Do you remember when it was only ski resorts in Lombardy that were going to close? The 8th of March seems a lifetime ago now.

It’s been like a set of dominos since then. First the Aosta Valley, then the rest of Italy. We then had a relatively lull until an outbreak in Ischgl saw it announce its closure (in advance) for Saturday 14th March.

By then end of the weekend, everywhere in Austria, Switzerland and France was closed.

So, with no skiing to offer for the rest of this season, how do snowsports companies react?

Social Media

There is no need to stop posting on social media, just because there are no holidays to sell.

Firstly, review any scheduled posts and if there is any doubt, then pause them.

Sending messages such as this (presumably automated) Tweet that went out today is unlikely to be beneficial:

This is a scheduled Tweet that I had arranged for French Mountains that definitely had to be deleted:

Secondly, think about what needs to be said.

If you have customers whose holidays have been cancelled, make sure they are informed about the process for refunds and/or claims.

After repatriation (which mainly seems to have accomplished at the time of writing) the loss of money will be most people’s primary concern post-cancellation.

Thirdly, don’t assume that all your followers will be angry.

Acknowledge their disappointment but note that all decisions were out of your control. All any company can do is to operate on the information available at the time.

As lovers of the French Mountains may know, the French government this evening has ruled that all French ski resorts…

Posted by French Mountains on Saturday, 14 March 2020

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out and be positive.

Respond to any positive comments on social media. These are your best customers. You can win them for life by thanking them for words of support at this stage – recognising their disappointment, but looking forward to the future.

#wewillskiagain

I have been using the hashtag #wewillskiagain on Twitter for my client Les 3 Vallées. I think this hits the right note: this season is over, but skiing is not over. We will ski again.

Paid Search

I was working on Saturday throughout the evening and into the small hours on behalf of my clients.

As soon as it was confirmed that French resorts would be closing, I worked methodically through the Google Ads accounts that I manage.

Focus on next season

Depending on the client I either turned off their campaigns completely or reduced them to campaigns targeting ‘2020/21’ keywords only.

While I do not anticipate that volume of search will be high at present, there is likely to be value still in promoting early booking offers for next winter.

The early closure of the season and increasing restrictions on travel will mean that there is pent up demand and users will be looking ahead to next season, even if not in large numbers.

The customer journey is long and starts early

Anyone who has had a close look at Assisted Conversions within Google Analytics will know that the customer journey in booking a ski holiday can be very long and that there is value in being one of the early clicks in that journey, even if it does not result in a Conversion straightaway.

It makes sense to be part of that search, because while Coronavirus is having a devastating effect on the ski industry, it will not be the end of the ski industry.

#WeWillSkiAgain