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YouTube influencers are one of resort marketing’s biggest missed opportunities.

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Let’s connect a few dots, shall we?

First, I’m big on video right now. YouTube pre-roll ads are great for set-it-and-forget-it branding, it’s a medium that’s influenced my behavior more than once in recent months, and resort video quality has grown to the point that it’s ready for bigger stages.

Second, resort marketers consistently underestimate how many YouTube channels there are with a meaningful combination of audience size and relevance to skiing. Brendan Gahan, a YouTube expert and speaker from the last year of Destination Summit, has been talking about this a bit lately.

To put those numbers into perspective, you’d have to add up the subscriber count of the top 8 ski resort YouTube channels to eclipse 100,000 subscribers. The most only has about 21k subscribers. And even if you added the subscribers of EVERY resort YouTube channel, you’d still only be 1/3 of the way to 1,000,000.

In other words, there are over 200,000 channels with roughly 5 times the reach of the most successful resort YouTube channel.

Third, what influence means. Casey Willax, whose 69k subscribers wouldn’t even qualify him for that group of 200,000, cruises around the country and texts his community where he’s going to be. When he shows up, crowds of kids can be waiting.

When he spent the day at Big Snow after their reopening, a big chunk of his video was dedicated to saying “hi” to all the riders who showed up and bought tickets to ride with him.

It’s not just in big cities, either. There was a group of riders waiting for him in the parking lot when he showed up to Snow Creek, MO.

The Point
Right now you’re probably saying something like:

“How many can there be out there? I’ve heard of Casey, but where are all the others?”

They’re out there making tons of movies for their tens of thousands of subscribers. Just because you’re not one doesn’t mean they exist. That’s exactly what Brandon is getting at: having 100k subscribers used to be exclusive, now there are hundreds of thousands of these creators to work with.

In skiing/riding, even a cursory search lands names like:

And those are just individuals, not brands like Stomp It Tutorials who have over 200k subscribers and nearly 30,000,000 views.

Bottom Line
I truly believe YouTube influencers are one of the most underappreciated opportunities in resort marketing.

And they may be one of the easiest to work with, especially when they don’t have quite as many subscribers as the big dogs. Give them a little love (or just support them however you can when they do show up) and they’ll return it.

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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