Data-Driven Marketing in the Ski Industry

    IMG_20140221_0031_NEW crSkier visits

    Skier visits are reaching all-time highs though growth rates are modest. Nationally visits increased 3.7 percent last winter, yet failed to hit the 20-year average. In Utah, skier visits increased 2.8 percent and Colorado’s visitation dipped slightly. Last winter is being described as warm to start and slow to finish with abundant snow in between. Thus, the industry is as competitive as ever. Ski resorts are now competing on the basis of data-driven marketing.

    Align with your visitors

    Successful ski resorts achieve robust growth rates by effectively targeting new visitors. Research and data analysis are your sights. Your customer is the person who visits your resort, especially year-after-year. This may seems obvious. My point is that a resort’s customer profiles are the people who currently enjoy the experience and not the people choosing to vacation elsewhere. In other words, resorts need to align with and get to know their visitors.

    Transform data into information

    Most ski resorts have access to more data and information about their guests than they realize. The information potential in rental liability forms, lodging reservations and web tracking analysis is significant. The latest Big Data technique involves taking an email address list and finding look-a-likes based on social media site attributes associated with the original email list. Knowing your customers and what they value about the experience you offer is essential to effectively communicate with them.

    free donut survey

    Ask why?

    Transaction data such as rental forms and lodging reservations will tell you a lot about your customers. You will learn where they are from, what they bought, when they traveled. You will develop detailed characterizations. Surveying your customers allows you to ask why questions. Why did they choose your destination? Why will they return?


    Knowing who your customer is and why they choose to visit your resort takes the guess work out of selling them vacation experiences. If you offer “your customer” what they want to buy, when they want to buy it, your sales will increase. This is the power of data-driven marketing.

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