite-sized pieces to chew on.

Basic Example: Location Based Customization of Offers
Visitor profiles can come from many sources, including your database of guest information, but today I’m going to provide a basic example of what I was referring to using two site elements and one guest characteristic: location. The location can be pulled from an IP address and be nailed down to a pretty specific area. So, what I’d do is draw some virtual rings around my resort by which I’d categorize my visitors:

Categories would include:

  1. Traditional Content
  2. In-resort (based on your resort’s internet IP prefix)
  3. Local (people that wouldn’t need to stay overnight
  4. Weekender (far enough away that lodging for a night or two is feasible)
  5. Destination (people that would take a good part of the day to travel to your resort)

I’d then create a unique offer to be show to each type of visitor. For my example I’ll use the once unlikely, but now probable, Rainey Ranch Ski Area that might be built in Northern Utah.

Landing Pages / Hero Images
My 15 minute site design for Rainey Ranch is pretty shabby and unoriginal, but represents the layout of many ski resort websites, especially in respect to the large, hero image displayed on the landing page. Here are a few ways I’d tweak that:

Destination Guest
Using IP to identify location & closest airport to show an offer that fits their situation and a price to match.

Local Skier
They don’t need lodging or flights, so a mid-week offer would be front and center.

Local / In-Resort
If they are at the resort, they probably don’t need tickets and certainly don’t need flights, so I’d show offers for events and activities they may not know about.

The sidebar shows up on every page, so why not show some relevant offers to those folks that are checking your daily totals (yes that is a screenshot of Sugarloaf’s snow report table).

Within a 2-3 hour drive of the resort, show drive time based on their location along with an attractive offer to make the package customized and relevant to their needs.

Local Skier
If they are checking the snow report mid-morning and are within an hour’s drive, give them a reason to take the afternoon off with a half-day pass promotion.

If someone is at the resort and checking the snow report, promote other things they can do while they ski that day.

The Gist
So, there you have it, a basic idea of what I was envisioning. Ideally, I would customize much, much more than this, but even making two popular elements on your website adjust to the visitor could have some pretty awesome results.

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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