Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
Much has been written regarding Millennials (aka Gen Y) and their relationship with skiing.
But if you’re a marketing director at an independent mountain who thinks skiing will be around for another generation or two, there are opportunities afoot.
It’s time to understand how to attract Gen Z to your slopes.
Gen Z at a glance
True, they are not yet financially established. And yes, they bear a striking resemblance to Gen Y in several ways. But Gen Z needs to be understood as its own cohort.
- Born after 1996, Gen Z’s oldest members are 23 this year
- 50% have been hit hard by pandemic – either personally or parentally
- They are ethnically diverse, even more so than Gen Y
- They are more educated than any previous generation
- On social issues they are progressive, pro-government, and pro-diversity
As Millennials enter their 40s and Gen Z enters their 20s, they are ready to accept the generational baton of skiing as part of their pandemic and post-pandemic lives.
So what’s a ski resort marketer to do?
5 ways to reach Gen Z
1. Smaller = Better
Opportunity: For Gen Z, Ikon’s mega pass program is toxic waste. Too expensive. Too corporate. Too big. By contrast, Indie mountains feel smaller and more authentic.
Action: Create on-mountain communications – posters, digital signage, video – that capture intimate, solitary experiences with fewer people and more open space. Render this creative direction in search-based marketing and display ads.
2. Create a Gen Z blog
Opportunity: Gen Zers are self-educated digital natives and alert to content that balances information and opinion.
Action: Consider a Gen Z blog with short-form content from a series of Gen Z guest bloggers. You can solicit topics and drafts through social media, with a cap on word and character counts.
3. Pick principles and stick to them
Opportunity: A McKinsey study identified Gen Z’s perceptions of consumption: That it is about individual identity and ethics.
Action: Align your resort with meaningful causes that you can sincerely support. 3 examples:
- Sustainability. As our client Jiminy Peak has done – by turning environmentalism into a brand pillar.
- Food. Support food justice, farm-to-table programs, and local producers such as craft beer makers and privately labeled gourmet foods.
- Fairness. Be transparent about pay equity practices, fair treatment of part-time workers, and hiring an ethnically diverse staff.
4. Offer educational experiences
Opportunity: Gen Xers are digital natives who respond to information as much as experiences – and they believe in the power of dialogue.
Action: Create ways for Gen Zers to self-educate about the mountain: the environment, the community, local life, and how the resort interacts with its surroundings. Deliver this content 2 ways: Through social platforms/online video, and with people – resort information experts who are always ready to talk. In other words, not in a brochure.
5. Lose the luxury
Opportunity: Many resorts are clinging to the idea of offering “premium” services that Boomers and Gen X demanded in the past. Gen Zers could care less.
Action: Introduce value-driven offers that encourage roughing it. Examples: Guided backcountry tours. Toboggan races. Games of cornhole played blindfolded. Ping Pong round robins over microbrews or warm cider.
Gen Z is a big topic to tackle for independent resorts.
So contact us for a conversation.