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:
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:
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).
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.
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