Regular visitors to Skipedia will know that we have a soft spot for Quechua. We think their positioning is spot on and although there was some debate (see the comments) about the quality of their product, no one is claiming they are Patagonia or The North Face.
Check out their new TV campaign below, which again just manages to capture the spirit of the mountains. It’s about being able to commune with nature. This ad nails it.
The London Ski & Snowboard Show returned to Earls Court for the first time in 17 years.
Some very interesting stats about UK social media usage in this great infographic from UMPF. So much that’s commentable, but headliners to me are:
- 77% of the UK adult population have an active Facebook profile
- 32% use Twitter regularly
- Over half of all pensioners are on Facebook
What does it mean?
1. Forget the idea that social media is just for the young
2. Neglect Twitter at your peril
3. You must have a credible presence on Facebook as part of your marketing plan
- This is a blog post from Skipedia written by Iain MartinScroll to top
Was flicking through the seminal 1970s ski book ‘We Learned To Ski‘ yesterday and had to share this superb pre-season fitness regime – ‘Lifting the groceries’
- This is a blog post from Skipedia written by Iain Martin
‘Your season starts here’
With just two days to the Metrosnow.co.uk London Ski and Snowboard Show, I found myself admiring this ad over the weekend.
That strapline ‘Your season starts here’ gets it in one. The season really does start with the London Show.
But what about Twitter?
I would have liked the poster even more if they’d included their Twitter hashtag #skishow11 or even a mention of Twitter as well. There’s been some good activity around the hashtag already and it’s helped create some pre-show excitement.
If you really want people to use a hashtag and build ‘trending’ volume, you need to promote as widely as possible.
The two examples below demonstrate good use of hashtags, albeit on TV. The Sharp ad was running last month during ITVs international football coverage. The example from Audi was used during the last Superbowl.
Other well-used Twitter tags on television you may have seen include #thekillingc4 and #HIGNFY, both of which have been very effective at increasing audience participation.Scroll to top
Could it really be ‘Wickedly funny’?
A couple of weeks ago, I read a new book called ‘War and Piste’. I’ll be honest with you, I was expecting the worst from this ‘wickedly funny diary of a ski season’.
When I ran Natives, I used to receive regular emails from season workers who had written a book about seasonal life. In the vast majority of cases, these books were never published.
That was probably for the best: as Christopher Hitchens once noted: ‘Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.’
Previous ‘ski season’ books
A few did make it into print however. ‘Cham’ by Jonathan Trigell is an excellent book. A well written drama set in Chamonix that manages the unlikely combination of convincing ski sequences, a short history of the Romantics and a rapist on the loose, it’s worth a read for any snow lover.
‘It’s All Part Of The Alpine Experience‘ is also set in Chamonix, but that is as far as the comparison to ‘Cham’ goes. This book drove me mad with its continual typos and factual errors. By the end you did understand the author’s passion for the town, but unless you are a Chamonix-obsessive I’d let this one go.
More entertaining, if a trifle weird, was ‘Clamped‘. This is set in the season worker milieu, this time in Courchevel, and involves some bizarre shenanigans on and off piste. It’s worth a read (although maybe not at the £15 that Amazon are currently quoting for it).
Finally, ‘The Chalet Girl‘ is complete trash. Chick-Lit-Lite.
Damn fine entertainment
Which brings us to ‘War and Piste’. At 443 pages, my first thought was that it probably hadn’t been edited sufficiently. I was also expecting another identikit Chick-Lit romance.
But you know what? It’s actually damn fine entertainment. And I’d go even further and say it’s the best portrayal of seasonal life I’ve ever read.
Okay, it will probably be slightly more entertaining for the the ladies than chaps, but if you’d done a season – no matter where – you’ll recognise these characters: the chef who’s been blagging and does a runner; the hyper-tense resort manager who inspects reps’ nails before transfer day; the Don Juan area manager flitting from resort to resort; the Swedish ski bums who live in a campervan.
I could go on, but you know what, just go out and get yourself a copy. If you’ve done a season already, you’ll want to get out there again. If you haven’t, well watch out…!Scroll to top
Our recent look at the Top 10 French Ski Resorts on Facebook showed Megève a long way in the lead with over 33,000 fans. We recently caught up with Jean Marc Seigneur, vice-president at Megève Tourisme to find out more about their approach to social media marketing.
Is social media a key marketing tool for Megève?
I studied Online Reputation for my PhD at Trinity College Dublin and was keen to develop social networking here in Megève. In 2007, I set up my own social network for resort, called Mageva.com, with the aim of achieving more exchange and communication between local residents.
In the last two years, in Megève, we have been focussing on Facebook. Since our launch competition in November 2010, we have made a strong effort to make sure that Megève is a real social network with real people.
For example our recent horse jumping competition, an event normally associated with the upper classes was open to all. It featured local products, local farmers, local horses. The focus was on inclusivity.
The fact that Megève has a long tradition as a town before it was a ski resort is important. Other resorts also have luxury, but Megève has luxury and authenticity. The village dates back to the 12th century and there has been reported a permanent population of 4000-5000 as far back as 1561.
You run a lot of competitions on Facebook, where entrants can also join your mail list. I also love the reveal tab on your website, which offers another way to join the mail list. Is email still important to you?
Email is important to us. The reveal is relatively new, but it has been successful in increasing subscriptions.
We are very careful not to spam subscribers though. We ask them what they are interested in, for example, golf or gastronomy, and then limit our communications with them to those subjects. We find people will just unsubscribe if you don’t control what messages are sent to them.
I notice you use several methods to post to Facebook, including Twitter and Oorook. What led to the choice of Oorook?
It’s still an early stage, and it is quite expensive, but we have been using Oorook to schedule messages and also to moderate our Facebook page. It’s important to us that it allows moderation in French.
Scheduling is important as we want to use our social networks as communication tools in real time. So many of our events are at the weekend when it can be difficult to update. However, more members of the Tourist Office team are being trained how to use our social networks and that will help real time updating.
I noticed that you branded both your YouTube and Twitter profiles. So many companies neglect these simple tweaks.
Yes, it can be difficult with so many channels, but we have made an effort to keep them all consistent with our branding and up to date.
You use QR codes your website a lot. How has response been?
It’s still early days, but response has been good. We use QR codes on Facebook, our website and on posters promoting our events. The code typically directs them to the specific event page on our website.
Before QR codes we used a French system of Flash codes. It was quite expensive, but very effective. For example, we put one of the codes in the telecabines. The code allowed users to download a classic video of the famous French skier, Emile Allais – founder of the ESF and native of Megève.
Megève has been a leader in new technology for some time. A unique feature we offer as a resort is our ‘innovation offices’. These allow companies to base themselves in Megève, where we can facilitate access to our database and an great demographic to test with. A good example of this is eyeski.tv – a new mobile app.
What do you see as the future for social networking for Megeve?
Our key goal remains to have a good quality fanbase. It may be that it doesn’t grow any further. What’s important to us is to have a high quality of user, rather than high quantity.
We have improved our website significantly since last season. It is very easy to share information and our key goal is to leverage that sharing of information across social networks.
Thank you for your time, Jean Marc, and we look forward to following your new developments in social media as we move into this winter.
Okay, not strictly anything to do with marketing, but just for fun…
Don't let them eat cake..
So why do chalet girls bake a cake every day?
As far as I know chalets have always left out a cake for their guests to tuck into for ‘afternoon tea’.
After a long day on the slopes, most skiers and snowboarders feel they’ve earned a nice slice of cake (or two, if you manage to get back to the chalet first!)
Have you earned it?
It’s generally suggested that skiing burns 350-500 calories per hour. But our – admittedly limited – testing, suggests that for all skiers, the true number is significantly less, and for advanced skiers, when skiing on piste, even less so.
Let’s have a look at the data recorded on a Garmin 310XT in January 2011.
Male skier, advanced, age mid-40s:
This 3h38m session burned just 355 calories – less than 100 calories per hour. Less than an hour of the session was spent actually skiing, with the rest either on lifts or standing still. It’s important to note that the whole session was on-piste. Powder and steeps will require more energy!
Female skier, intermediate, age late-50s
More encouraging for cake lovers, a more recreational skier burned 536 calories in 2h31m – over 200 calories per hour, but still significantly less than the 350-500 estimate. Because the subject was skiing slower, they spent a higher proportion of their time moving, rather than on lifts.
Conclusion – Don’t eat your cake until you’ve earned it!
Unless you spend a lot of time on the hill, are a beginner, or are lucky enough to go off-piste or steep, then maybe it’s time to tell your chalet staff that you don’t need cake.
They’ll be happy as they’ll get out skiing earlier. You might come back from your holiday having gained a few pounds, but you can blame that on the tiramasu…!Scroll to top
I liked this offer from Helly Hansen that I came across this week.
Just ‘like’ the page to get some free stickers. It might not appeal to everyone, but something for nothing usually works, and will be winning them Facebook fans (they’re nearing 10,000). Like the page and it takes you through to a data collection form, offering you the chance to subscribe for their newsletter at the same time.
It’s not actually their landing page for non-fans (ie the page you arrive on if you haven’t ‘liked’ Helly Hansen already), but it is being promoted directly via Facebook. I haven’t seen any Facebook ads, but this would be a perfect sell and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a campaign using this incentive.
Simple. Effective. Good use of Facebook.
I have to share this superb campaign by GroupOn competitor, Living Social.
We’ve all seen the branded London black cabs, but the campaign normally stops with the outside of the vehicle. In this case, unsuspecting passengers were invited to make a choice — carry on to their original destination, or ‘roll the dice’ and go for an exciting experience.
Okay, it helps when you have a large budget, but you have to love this kind of innovation. This kind of viral marketing success is hard to pull off, but this campaign hits the mark beautifully.Scroll to top
BUSC 2000 was the first of the modern BUSCs. Organised by Manchester Metropolitan University (or was it still a polytechnic back then?), the committee took a business-like approach to sponsors and students alike. Companies were starting to wake up to the value of the student pound, and BUSC 2000 was the first to attempt to monetise it.
This poster – designed by their media partner, Fall Line Magazine – sums up the new approach: professional and slick, with top line sponsor, The Daily Telegraph, partnering Salomon, Switzerland Tourism, Animal, Natives and perennial BUSC tour operator Wasteland.
Of course, as BUSCateers from back in the day will know, for whatever reason (cold feet?, contractual errors?), this poster is also an anachronism.
BUSC 2000 never went to Saas Fee, instead ending up happily in Saalbach Hinterglemm. The truly modern BUSC had to wait another few years.Scroll to top
Automation saves time, but can lose fans
I posted last week showing how automating your Facebook updates may not be the best idea.
Scrolling through the pages that Skipedia follows on Facebook this morning, I couldn’t help notice some ugly automation.
Lots of exciting new updates from Courmayeur?
Courmayeur, I name you…
I could only fit four Courmayeur posts into this screengrab, but there were more! On the face of it, it’s great Facebook activity, with lots of new content.
I was intrigued and had a closer look, only to be disappointed…
‘Notes’ are widely underused on Facebook. As Google spiders all Fan Pages, using Notes can assist SEO. Effective content in Notes can increase incoming links and boost rankings for certain keywords.
It’s also a neat feature that Notes can be automated, with blog posts automatically exported to Facebook.
There’s a right way, and a wrong way to do it…
If you are considering doing this, please try not to create Notes like the one below.
Do you really think that your Facebook fans want to spend their valuable time looking at unintelligible pages like this?
Okay, there is a link in there, which some users might take, but the general rule is that excessive updates to valueless content are only likely to lose you fans, not gain them. Think carefully before automating…
Scroll to top
If only Facebook didn’t take up so much time…
Phew. All this status updating and relationship building on Facebook takes time, doesn’t it? If only there was some quick way of automatically exporting my updates from other networks. Oh, there is you say? Great!
Social Media Marketing is not free…
Wrong! Facebook is ‘free’, but if you want to take social media marketing seriously you need to invest the most valuable commodity you can give – your time.
Social Media Marketing is about building relationships. No one ever became friends with someone by listening to their voicemail. Brands need to find out what their fans want, to communicate with them. Engagement – dialogue with their fans – is essential. Automation will not achieve this.
When apps go wrong…
More importantly your automated updates to Facebook may not be seen. And with the importance of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which determines how much visibility your updates receive, it may undermine your entire Facebook strategy.
Take a look at these examples below, taken from my own News Feeds. If you’re using an app to automate your updates to Facebook, they may well be aggregated like these. This means:
- they are less likely to be seen by fans, which means…
- lower impressions and lower interaction, which means…
- a lower EdgeRank, which means…
- they are less likely to be seen by fans, which means…
well, you should get the picture by now
So, if you’re using an app to automate your posts to Facebook, have a rethink. Invest the time and you’ll reap rewards. Be wary of short cuts – in the long run they’ll save you time, but gain you nothing.Scroll to top
In 1990, an argument between Val d’Isere and Chamonix over who had the best skiers resulted in the first ever ‘Boss des Bosses’.
This bumps competition expanded to include, in differerent years, Verbier, Zermatt, Meribel, Courchevel and Val Thorens and became one of the highlights of every season worker’s season.
Boss des Bosses >>> The ChamJam
By 1996, the Boss was just part of a much larger event called the ‘ChamJam’. It’s easy to forget with the proliferation of music/action events in the Alps now that the ChamJam was a game-changer. It was the first event to feature the ‘new school’ of snowboarding action, bringing in the music that fits so well with the freestyle scene.
The beginning of the end
Unfortunately 2003 saw the ChamJam bite the dust as an attempt to ramp up the scale of the event by creating their own arena – a giant marquee erected in front of the old ice-rink – failed spectularly. Complaints on the first night from locals (rumoured to be close friends of the mayor…) meant the venue was closed down early on the first night and was unable to open on the second night. Although the last night did go ahead, it was too late to recover financially and the ChamJam never reappeared.
Of course, talk to Chamoniards and season workers from the time and you’ll hear a hundred different reasons why it all went wrong. Here we are just going to focus on the positive – the ChamJam was a forerunner for many major events that now take place every winter. At its peak, it was the focus of freestyle in the Alps.
The ChamJam…chapeau!Scroll to top
An Epic Social Media Fail
This story hit the news earlier this year, and is worth revisiting as it is an example of an epic social media fail within snowsports.
In December 2010, four senior staff at Sunshine Village were dismissed after an incident, allegedly involving the owner’s son, who was found skiing in a closed area and was escorted off the hill.
The morale of staff fell further in January 2011 when the patroller who had removed the skier was also dismissed.
This final straw led to a one day strike by other staff in support. They called in sick and the mountain was unable to open fully.
So not ideal for Sunshine, but how did this become a PR disaster?
The morning of the strike Sunshine posted on their Facebook page that due to staff ‘illness’ a number of its lifts would be closed. The post attracted almost 100 comments, many from staff and locals claiming that the real reason for the closure was the protest against the unfair dismissals, and also including complaints from those disappointed with the paltry $20 reduction from the $70 lift ticket price.
Where’s the engagement?
Despite this, at no point did Sunshine respond to any of these comments. Nor did they when later posting updates about which of the lifts were open. They did delete unfavourable user comments though.
Then they really stirred it up with the following post five days later, effectively accusing their own Facebook fans of being dishonest.
As you can imagine, this merely escalated the negative comments on the Sunshine page, as well as on Twitter, on other social networks, and, ultimately, in the press.
By the end of the month, Sunshine had deleted their Facebook page…!
What have we learned?
Social media only works if you engage with your audience. If you do end up in a position where your customers are unhappy, sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will go away is no solution. If you don’t engage in dialogue, the conversation will leave you behind.
Social media means that is now much easier than previously to monitor conversations about your brand. Make sure you have a plan and can react when you need to.
Sunshine might not have been able to resolve this situation perfectly, but if they had made an effort to respond to some of their customers’ issues; and certainly offered a discount or refund to the customers who travelled to the mountain that day and were disappointed, then their stock would never have fallen so low.
This whole case is currently going through the courts in Canada.
Various websites have been approached by Sunshine’s lawyers and asked to remove any comments relating to the case. We wait in trepidation.
Sunshine Village now has a new Facebook page with a healthy 3000 fans and plenty of interaction.
However, the ‘Support Ski Patrol wronged by Sunshine Village Ski Resort’ fan page has 8316.Scroll to top
Following on from our look at the top resorts on Facebook in Austria and France, it’s now Scotland’s turn. With only five resorts, this didn’t take so long to research as the others, but please do let us know if we’ve any omissions or errors. In the meantime, here’s the Facebook chart for Scotland:
The Top 5 Scottish Ski Resorts on Facebook
1. Glenshee Ski Centre (4875 fans)
2. Nevis Range (2838)
3. Glencoe Mountain Resort (2525)
4. The Lecht (1351)
5. Cairngorm (379)
Glenshee has more Facebook fans than Val d’Isere
As you’d expect, the Scottish resorts don’t tend to have as many fans as the top European resorts, but it tickled us to see that Glenshee – which topped the Scottish list – has more Facebook fans than Val d’Isere…
As with other ski resorts, the resorts have chosen a variety of categories to describe themselves. The Lecht is a ‘Local Business’, with Glencoe a ‘Sports Venue’ and the Nevis Range in the more common ‘Sport/Recreation/Activities’ section. These categories don’t make a huge amount of difference to anything, but they do affect picture tagging options.
Individuals or Companies?
I was surprised to see that both Glenshee and Cairngorm have set up individual profile pages, rather than company pages. There are pros and cons of each option, but generally I would recommend all businesses have a ‘company’ fan page, as they offer more functionality. An ‘individual’ page can be a useful additional as part of the overall campaign.
BTW we did see that the Cairngorms National Park has a Facebook page with almost 5000 friends, but it’s not a ski resort specific page, so it was excluded.Scroll to top
Chamonix Green & White