Yelp!

The next assignment that we were given in my social media and branding class involves writing a review on Yelp. I haven’t had much experience with the web site except one time while I was in Palo Alto looking for Gluten Free dining. I thought the website was only for restaurants but after clicking away, there is so much more to Yelp than just restaurants.

I found reviews of ski resorts on their and wanted to see what people had to say about the ones that I frequent the most. When I pulled up the results for Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, I saw a lot of positive results. Most of them seemed to say the same thing. They had great customer service, cheap prices and lack of a crowd compared to Northstar and Squaw.

Seeing these has me wondering if resorts pay attention to the reviews that people post on here. It would be very smart to see if there are things the resort is doing wrong or things that they are doing right. If the results are very positive, they can use this to give their employees a pat on the back or let them know that their hard work is paying off.

This tool should be used as a part of a company’s social media program. Besides looking at what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook, using sites like Yelp can allow a company to see what people liked and didn’t like and potentially find a way to resolve the problem.

Here is a link to the reviews on Mt. Rose. Enjoy!

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A great example

To continue what I talked about yesterday, effective social media can be really positive and reap many rewards. Tonight, I joined my boyfriend at the Moment skis/Voleurz movie at the Moment ski shop. They are a local company here in Reno doing huge things in the ski industry.
Tonight is a great example of effective social media and advertising. Moment only uses word of mouth advertising. They use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to advertise upcoming events and create hype about their products. By using all they tools, they were able to gather a few hundred people in the back of the shop yard to show a movie, provide some beer and get everyone stoked about the upcoming season.
This type of advertising showcases social media at one of its finest. Without any of the social media tools, it would be a lot harder to get so many people out there to support the shop and what they are doing.
Everyone seemed happy and excited to be there. I didn’t hear one person complain despite the freezing temperatures and brutal chill in the air. It was really a great night and I hope the snow gods are kind enough to drop a little snow in the mountains to help get this upcoming season started!

Recent Ideas About Social Media

While reading Social Media ROI by Olivier Blanchard, it has made me think about social media differently. Many of the things he discusses are simple things that are often over looked. Like with developing a strategy for any other part of a business social media isn’t different, but yet there tends to be a lot of resistance and hesitance about starting a social media program.

In my opinion, the ski industry lacks social media game. I believe that many resorts have a “social media program” but they haven’t figured out how to be successful at it. A social media program should be more than just creating a twitter account. Setting up a Facebook page and twitter account are a great start but running them is a whole new ball game.

One example of this is Mt. Rose’s social media presence. I have worked for them for five seasons now and when I see their online presence, it makes me cringe. There twitter account puts out a lot of great tweets, but they fail to interact with those that are retweeting them or trying to establish a relationship with them. Their Facebook page does a better job of showing the interaction between between the mountain and those asking questions but it still needs help.

Blogs are one of the biggest missing components to these social media programs. A blog can be something that is really easy to update and can provide current and future guests with more information than what the main website provides. Even during the summer, a resort can keep guests informed with upcoming summer projects and what goes on during the summer time. It is something that people often ask about or wonder but never have to answer to and by simply keeping a blog with a few posts a month, it can greatly increase the online presence of a resort and possibly attract new people to the resort in the winter time.

How do you choose?

When choosing a resort to go to during the ski season, what makes you decide to go to a particular resort? I’ve always wondered what draws people to particular resorts, especially the ones around Lake Tahoe. Is it the spectacular views, or the massive terrain park, the history of the mountain, or is it just based on convenience or proximity to your location?

Skiing and snowboarding is not a cheap sport. If you don’t have a season pass or ticket vouchers to the resort of your choosing, it gets even more ridiculous. Living in the Reno/Tahoe area for the last 11 years has given me access to over ten resorts all within a two hour drive max, and yet I’ve only been to less than half of them. It’s really kind of sad that I haven’t been able to experience all the resorts in the area, but some of them, i have no interest in even trying to go because all I’ve heard are negative things.

Attracting new guests to a mountain is a very important thing that resorts need to do. They will only make so much on each individual pass holder. It’s all about getting more new guests to buy daily lift tickets, which hopefully turns them into lifetime customers. Especially with money being tight for a lot of families, how can resorts set themselves apart from others to gain an advantage over others?

Call the snow police!

Today I read an article about New Jersey passing a ski/snowboarding helmet law. This law requires that anyone who is 18 or younger must wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding. They are the first state to pass a law like this.
A big problem I see with this is enforcement. How will the law be enforced on the mountain? Will it be the parents that are responsible for their own children or will the resort be responsible for making sure all kids have the proper helmet?

This could lead to a lot of problems for the resorts there and really hurt business. I understand the safety aspect of having children wear helmets, but is this too much? I know that when I ski I prefer to wear a helmet. I found one that is super comfortable and keeps my dome warm on those blustery days that Tahoe gets. I also have many friends that prefer not to wear helmets while riding. Its their personal choice and they understand the risks they take because of the choice they are making. I believe that it all comes down to personal choice and whether you make the decision to wear one or not, no one should tell you that you have too.

If parents really wanted their kids to wear a helmet then it will be up to them to enforce their own kids to do so. There are other things a resort can do to promote children’s safety.

Here is another great article about helmets.

Ski fo Free!

If you haven’t bought your pass already, or are debating whether or not to get one, why not get one for free? One of the quickest things I learned being a cheap college student is that the cheapest way to ski for free is to work at a ski resort. Plus, you can tell mom and dad you got a job in the process.

Working at a ski resort has been a life changing choice for me. I never thought that applying to work a job that paid just enough above minimum wage would be so rewarding. Besides getting a free pass and taking advantage of all the perks being an employee has to offer, (dependent passes, half-off food and drinks, discounts for other resort day tickets, the list goes on) the people you meet and the relationships that for are priceless. The opportunities that I have gotten from working at both Mt. Rose and Northstar has been immense. The networks that you can create with both fellow employees and those regular guests that always show up ten minutes before the lift turns everyday can really be beneficial.

I highly recommend that if money is tight, you are looking for a fun, exciting and easy job, then a ski resort is a great option. It is easy to work one day a week and then enjoy the rest with friends or family on the slope.

Plus, getting to know those ski patrollers always helps on a pow day when you want to be the first to get the fresh stuff in those avalanche prone areas!

You rock!

Providing excellent customer service is something that I consider to be an important part of sales. Especially when you are selling something that people are spending a lot of money on. Buying a season pass from a ski resort is a big decision and commitment.
Today was the last day that Mt. Rose was going to sell season passes at Bobo’s in Reno. While I had anticipated it to be a fairly busy day, I did not it expect it to be as crazy as it was. For over six hours we had a line that took at least 45 to get through. Despite the line and wait, everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Those of us working did our best to make sure everyone had all their questions answered and I didn’t hear one person complain.
All day long, I listened to guest after guest compliment all of us on how efficient our line was, how awesome it was that they could buy their pass here in town, and even how helpful each one of us was. It was really refreshing to hear that all our hard work was noticed and that people saw that we really do care about each person we help all day long. Whether you are the first guest pr the last, we strive to provide excellent service so that can never be a reason to not go back to Mt. Rose.