Here’s a superb example of tourism leaders re-thinking marketing in response to the down-turn and the emergence of social and rich media. CEO Rob Katz explains via video, of course, how Vail has completely re-thought its marketing strategy and relationships with skiers.
The full story is available from Advertising Age link here
The recession significantly shortened the planning time for the purchase and sale of ski experiences - decreasing from 4-6 months to 2-3 weeks. Vail also recognized the volatility in the marketplace and realized that print media restricted their ability to respond to short-term, even real-time demand.
Last year Vail had spent 80% of its budget before the vacation period so couldn’t respond to last minute demand. So they took the brave decision to pull 50% of their ad spend out of print and put in reserve. Vail now uses social media and operates like a political campaign to communicate in real time response to local market conditions.
It’s a brave call – their competitors are still present in the big ski publications with the conventional rich brand messaging but Vail has a war chest with which to strike as demand rises closer to the holidays. No wonder Katz likens himself to Braveheart!
If it works and the gamble pays off, you can bet others will follow – hopefully the print community possesses similar gutsy leadership within its ranks. They’re going to need it.