Advertising can do many things. It can motivate, inspire and, all too often, annoy (car ads, anyone?)
At it’s best, good marketing can also make us laugh, engage our attention and impress us with stunning creativity.
As a judge for the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Marketing Awards, I get to see the best of the best in ski resort marketing and communications.
Today, I’m excited to share the 2017 winners with you.
Best Overall Marketing Campaign: Killington Resort, Vermont
Now check out this.
In November 2016, Killington hosted the Audi FIS Women’s World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom races, the first FIS racing in the east since 1991.
Ski racing is huge in New England and Killington capitalized on the region’s native enthusiasm, building excitement for the races and the coming ski season throughout the fall.
While the campaign permeated all aspects of Killington‘s marketing, these short videos grab attention by cleverly using well-known references. They’re fun, effective and evergreen.
Best Use of Mobile Technology: Boreal Mountain Resort, California
Many of us are familiar with mobile apps that record our ski days and provide resort information. So rather the recreate what other resorts are doing, Boreal Mountain Resort developed a retro game called Ride the Magic.
Website-based, Ride the Magic can be played anytime, anywhere you have an Internet connection. At the end of the game, users are offered discounted lift tickets.
But you don’t have to be skiing Boreal or even thinking about skiing Boreal to enjoy the game.
Best Family Campaign: Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colorado
Often, when asked about planning affordable family ski vacations, I suggest visiting smaller resorts. Sunlight Mountain Resort, located between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, Colorado is one of my favorite recommendations.
Why? Because Sunlight offers a unique Ski, Swim, Stay package that is very affordable, not just for families, but for any group of friends.
“Ski, Swim, and Stay was unprecedented when it was first introduced in the 1989/90 ski season so it’s very rewarding to see it receive national distinction as the best family ski package in the industry,” says Troy Hawks, Sunlight Marketing and Sales Director.
Best “Bring a Friend” Campaign: Pico Mountain, Vermont
Killington’s next door neighbor, Pico Mountain offers local skiing at it’s best. It’s a popular place where generations of skiers have learned to ski and snowboard.
Surveys show that many new skiers and riders take up winter sports at the urging of their friends. The nationwide “Bring a Friend” campaign capitalizes on this and aims to make learning to ski and ride more fun and less stressful.
What sets Pico Mountain apart is that they offer a free lift ticket, any day of the season to any guest bringing a friend who signs up for a First Time Ski and Ride Package.
Best Social Media Campaign: Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, California
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows won this category with a social media campaign that took advantage of this winter’s prodigious snowfall.
Using the hashtag #JanuBuried, Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows built awareness and excitement for the never-ending snow, while simultaneously generating significant social media engagement.
Best Direct Marketing Program: Bristol Mountain Resort, New York
Bristol Mountain focused their direct marketing efforts on helping guests navigate the learn to ski and snowboard process and choose the best lessons to help them meet their goals.
A user-friendly, online quiz recommends lessons or lesson packages, while familiarizing guests of all ages with Bristol Mountain.
Best Use of Video Marketing: Tamarack Resort, Idaho
Tamarack Resort has had more than it’s share of ups and downs, and we’re not talking about the terrain.
After being shuttered for several years, Tamarack reopened for the 2015-16 ski season, only to find itself temporarily under water again last fall.
When rumors about the status of the resort began swirling, the Tamarack communications team made three videos showing terrain improvements for the coming season. These videos changed the narrative until Tamarack named a new owner was on October 10, 2017.
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