The suggestions below are examples intended to get your creative juices flowing.
1) The 2017-18 season offeres some unique opportunities for recruiting newcomers. Coordinate with resort management and marketing/PR to make sure everyone is on the same page in regard to recruiting newcomers; educate yoursef and your staff about the fact that January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) and what Bring a Friend is all about. Tap into The Triple Play strategy that includes the Bring a Friend Weekend, World Snow Day and the fact that 2018 is an Olympics year.
Benefit: Positioning January as Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and participating in The Triple Play provides a PR hook that attracts attention from the trade and consumer media. Last year, the LSS(M)/BAF initiative generated One Billion media impressions.
Sample Plan for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Program
January Special Offers
Bring a Friend/Bring a Friend Weekend
World Snow Day
2) Make sure it is easy for newcomers to find “special learning deals” on your venue’s web site and how to sign up for it. Don’t make them hunt for it. Visibility on the home page of your web site that leads to a registration page for beginner lessons is ideal.
Benefit: A clear path to learning information and on-line registration makes it easy for consumers to find and register for your learning program(s). Newcomers who have to hunt too long for information are likely to go elsewhere. Here is an example from Purgatory at Durango, CO.
3) Work with your colleagues on an incentive for current customers to “Bring a Friend” to your venue for beginner lessons. Consider using the Bring a Friend Challenge as an incentive. Consider involving your venue’s retail operation or community retailers in an effort to educate newcomers about how to dress properly or how to select equipment.
4) Tell your current students about the Bring a Friend Challenge. It is free for partners to use and requires little work other than promoting it. The Challenge rewards current skiers and rider for helping newcomers take beginner lessons from a professional instructor as well as newcomers who bring other newcomers for a beginner lesson. You can look like a hero. Work with reps associated with companies providing prizes for the national Challenge. A companion program to the Challenge is the social media campaign called First Day Faces. Newcomers are asked to post photos of themselves and/or friends on their first day learning using the hash tag #firstdayfaces. They can win some great prizes. Both the Challenge and First Day Faces are free for you to use.
5) Send Learn to and Bring a Friend offers to LSS(M)/BAF organizers so they can be posted in the "Special Programs" page on the www,learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site. The posting will include a short description that you provide, your logo and a link back to your site. Use the Registration Form in the partner toolkit to submit offers.
6) Work with local retailers or community groups to organize a “Beginners Express” bus trip for newcomers to your venue. Again, encourage current customers to “bring a friend” on such a trip. On the way, work with your ski/snowboard area to inform newcomers about how to dress, different kinds of equipment available, safety precautions, etc.
7) Work with your area to partner with a local metro retailer and/or ski club to host a LSS(M)/BAF night in early January at the shop. Use it to get new customers through club members who can invite beginners. Work with the retailers to present a “How to Dress” clinic. Promote a Bring a Friend offer or the Bring a Friend Challenge through this channel since consumers who patronize shops already are skiers and snowboarders. Swaps provide another option.
Another retailer partnership option is to include newcomers in a shop's Customer Appreciation Day - especially if it is scheduled early in the winter at your venue. Current participants can be encouraged to bring a friend or family member new to snowsports who can be enrolled in a beginner lesson program. Most newcomers are introduced to skiing and snowboarding through a friend or family member.
8) Offer to speak at local schools on why snow sports are great winter activities. PE teachers love this because the sports offer terrific health and fitness benefits. Tie in the presentation with a physical education class. Start with the chart on the www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org web site that shows how many calories can be burned skiing and riding as well as the types of foods that provide energy for the sports. Look in the TIPS section.
8) In general, work with your venue colleagues to provide information to LSS(M)/BAF organizers and also to the media. A press release is best. We post information about your programs on the LSS(M) Facebook page. We also have two Twitter accounts and we use Pinterest and Google Plus to promote beginner-learning programs.