How Vail Resorts is converting Aussie skiers

04 Aug 2017

  • Strategy
  • Thought leadership
  • Digital Marketing

By:Joe Brookes and Andrew Birmingham, Which-50

Data roadmaps and digital channels have pushed Vail Resorts ahead of the competition in the ski industry according to May Lilley, Senior Manager of Australia Destination Marketing Vail Resorts.

“Data-driven segmentation and personalisation provide the greatest business opportunity, as well as delivering on our guest service mission,” she said.

Lilley has been charged with engaging with and converting Australian skiers to Vail destination resorts across the U.S. and Canada, and she spoke with Which-50 about how she’s using data and digital to do it.

“I work very closely with our resort in Australia, Perisher, leveraging our database of pass holders with year-round access to our portfolio.”

“The digital channel allows us to gain real-time insights into what messages are resonating in each geo, as well as the best product message to deliver at each phase of their trip planning, based on their online purchase behaviour.”

Lilley is one of the marketing experts speaking at the ADMA Global Forum 2017, being held in Sydney from August 24th and 25th.

Data-driven roadmaps are a big part of Vail Resorts marketing strategy and Lilley said the data insights Vail Resorts are capturing allow them to craft better and more personalised products and customer experiences.

“These products not only allow us to learn a lot of information about our guests, and helps to serve our mission of providing an experience of a lifetime, but also serves to foster commitment and loyalty.”

Skiers are a passionate bunch, but there is plenty of competition for their attention and season passes can be a tough sell. Vail has differentiated itself and grown where others have stagnated, Lilley said.

The results are impressive.

“While the overall ski industry has not grown over the last five years, Vail Resorts has grown skier visits via products like the Epic Pass and Epic Mix,” she said.

Programmatic technology is providing the nuances marketers need to deliver the right message, to the right customer at the right time. And it’s something Lilley and Vail Resorts are taking full advantage of.

“In such a niche and competitive business, we can ensure that we’re getting in front of the right guest, with the right offer, to both engage and convert,” she said.

“This means not only communicating a message that resonates at a guest level based on behaviours, preferences and motivations but also delivered at an optimal time through the right channel, based on their personal planning and booking cycle.”

One of the great attractions of data driven marketing is the process continues to improve with more data and insights. The view of the customer is strengthened and consequently, experiences become more personalised and effective.

It becomes beneficial for the customer too as experiences are improved, which Lilley said produces customer satisfaction and advocacy.

Vail Resorts are also leveraging programmatic capabilities, Lilley said, and it’s allowed them “to be very targeted in our digital marketing efforts”.

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