Banff stalks social media, lures skiers from other resorts

Banff Lake Louise Tourism is threatening to steal skiers and snowboarders away from competing ski resorts this season with a playful social media campaign. The plan, says Justin Young, creative director at Village&Co in Vancouver, is to find ski and snowboard posts on social media, find out where people are planning their vacations, and then […]

Banff Lake Louise Tourism is threatening to steal skiers and snowboarders away from competing ski resorts this season with a playful social media campaign.

The plan, says Justin Young, creative director at Village&Co in Vancouver, is to find ski and snowboard posts on social media, find out where people are planning their vacations, and then ask them to change their plans at the last moment with an all-expenses-paid weekend in Banff. The payoff, he hopes, is that these savvy social media users will be so excited about their win that they will act as Banff ambassadors by posting photographs and videos all over their social media feeds.

In the meantime, the buzz is already starting after Village&Co launched a video on YouTube this week. The video opens with people’s tweets about their ski plans and then switches gears, showing shots of Banff’s ski hills as well as its village, luxury hotels and nightlife, and telling viewers that Banff is changing their plans and ski-jacking them for a ski and snowboard vacation.

“Everybody does contests and people have contest fatigue. We wanted to do something different, shake things up,” Young said. “We thought it would be great to do something that gets people’s attention and also shows potential visitors all the things to do through the eyes of the actual visitors that we steal away.”

Young says his agency is monitoring the use of the #skijack hashtag as well as posts from people across North America.

“As soon as that first snow fall hits, all you hear on social media is chatter about ‘how many inches?’ and fresh powder,” he said. “People are really open to sharing on social media. We’re seeing people take a photo of the skis in the trunk of their car and saying ‘ready to hit Whistler tomorrow.’ Through Instagram we can see where they live, and through plain old social media stalking we can find out who they are dating, their best friends, films they’ve been to, if they’ve been to Banff before, whether they are boarders or heli skiers.”

Mary Morrison, manager of travel media relations for Banff Lake Louise Tourism, says the goal is to increase visitors to the area during the winter months.

“Summer is actually the peak season in Banff, and as a destination marketing organization we are very interested in shoring up our winter product as well as our winter visitation,” she said. “We are looking at ways of generating more interest in the ski and snowboard offerings that we have here. We want to target people who have a passion for ski and travel and the idea is that they will become great ambassadors for us.”

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