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SKI Magazine 'Top 20' Resorts vs. Advertising Pages

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
80% of the top 10 ski resort advertsiers are rated within SKI's Top 10 Resorts.

90% of the top 20 ski resort advertisers are rated within SKI's Top 20

My predictions for next year:
  • Whistler retakes #1.
  • Heavenly makes significant advances.
  • Telluride is top 10 again.
  • Aspen falls a few notches.
  • Things remain similar unless their is adnormal snowfall/ad buys.


Note: I attributed Park City marketing equally between PC, DV and Canyons.
post #2 of 16
Would you disagree (using SKI's criteria) that those are 20 of the best RESORTS in North America?

I wouldn't.
post #3 of 16
Gee I wonder why ALTA didn't get into the top 20. Could it be ADVERTISING?
post #4 of 16
Some of those resorts aren't pulling their weight though! They don't seem to be buying enough ads to justify their positions?
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayCantu View Post
Gee I wonder why ALTA didn't get into the top 20. Could it be ADVERTISING?
We've been saying it for years....
post #6 of 16
For many years, I worked in journalism (including magazine journalism), and I'm still surprised when people act surprised that magazines exist to make money. I got news for 'ya. Most leisure mags are cash cows, with BS editorial and fluff features and very low costs.

Ski is part of Time4Media, which is owned entirely by Time Warner Inc. They do not exist to lose money.


IMHO, this is exactly why Epic is just a billion times more credible a source for ski information.
post #7 of 16
I've explained in the other thread how the choice and equal weighting of questions predetermines which resorts will score well in overall rating. Chrisc suggests a logical monetary motivation for the survey design. Among the full-service resorts that tend to buy the big ads, do I SKI cooks the results by who buys the most ads? Probably not.

SKI even had a few subcategories based upon weighting a handful of their questions. Note that Alta won the "Value" subcategory and Snowbird the "Skier's Mountain" subcategory.
post #8 of 16
You know, the causality could go the other way. Not everyone does a careful job filling out surveys, so name recognition is important. (Especially since the survey is unprompted, if I recall correctly.) And which names do more people recognize? ...the ones that advertise.
post #9 of 16
Actually, I believe the dedicated, EpicSki-type skiers are more likely to respond to the survey since they are more passionate about skiing. Many of the casual skiers probably don't bother to respond at all. I'd love to see the results of the importance ratings given by those who respond. I'll bet they would be quite similar to what we would see on Epic.

SKI also only asks skiers to review areas they have skied in the past 2 seasons, which results in me giving them 25 reviews vs. 5 or 6 for the more casual skier. But I remember giving Deer Valley perfect 10 ratings for grooming and on-mountain food, thus contributing to its high overall rating.
post #10 of 16
Mountain survey ratings ... what a waste of time ... skim 'em when you've got nothing else to read, then go ski where you wanna.
post #11 of 16
The advertisments could indirectly effect results. Ski readers see the ads, and may be influenced (if the ads are any good) to visit. Poll respondents rate only the hills they've skied.

More ads = more visits = more responses. This coupled with the scoring system could result in higher ratings for the resorts that put in big ads.

Whether this is SKI's intention or not is another thing. I doubt it, probably just a happy coincidence...
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I do not think there is any payola/kick-back/etc scheme between SKI Magazine and advertisers. I was just curious about looking at the data.

Frankly, I would love to see the hard data. How close are the top mountains? Is the data clustered or are there significant differences? Especially in some of the various categories.

However, I do think the advertising/rankings are self-perpetuating.

There are some decent resorts that have what SKI readers value but are not on the list -- Northstar, Mt. Bachelor, Taos, Fernie, Big White, etc.
Do they not rate highly? Or are they just not familiar enough/get enough votes to be considered? Would they be considered more if they took out a 6-page spread in a fall expensive ad issue?

I remember the old Snow Country did rankings in the following manner:
Resort Data (vertical, chairlifts, snowfall, etc0
Reader Score

Probably a better way.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc View Post
I do not think there is any payola/kick-back/etc scheme between SKI Magazine and advertisers. I was just curious about looking at the data.
OK, explain this coincidence. 10 or so years ago, Hunter mountain had a very close relationship with Ski mag. They hosted a lot of races with Ski and Hunter advertised in Ski magazine.They always made a couple of the rankings. One year they had a falling out, I forget what it was about, but Hunter pulled all it's advertising and there was no trace of Ski at any of the races. That was the year Hunter failed to get any mention in any catagory, and never got mentioned again..... :
post #14 of 16
I think the link is the other way around...

A magazine may well approach a ski area and say "OK, the ski area results are in, and your resort has done well, this would be a good time to do a big advert" - and offers them good rates. The resort will take that opportunity to get as much space as it can in that particular issue. If the main topic of the issue was ski poles, I doubt you'd see many resort ads in it...
post #15 of 16
[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisc View Post
I do not think there is any payola/kick-back/etc scheme between SKI Magazine and advertisers. I was just curious about looking at the data. ...

However, I do think the advertising/rankings are self-perpetuating. /quote]
You're instincts are correct. The editorial calendars are established far in advance every year. "Marketeers" in the industry know when surveys will be taken and when the results will be published. Armed with this information they strategically decide when and how to advertise (using multiple vehicles) in advance to create maximum brand/identity recognition- especially at survey time. Marketing isn't a "one time hit", but most successful when implemented as a sustained and cumulative activity.

I can't tell you the number of clients I've worked with who want to run an ad and think the cash is going to roll in. If a company can only "afford" one ad for the year, I tell them not to waste their time - use free PR instead.

Self-perpetuating is exactly it. The more "impressions", the more front-of-mind a brand becomes. That's the objective for ads - so when someone asks you to name the first "whatever" that comes to mind, the advertiser's product is the first brand you think of.

Strategically there is the lead up to the survey issue, then capitalizing with supporting ads when the issue hits the newsstand. Theory is that this is the issue everyone will refer to when planning their trips. The more "noise" the more opportunity to stand out. That's the promise the mag is selling to the marketing teams.

Whistler's team may have made the strategic decision to place more advertising, hoping to overcome their lower ranking - which may or may not work. If it does, more people will go to Whistler than Vail, and next year Whistler has a better shot at more #1 votes.

For anyone who has ever asked "what ski should I buy" or "where should I ski" ... these ads are for you.

Basically it's all a load of BS, but it works. People get very involved in having "their" resort/area "validated". In some way it confirms their .. "whatever". Maybe they need to assert their financial status by where they ski. Maybe they feel a need to proclaim their skiing greatness by skiing at the toughest area. Marketers (my profession) play on these insecurities or other psychological needs.

As I alluded to above - if you're skiing for yourself, this is all a waste of time. ("you" being a general reference)
post #16 of 16
Whew. Now THAT is telling stuff. Thanks medmarko.
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