Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend (Part 1 of The Triple Play)

Snow sports industry research indicates that most newcomers are introduced to skiing or snowboarding through friends and family members. And, the number one reason that newcomers want to learn is to “spend more time with friends and family members” already involved. The Bring a Friend campaign is a way to connect the dots.

The Bring a Friend (BAF) Challenge Weekend, January 5 – 7, 2018 is being positioned as the kick-off for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (January). when resorts throughout the U.S. offer great deals on beginner lessons and packages. Some are one day and some are multi-day. Most include lift ticket, lesson(s) and beginner rental equipment.

The partner toolkit – www.ski-snowboard.org - includes lots of background information as well as “Bring a Friend” artwork and graphics for partners to use in their own efforts. PR messages in the toolkit are meant to address what motivates and what deters beginners.

The Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend is Part 1 of the new strategy called The Triple Play. Parts 2 and 3 of The Triple Play are also posted in the toolkit.

Any and all BAF and LSSM programs can continue throughout the month and even beyond January. It is up to partners to decide what works best. The Challenge Weekend is a way to kick off Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. It is a “media hook” and a way to draw attention to skiing and snowboarding early in the winter.

How can I get involved in the Bring a Friend Challenge/Triple Play?

First of all, use the toolkit as a resource and be part of the nationwide effort to generate new customers for skiing and snowboarding. A “suggestions” document for resorts is posted HERE. Below are suggestions for resort associations and many of these ideas also are applicable to World Snow Day.

YOUR MEMBERS: Encourage your members to participate in the Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Bring a Friend initiative and especially The Triple Play.

Work with your members to alert current customers and newcomers that January is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” and the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend is January 5 – 7. Encourage your members to provide an incentive for season pass-holders, and other loyal customers, to bring newcomers to a resort location during the Bring a Friend Challenge weekend.

Encourage your members to organize a “Bring a Friend Challenge” Party at their resorts sometime during the weekend of January 5 – 7, 2018. It’s a way to make newcomers feel like they are part of the “ski and snowboard family” and a way to thank friends for bringing them. Local retailers could be involved in this.

Encourage your members to use the Bring a Friend Challenge Registration form so that programs can be listed on the www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site. LSS(M)/BAF organizers will be heavily promoting the Challenge weekend as the kick-off to Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Other Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and Bring a Friend programs also will be listed even if they are not part of the Challenge Weekend.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Consider organizing a press conference or media event the week leading up to January 5 – 7 to promote January as Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and also the Bring a Friend Challenge. Some states already are doing this successfully. This is a way to generate publicity for learning to ski and snowboard n a local, regional and national level.

PROCLAMATION: Ask your governor or state legislature (or both) to declare January as "Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month" in your state. Encourage attendance on the Bring a Friend Weekend (Jan. 5 - 7) or World Snow Day (Jan. 21). Tie this in with the Press Conference and social media suggestions also listed here. 

PR and SOCIAL MEDIA: Contact state and regional magazines to let them know that January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Use your own publication to do the same. Let other media in your state(s) know early so both long and short lead media can plan to cover your state’s events.

Use your own web site, newsletters and social media outlets to inform targeted audiences of plans in your state/region.

Work with your members on the Facebook LIVE Bring a Friend Challenge outreach.

CONSUMER SKI/SNOWBOARD SHOWS: Encourage your members to prepare a special “Bring a Friend offer that can be promoted at fall and early winter consumer shows if they plan to exhibit. This can drive traffic to the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend. Develop your own Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend promotion for shows in conjunction with what your members are doing. Shows attract current skiers and snowboarders who are in a position to “bring a friend” for beginner lessons.

TOURISM DEPARTMENTS and OTHER RECREATION/GOVERNMENT AGENCIES : Consider working with your own non-resort partners, like state or regional tourism departments, to promote the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend. DO the same with recreation organizations or government agencies if your members are located on Forest Service land.

RETAILERS: When possible, work with local retailers to promote the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend. Or, encourage your members to help organize a “Bring a Friend” night in a shop prior to the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend. Retailers are encouraged to invite current customers to bring a beginner for an evening of socializing, seeing products and getting some beginner tips (like how to dress). Be sure retailer partners are aware of the elements in your Bring a Friend package since many retailers also lease equipment.

PROMOTIONS: Help us promote the www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site, along with your site, so that newcomers can get basic information on preparing for a first-time experience. The LSS(M) web site includes a map locator to partner resorts, tips on what to expect during a first-time visit to a resort, information on how to dress, links to videos and much more.

Prizes – National Bring a Friend Challenge and #firstdayfaces

National organizers of Learn to Ski and Snowboard(Month)/Bring a Friend will offer prizes to those who help newcomers sign up for beginner lessons. All partner resort locations are eligible, it is FREE and everything is done on-line via the www.learntoskiandsnowbard.org web site. Help us promote it. This year’s prize give-away will be tied into the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend.

Contest guidelines are posted at www.bringafriend.org.

You can organize your own “Challenge” with prize giveaways for your current customers who bring newbies for lessons before, during or after the national Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend.

The social media campaign #firstdayfaces is directed to newcomers. Beginners are encouraged to use #firstdayfaces when posting photos of their first day on the slopes. Several product and media partners support this effort with prizes. Last year, more than 500 photos were posted. LSS(M)/Bring a Friend partners are encouraged to promote this social media campaign. Below is a link.

http://www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org/special-programs/firstdayfaces

Industry product supplier and service partners provide the prizes for the Bring a Friend Challenge and #firstdayfaces.

PR Messages for Partners

Several research-based PR messages are listed in the Partner Toolkit. These messages are intended to reinforce the reasons newcomers want to learn how to ski or snowboard and mitigate the deterrents that discourage them from doing so. Feel free to use this information. Review PR messages HERE. 

Customer Service Suggestions to Resorts for Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend

Below are some suggestions provided to resorts. Help us encourage resorts to consider these key steps to providing a quality first-time experience.

Ask newcomers to register on-line for first-timer lessons; use the information to send a greeting and short description of what they will find upon arrival.

Designate greeters, especially for groups of newcomers, who can help guide them through “the process” and answer questions.

Provide each new guest with a visible designation (special color lift ticket) that lets resort employees know what customers are newcomers – ie, a special kind of VIP.

If you have not done so already, build into your first-timer program an incentive for newcomers to return.

Follow up with a thank you and reminder to return after the first-timer visit. Invite new customers to return for World Snow Day (if applicable) or Martin Luther King weekend.

Click HERE for Part 2 – World Snow Day