Even on a relaxing vacation back with my wife’s family, my marketing brain refused to turn off. So, here I was, in a little-known place called Fossil Butte National Monument, a few clicks West of Kemerer, Wyoming, when a lonely visitor center taught me two marketing lessons that kept the wheels turning for the rest of the day.
Does Your Sign Have This?
Here’s a pop quiz, what do Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah all have in common? Right next to the “Welcome to _________” sign as you enter the state, there is a small area to pull over. Why? So you can take your picture next to the sign.
Fossil Butte, a tiny square on a giant map, had a pull out area next to their sign. I did a quick mental inventory of the resorts I’ve visited recently to see if I remember a good place to take a picture next to their logo. Vail? Nope. Steamboat? Nope. Canyons? Nope. Beaver Creek? Nope. Heavenly? Nope.
Now, I might have missed the turn offs, but the fact that I couldn’t think of a single resort that had a good place to pull over next to their welcome sign and take a picture was surprising. These people want to prove to their friends and followers that they were at your resort: a place designed for logo-inclusive photo taking makes it easy.
The Driveway Tells a Story
Usually, driveways are pretty boring. Long driveways maybe a bit less so, but they still aren’t that exciting. Fossil Butte, however, turned the half-mile drive from the main road to the visitor center into a timeline of the world. It started with early organisms forming and moved through early plants and animals, filling in the gaps with the rise and fall of lakes, water levels, CO2 levels, and species. Every 9 inches equaled a million years. Soon after passing the creation of the Rocky Mountains, you arrived at the front door of the center.
I’d love to see a simple application of this idea at a ski resort. Maybe 10 feet equals a year starting with the first rope tow, highlighting new lift installs, terrain expansions, lodges being built, local olympians’ triumphs, until they arrive at the parking lot. It’s a simple way to tell your resorts story to every visitor that arrives and increases their connection with the mountain and it’s history.
Keep Your Eyes Open
National Parks and Monuments are awesome at maximizing the experience. The next time you travel to one of these destinations, take notes. Their visitor centers, paths, and signage all follow a carefully planned sequence to help visitors make the most of the time they spend. Sounds like what we want to do for resort guests, eh?
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