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Resorts and Instructors

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

Few people want to ski or snowboard alone. 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 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.

We invite you to participate in the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend since you are a partner in the Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Bring a Friend Initiative. 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 initiative called The Triple Play. Parts 2 and 3 are also posted in the toolkit.

Other BAF and LSSM programs can continue throughout the month and even beyond January. It is up to partners to decide their programs and what works best. The Challenge Weekend is simply a “media hook” and a way to draw attention to skiing and snowboarding early in the winter. While the words “The Triple Play” is an internal industry reference, partners are encouraged to use it if they plan to develop programs around all three “Plays”.

How can I get involved in The Bring a Friend Challenge?

First of all, use the toolkit as a resource and be part of the nationwide effort to generate new customers for skiing and snowboarding. Specifically:

OFFERS: Create a Bring a Friend offer. Alert your current customers that January is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” and the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend is January 5 – 7.

Provide an incentive for your season pass-holders to bring newcomers to your location during the Bring a Friend Challenge weekend. Encourage them to help newcomers sign up for lessons. Use your various communications channels and customer mailing lists to spread the word.

Tap beginners from last year and encourage them to come back again and – this time – “bring a friend.”

Use the Bring a Friend Challenge registration form to list your program(s) 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 BAF and “Learn To” programs also will be listed.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Work with your resort association to organize 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.

PR, SOCIAL MEDIA and WEB SITES: Contact state and regional magazines and other popular media to let them know that January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. If you have one, 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. Make the information easy to find – like a posting on your web site’s home page.

Take part in the Facebook LIVE – Bring a Friend Challenge outreach.

Link to the www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site so they can get basic information on preparing for a first-time experience, tips on what to expect during a first-time visit to a resort, information on how to dress, links to videos and much more.

CONSUMER SKI/SNOWBOARD SHOWS: Consider preparing a special “Bring a Friend offer that can be promoted at fall and early winter consumer shows if you plan to exhibit. Work with your resort association if the association also attends. This can drive traffic to the Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend. Shows attract current skiers and snowboarders who are in a position to “bring a friend” for beginner lessons.

RETAILERS/REPS/SUPPLIERS: Work with local retailers, and also product suppliers, to organize a “Bring a Friend” night in the 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). Take the initiative yourself to make this happen if you think it is worthwhile. Be sure retailer partners are aware of the elements in your Bring a Friend package since many retailers also lease equipment.

PARTY: Organize a “Bring a Friend Challenge” Party 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. Consider involving local retailers, reps and suppliers.

NATIONAL PROMOTIONS: 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

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: http://bit.ly/2sYCVUn

Customer Service Suggestions for Bring a Friend Challenge Weekend

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, perhaps for the Martin Luther King weekend or for World Snow Day. Many of the suggestions presented here also apply to World Snow Day.

Click HERE for Part 2 – World Snow Day