As a winter sports provider, you want each season to be better than the last. To help you to achieve this, we have been browsing Laurent Vanat’s “2015 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism”.
Vanuat predicts future growth in Eastern European and Asian countries, and states that they may reach the weight equivalent of other major regions in terms of skiers by 2020. If your business is located in these regions, can you make the most of this? If it isn’t, can you compete?
Here are several insights from the report - alongside our own pieces of advice - to help you make your next ski season the best ever.
1. Make targeting future generations a priority
Vanat advises that ski resorts and winter sport providers address the “generational issue”. At present, baby-boomers represent the majority of participants in the winter sports market, but there is a lack of enthusiasm among the future generations that will replace them.
There is a need to stimulate the market, but this is not always sufficiently addressed. However, if it is, Vanat predicts that worldwide skier visits may exceed 420 million by 2020.
2. If you focus on innovation and customer relationship management, it will be easier to convert non-skiers to customers
Gaining new winter sports customers by attracting non-skiers and converting them into loyal participants is far from easy, and requires a significant effort with only gradual results. Vanat emphasises that innovation and customer relationship management is key, particularly when it comes to upgrading ski lifts and providing high-quality lodging. He adds that,
“If traditional destinations still want to compete, they need to manage quality for infrastructure, equipment and services throughout the entire resort”.
3. Work on your online presence
The internet is a powerful sales and promotion tool to engage existing winter sports customers and attract new ones, namely through social media. Moreover, a successful online presence can allow you to enhance communication with customers and facilitate online bookings and ski package sales.
To build your online marketing strategy, why not check out our free social media handbook?
As well as enhancing your social media presence, work on your visual marketing and your on-website experience. However, make sure you don’t put online experiences ahead of the direct customer experiences you provide.
4. Personalise your marketing and customer service
Vanat explains that “In this globalised world, everyone appreciates personalised service. Technology, and especially the Internet, now makes it possible to offer one-stop shopping where clients are able to take care of all their needs”.
Is your website a one-stop shop with online bookings, rentals, and information about your services? These features will not only enhance your service for each customer, but also allow you to get bookings months in advance.
5. Cultivate convenience for your customer and yourself
With an online booking engine, you can also provide your customers with the convenience that Vanat emphasises is key: “the market is asking for convenience and those that will find how to supply it will be the winners”. You can also consider partnering with other companies (using a feature like our Partner Network) in order to advertise and even sell each other’s services.
To make running your business more convenient for you, consider using a mobile card reader to process payments on the slopes. This is a handy feature of using TrekkSoft’s booking and rental software.
6. Remember that ski holidays are about more than skiing and boarding
Winter tourists spend just as much time at the spa, indulging in good food and wine, and going on nature treks and other leisure activities as they do on the snow. It’s important to realise this, as has Laurent Reyuaud, general delegate of France’s national ski lift operator:
“The state of mind of holiday-makers has changed in 30 years. Nowadays it’s not so much about effort as about enjoyment".
He adds that, “People used to come here for sport. Now they come for pleasure”. The average time that winter sports travellers spend on skis or a board has dropped from six hours a day two decades ago to just four hours.
7. Think about the experience you’re cultivating for your customers
With your winter sports company, what experience do you want to provide your customers with? As a few examples, it might be adventure, adrenaline, relaxation, or rejuvenation. Think about this, then check if your offline and online marketing, text content, and visual content conveys this effectively.
To help you on your way with your content, we compiled our best tips in our free writing handbook:
What advice do you have to share with other winter sports providers? You can read Vanat's full report on the ski industry here.