On Saturday 23 November 2013, Courchevel opened for a unique ‘ouverture exceptionnelle’ offering free skiing in the resort for one day only:
We recently interviewed Dominique Bellavarde, Digital Manager at Courchevel Tourisme about their thinking behind the event.
Q: How did you come to the decision to open the resort for this one day?
Several factors influenced the decision – the significant snowfall in November was crucial, plus the lifts had been prepared and were technically ready. With those two key factors in place, we felt this was a great opportunity to treat snow lovers by giving them free skiing.
Q: Other resorts also opened early, but Courchevel was the only one to offer free skiing…
The ski area was not fully open, so this was truly a one-off operation which we wanted to be seen as special. It was never our aim to make it part of our commercial approach, only to please our customers.
Q: The YouTube video announcing it has had nearly 15,000 views. Apart from the video how did you promote the event?
The video was a great success. We didn’t actually work too hard to publicise it as there was a risk we would be overwhelmed on the day. The information of the opening was published on our Facebook page and it was shared, which created a big buzz. ‘Word of mouth’ was very influential and around 5,000 people attended.
Q: Engagement on your Facebook page reached great levels at the time – have you seen a permanent increase in your social media fanbase?
We saw a 5% increase in fans immediately. And from 35000 Likes at the time, we now have over 48000 fans on Facebook.
Interview by Iain Martin