Gregg Blanchard’s website, Slopefillers.com, is like an online candy store for ski resort marketers, with quick-hitting pieces on the now eternal struggle between web and print, as well as rankings on the top 25 resorts on Twitter and Facebook. Blanchard posted the stats below listing the top 10 Ski Resorts in terms of YouTube views on May 23, 2011:
TOP 10 - Total Video Views
1. Jackson Hole - 850,571
2. Sunday River - 837,858
3. Canyons - 706,664
4. Vail Resorts - 700,906
5. Breckenridge - 504,430
6. Heavenly - 470,703
7. Hunter Mtn - 460,870
8. Whistler Blackcomb - 441,604
9. Aspen - 438,466
10. Mountain Creek - 415,227
After taking a look through the site, SNEWS® called up the self-described “ski resort marketing enthusiast” and internet marketing professional with a quick set of questions to provide a little more insight into how--and why--he’s tracking this stuff.
SNEWS: How are you tracking these numbers?
Gregg Blanchard: With these YouTube numbers I am actually tracking them manually. I have the process streamlined so it only takes a few minutes, but I am recording them by hand. It's not the most efficient method, but I chose to do this to verify that they are current (sometimes APIs delivered delayed figures), get a feel for what videos are being added and quality of each, and to have my source be the public numbers that everyone sees.
GB: Video is an extremely powerful medium and is changing rapidly with POV technology and camera phones. It's also incredibly easy to consume and can tell a much deeper story that text and images ever could. That said, sharing sites like YouTube give us a real time view into what a resort may be doing to use video in their marketing. These videos, are often a good indicator of what the resort is doing in general with their marketing as well as an indicator of how much they are trying to take advantage of web video hubs like YouTube.
SNEWS: What impact do you think these views actually have for the resorts, especially as far actually translating to ticket sales, visits, or even really boosting awareness?
GB: That is something that can really only be answered on a video-by-video basis. For example, a series of Simon Dumon webisodes were uploaded to Sunday River's channel. The resort is rarely mentioned but they've had thousands and thousands of views. On the other hand, Jackson Hole's epic opening day videos has a similar number of views, but translates to much higher brand awareness and a positive image of the resort which could lead to someone buying a ticket. I don't think the goal of videos is necessarily ticket sales. Indirectly, yes, of course that's the hope. But the first goal is more likely to build buzz around on-mountain conditions and events and build a brand both locally and on a larger scale.
SNEWS: What do you think is setting the leaders apart?
GB: Focus. The resorts that are creating consistent, quality videos and promoting them by embedding the YouTube version on their website are the ones that get the most views and exposure. The resorts that toss up a random, clearly amateur video every now and again just don't get reap any benefit. Even daily video reports don't seem to do much as they are usually thrown together quickly, lacking real production quality. Consistent, unique, quality video content really is key.
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