For the second year, I have had the privilege of being a judge for the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Marketing Awards.
Today, I’m excited to share the winners with you.
I hope you’ll find it interesting and perhaps learn more about some really amazing snowsports destinations.
Best Overall Marketing Campaign
Taos Ski Valley wins this category and deservedly so, with a simple, beautiful, evocative campaign entitled Taos Secrets, Revealed. A combination of print, digital and video, the campaign capitalizes on the region’s cultural heritage and unique geographic location within the “land of enchantment.”
The visual campaign is simple, bold and fits the brand. Cultural images of Taos Pueblo are used effectively, along with stunning mountains and the faces of real Taos skiers and riders.
Four videos focused on different locals and aspects of winter culture in the greater Taos Ski Valley area. Here is an example of one of them. They are all worth watching, if you’re interested.
If you haven’t been (or even if you have) Taos Ski Valley is definitely worth a visit this winter. I’ll be posting about our ski trip to TSV sometime this fall (so you can plan your visit!).
While you might that many of the resorts that enter the overall marketing plan are large resorts with big budgets, not all of them are marquee destinations.
This year, an impressive entry came from Tamarack Resort, an Idaho real estate and ski development that went belly up and is in the process of redefining and redeveloping itself.
Focusing on the idea that everyone who skis Tamarack (and possibly buys a home) is “family,” the resort not only promoted it’s down home vibe, but also ongoing capital improvements and terrain expansions. While they didn’t win, I wanted to give them a shout out for perseverance and an effective, low-budget marketing effort.
Best Family Campaign
This is, of course, a category near and dear to my heart and this year. And for 2016, the winner is Ski Apache, New Mexico. Owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Ski Apache is the southernmost ski area in the U.S.
Their family campaign, From First Timer to Life Timer, offers a punch card that can be shared amongst a family, a group of friends or used by one person. The card offers five lift tickets and five lessons, as well as a bonus lift ticket and a one-hour private lesson. When all of the punches are used up, one person earns a season pass. It’s a great way for families, or anyone really, to try snowsports, and hopefully get hooked, at a reasonable cost.
Best “Bring a Friend” Campaign
“Bring a Friend” is an initiative of NSAA designed to introduce people to snowsports. It is part of the annual January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month when many resorts and ski areas offer discounted lessons, rentals and more to new skiers and riders.
The winner this year is Sunlight Mountain Resort in Colorado. Sunlight had a two-part campaign, aimed at adult skiers and riders.
The Best 40 You’ve Ever Had was designed to capture the attention of guests visiting the Roaring Fork Valley during the Winter X Games and others within a short drive of Sunlight. The promotion offered an eye-catching graphic and $40 lift tickets (if bought in pairs).
The second part of their campaign was the Slope and Soak 4 Pack, offering 4 full day adult lift tickets and 4 passes to Iron Mountain Hot Springs in nearby Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Best Use of Mobile Technology
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and Ski Area in New Hampshire won this category with customized push messages sent to guests up to three times per day.
Utilizing indoor location technology, Cannon Mountain could tell when a guest was inside and idle and timed the message to arrive after they’d taken off their gloves and mittens. Day ticket holders and season pass holders received different messaging, as did parents of kids in ski and ride school. The goal of the campaign was to give people information and savings appropriate to their interests.
Best Social Media Campaign
Peek ‘n Peak Resort in New York won this category with a Throwback Thursday social media campaign.
During the 2015-16 season, they threw it back to 1987, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2005, with lift tickets priced accordingly on those dates. Peek ‘n Peak encouraged guests to post their pictures from that year (or thereabouts) with lift tickets awarded for the “best” and “oldest” #TBT entries on Facebook and Instagram.
I liked this campaign because anyone and everyone could participate in the Throwback ticket pricing, whether they posted a photo or not.
Best Use of Video Marketing
New Hampshire’s Pat’s Peak Ski Area won this competitive category with weekly 3 minute videos describing different parts of mountain operations and the guest experience.
Informative and engaging, the videos were neither too long, nor too technical. Covering a wide-range of topics, from adult clinics, to racing, to ski patrol and so much more, the videos are a lasting resource that will be very helpful to newcomers and old-timers, alike.
Best Direct Marketing Program
Direct marketing works best when consumers receive the information they need and want. Stowe Resort in Vermont developed electronic profiles based on guest surveys. Linking these surveys to each guest’s RFID lift ticket allowed the resort to target specific demographic groups with information and savings depending upon their primary interests.
Definitely one of the more technical categories, the campaign was a big success for the resort and it’s guests who received the information they wanted, not just the information the resort wanted to share.
- Ski Resort Marketing: The Best of the Best for 2015, July 20, 2015.
- Talk to Your Kids: Skiing Safety and Skiing Safely, January 12, 2015.
- On January 8, Help Set a Record for the World’s Largest Ski Lesson, December 30, 2015.
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