Last week Skipedia met with Gregory Guzzo, director of the Val Thorens Tourist Office to discuss the process and rationale behind their recent rebrand to ‘Val Thorens United’.

gregory guzzo

Gregory Guzzo, director of the Tourist Office in Val Thorens

Skipedia: What were the reasons for this change?
Gregory Guzzo:  The ski market is approaching maturity.  Competition within travel, particularly on the internet, is increasing faster than demand.

By 2025, demand for travel will have doubled, but supply will have tripled in that time.  Skiing is losing market share within world tourism and we wanted to act now – to be proactive, not reactive.

How did the repositioning process start?
Most ski resorts try to position themselves by function – they define themselves as a family resort, for example – or they like to say ‘mine is bigger than yours’, by claiming the ‘largest number of pistes’ or ‘highest lift’.

To my mind, this is extremely limiting.

Instead our starting point was an extensive survey of 5000 of our existing clients to put our resort ‘through the scanner’ and analyse its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.  This gave us the best possible information to prepare for the future.

What were the results of the survey?
The feedback was that Val Thorens is a resort unlike any other: eclectic and cosmopolitan, youthful and pioneering; a ski destination for all levels of ability.

And this last point is important: satisfaction levels were high for all groups, from beginners to experts.

How did that lead to the new positioning?
We didn’t want to define our resort in terms of one group over another.  The survey showed that Val Thorens combines the best of skiing with the best atmosphere, and that gave us our message.

We are a melting pot of activities, emotions, lifestyles, pulled together by a team spirit.  We are a unifying, united resort – Val Thorens United.   [The video below introduces the new brand.]

Was the project expensive?
No, the whole project cost around €100,000, of which €30,000 went on the survey and €20,000 on the strategy.

How did your partners in resort respond to this new brand concept?
We have over 200 partners within resort, and when we presented this concept to them the response was unanimous: they were 100% in favour of it.

We are working closely with all our resort partners as part of a 10 year strategy.  We help provide them with the tools and knowledge to help and they are part of the shift to the new brand.  In effect, we are united and Val Thorens is United.

By Iain Martin