Monday, December 14, 2015

Ski Resorts & Social Media (Intro)

Statistics demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to benefit destinations, but also a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results.
To some, social media has developed a reputation for being a passing marketing interest, and therefore, an unprofitable one. To others, it’s a buzzword with no practical advantages and a steep, complicated learning curve.
Destinations join social media, as a must, but in many cases it's only something they feel they should do, but without a strategy in how to manage it or use for.

But despite all objections:
  • Social media continues to influence how consumers interact with destinations and share content every day.
  • Social media plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about destinations.
  • In fact, a huge majority of consumers researching about destinations through multiple online sources learned about a specific destination through social networking sites.
Big players in the ski business like Vail Resorts really understand the potential to be an active player in the social media. "Social media is playing a major role in accelerating the decision cycle of consumers who patronize ski resorts. As a result, one of the country’s largest such companies - Vail Resorts - has abandoned its long-time advertising strategies and practices. In their place, the billion-dollar-a-year corporation, which operates five major resorts and twenty hotels, has built a new in-house marketing operation that uses social media and other digital venues to constantly engage skiing enthusiasts in real time".

Here’s a list of the ways social media marketing can be good for your ski resort:
  1. Increased Brand Recognition. Your social media networks are just new channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and keeps you in touch with your existing customers.
  2. Improved Destination loyalty. Destinations who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their guests.
  3. Higher Destination Authority. Interacting with your guests regularly is a show of good faith for other guests. The more people that are talking good things about you on social media, the more valuable and authoritative your destination will seem to new guests. Your guests want to share their experiences and you want those experiences to be positive.
  4. Increased Inbound Traffic. Every social media profile you add is another path leading back to your site, and every piece of content you syndicate on those profiles is another opportunity for a new visitor. The more quality content you syndicate on social media, the more inbound traffic you’ll generate. Your website's ranking in the search results of various search engines can sometimes be affected by the size and influence of your social network. As your social following grows, your visibility in search engines may also increase.
  5. Richer Guest Experiences. Social media, at its core, is a communication channel and every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your customer service level and enrich your relationship with your guests. SM also gives you an opportunity to gain valuable information about what your guests are interested in and what is important for them. Being able to personalize deals and offers to a specific segment is a huge benefit of social media marketing. By understanding what your audience likes and dislikes, you can create offers that appeal to their lifestyle.
  6. Networking with influencers. Involving VIPs, destination advocates, and individual influencers can help you to improve your reach and reputation. On social media, your stakeholders (guests, partners, etc.) can easily share their opinions and experiences about your destination. They can create or forward content related to your ski resort.
And remember, even if you think social media is not suited to your destination, simply logging on to see what your competitors are doing in the social mediam or finding out what your customers are saying about you might be a valuable exercise.

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