- James Cove, Owner – PlanetSKI
- Tim Fawke, CEO – Snowsports England
- Gordon Ritter, Purchasing Director – Crystal Ski & Thompson Ski
- Dom Killinger, Publisher – InTheSnow
- Vicky Norman, PR Manager – Ski Club Of Great Britain
- Damian Norman, Managing Director – VOS Media
After much debate and input from the audience, we concluded (NB does not necessarily reflect the views of all the panel!) with these ‘6 Ways To Grow The Snowsports Market’:
1. Promotions should be directed through SIGB
Although the BSS, Snowsport England and the Ski Club of Great Britain all represent the sport in different ways, SIGB is an existing snowsports trade organisation. Currently the focus is more on brands and equipment/clothing, rather than holidays. More tour operators need to recruited as members (increasing funds available) and the organisation re-tasked to promote the industry as a whole, rather than focussing on driving traffic to retail. Ironically, the Snowlife campaign and Slide Schools Tour which took place in the mid-2000s were great examples of the types of projects that could drive the market, if delivered as a whole across the industry.
2. Actively target events to bring snowsports to a new market
Events such as Snowbombing, the Altitude Festival and – new this year – Ibiza Rocks in the Snow have brought a new audience to snowsports. Possible events that could diversify into snowsports should be targetted and actively encouraged. Resorts are often looking for new content and SIGB could act as a go-between bringing the two parties together.
3. Bring celebrities on board
Our new organising body should draw up a list of celebrities known to enjoy snowsports. Working our contacts, we should approach and ask them to join us in helping to promote the sport they love. They could take part in a generic ‘I love skiing. Try it for yourself and find out why…” style of campaign, aimed at lifting the profile of snowsports holidays relative to other holiday choices.
4. Lobby for a change in the law
This would be more difficult, but we should lobby for a change in the legislation regarding taking time out of school. We could also consider introducing a small supplement or tax on all holidays taken, or equipment sold, as a way of generating revenue to put towards our celebrity/brand building campaign.
5. Have some luck at the Winter Olympics
We’re not going to be able to influence this now, other than crossing our fingers and wishing for the best. However, should James Woods, Jenny Jones or any of our other athletes at Sochi 2014 come home with a medal, it would a greater positive impact on our industry than any marketing campaign we could put together.
6. See Britain enjoy an economic recovery
‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ As James Cove pointed out today, a recovery in the economy is essential to drive the industry forward. We can’t influence it ourselves, so whether you voted for them or not, we should all be hoping that the Coalition’s policies lead to sustained growth.
Evidently it’s not quite as simple as jotting down a few ideas in a blog post, but if the will is there, it can be done. The question now is who wants to take on the task of moving this forward. Any volunteers?
By Iain Martin