Vail Resorts is harnessing the intelligence of data-driven marketing to better understand their customers, personalize messaging and boost sales. Formerly operating with disconnected data and marketing technology systems, Vail Resorts, revamped their CRM to house customer data in one place. Now, Vail Resorts can connect the dots on customer touch points and tailor its marketing efforts based on customer intelligence. The CRM data lets Vail Resorts evaluate where a guest bought a season pass, utilized the ski school or stayed at Vail Resorts, and use that information to customize messages that will best resonate with each of its audience segments.
Vail Resorts Captures Guest Data To Fuel Personalized Marketing
Vail Resorts is using their marketing data to get in front of the right guest with the right offer to both engage customers and boost sales. “Instead of sending out one email or one direct mail piece, we’re sending out one piece that has multiple iterations - so different people get different components and pieces of the campaign,” said Darren Jacoby, Director of CRM at Vail Resorts. For example, an adventure skier, a family with children, a frequent visitor and a novice to the slopes will all receive different messaging.
Vail Resorts also gathers information through radio-frequency identification (RFID) embedded in all of its lift tickets and passes. With this, RFID tracking, Vail gathers guests’ skiing habits to personalize advertising and messaging during and after a resort visit.
Vail Resorts Is Harnessing AI & UGC
For the 2019-20 ski season, Vail Resorts is introducing “Emma - the world’s first digital mountain assistant,” who utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to answers questions about everything from snow grooming and lift line wait times to recommendations on rentals, lessons and dining options. A guest can ask Emma, “How much did I ski today?” or “What are my stats?” Vail Resorts is touting Emma as a one-stop source for all of their guests information needs.
The Vail Resorts app, Epic Mix, has been instrumental in helping Vail Resorts further connect with its audience and personalize their ski experiences. Through use of the Epic Mix app, guests are encouraged to share their #Vail experiences on their social media pages. This user-generated content (UGC) has proven very successful. In its first season, more than 100,000 Vail Resorts visitors used Epic Mix to post on Facebook more than 260,000 times, generating some 35 million social impressions.
Epic Mix also tracks vertical feet, number of lifts ridden and days skied. The app provides lift line times and suggestions to eat lunch based on location. Photographers are stationed throughout the resort to further encourage Vail Resorts guest to post their images on social media, and the RFID technology embedded in the ski passes enables the photos to be available on each guest’s Epic Mix app.
Personalized Marketing Is Increasing Vail Resorts’ Customer Loyalty
Vail Resorts has the data needed to custom-tailor guest experiences and foster brand loyalty, but Vail Resorts is not the only business reaping the benefits of personalization. According to Real Dive, 93% of businesses with advanced personalization strategies increased their revenue last year.
The data and technological advances leveraged by Vail Resorts including “Emma” and Epic Mix, have personalized guest experiences, and the personalization efforts are paying off. Sales for the 2019-20 ski season are up roughly 15% compared to this time last year. Vail Resorts’ revenue for last season also trended higher for reported ski visits, lift revenue, ski school, dining, retail and lodging.