Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vail Resorts Re-Imagines the Vacation Photo Experience With the Second Generation of EpicMix

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what it's worth if we take your perfect vacation photo, deliver it to your computer or mobile device for free and then combine it with the most important information and memories from your trip.
On August 31th, Vail Resorts announced the next generation of its popular ski and snowboard application, EpicMix which will revolutionize how guests take and share photos at all six of the Company's mountain resorts when it launches this season. Upon request, the Company's photographers will take portrait and action photos and automatically deliver the images to the guest's EpicMix account by quickly scanning a guest's RF-enabled lift ticket or season pass.
Using this RF technology, EpicMix photographers will seamlessly deliver an image to everyone in a group picture and kids' photos will be sent to their parent's secure account. The most revolutionary part is that Vail Resorts will provide these professional photos free to guests, in a "low-res" format for sharing on Facebook and Twitter, while a high-resolution image can be purchased online allowing guests to print unlimited copies at the vendor of their choice or on their own.
In addition to professional images, guests will be able to take their own photos and combine them in one place together with their vertical feet, digital pins and memories of other special moments of their visit through the new EpicMix platform. They'll also be able to create a "Remix" collage, a singular snapshot (or jpeg) customized with their digital information that captures their entire mountain experience.
EpicMix allows all of these images and information to easily be shared on Facebook and other social sites, or uploaded to popular photo storage sites such as Flickr, Snapfish and Shutterfly. Facebook estimates that more than 250 million photos are uploaded each day, making photo sharing one of the most popular activities on Facebook.
To broaden the engagement of EpicMix and provide an improved experience to all of its guests, Vail Resorts announced that it will eliminate nearly all paper tickets for the 2011-2012 winter season by providing guests with a reusable and durable card loaded with their daily lift tickets or season pass. The upgraded and smarter lift access card, which will be provided at no extra charge, will come enabled with RF technology and allow for a hassle-free "easy scan" process at the lifts meaning that there's no need to show a ticket or pass to the Vail Resorts lift scanning employees.
In addition to the integration of photo capabilities, the next release of EpicMix will be faster and will include hundreds of new pins and a new interface showing guests the pins they can earn.
"Last year's introduction of EpicMix was truly revolutionary in how it brought together the digital and physical experience of skiing and riding without anything getting in the way of truly enjoying the outdoors", said Rob Katz, Vail Resorts chief executive officer. "This season we're re-imagining how guest photos are taken, stored and shared at our resorts and delivering a groundbreaking way for skiers and riders to capture their experience on the mountains. Our six resorts will be offering something not available at any other ski mountain or other resort destination. Through EpicMix we're allowing people to remember their vacation - and photos are one of the most critical ways to create and share those memories".
When Vail Resorts launched EpicMix last year experts called it a "game changer" and "one of the most ridiculously cool ..." mobile strategies. Six months after it debuted, it won a "People's Voice" Webby award in the Experimental and Innovation category for mobile devices.
The true innovation is that the app and online site allows guests to selectively share stats and information via Twitter and Facebook without requiring skiers or snowboarders to do anything different other than enjoy their skiing and snowboarding experience. Instead of manual check-ins, the RF-enabled pass or ticket allows for automatic check-ins at each lift at all six resorts, which then tracks the vertical feet and rewards guests for accomplishments like riding every lift in one day to earn the Conqueror pin.
Nearly 100,000 guests activated their EpicMix accounts last ski and snowboard season which equated to a 15-percent adoption rate and resulted in 275,000 social posts on Facebook and Twitter and more than 35 million social impressions (based on Facebook's estimate of 130 friends per person).
EpicMix will be available to all Vail Resorts guests who purchase any lift ticket or season pass this year. Almost every ticket and pass will be enabled with RF technology and allow guests to participate in EpicMix and the new photo sharing functionality starting in mid-December 2011.
Once guests get their RF-enabled pass or lift ticket, they can simply log on to http://www.epicmix.com/ and activate their EpicMix accounts and download the free EpicMix mobile app for the iPhone, Android or other smart phone.

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