Time for a change

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

For nearly three years, this blog has published the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook and the top 30 on Twitter, every month, together with insights into who’s doing what on social media and why it’s working. This month, for the first time, I didn’t. Not because I was on the beach, but because it’s time for a change.

I started this blog because I moved to a small(ish) French ski resort and mountain village – Les Contamines-Montjoie – and I was curious about what makes smaller resorts like this tick… I wanted to see if I could contribute some of my experience in journalism and communications gained in the big city and corporate world to my first love, skiing, and the mountain environment I was now living in.

It’s been great fun, I’ve learnt a lot, met and have spoken to lots of people and hopefully been useful to some of you. The page views keep growing and while I’m appreciative, we all know it’s not just about the numbers.

So, starting this autumn, I’ll be refocusing more closely on what, for me, has grown from curiosity to a passion – exploring how mountain villages and resorts like the one I live in can survive and thrive – sustainably. After the last few weeks of heatwave here in the Alps, crumbling glaciers and melting permafrost, it seems timely.

There’ll be a new and different blog and news of an exciting project I hope to be able to talk more about soon. I will keep you posted.

Thanks very much for following all this time, have a great (but not too hot) summer and à très bientôt.

 

 

Top 10 French ski resorts on Instagram

As the snow melts on the winter season, here in Les Contamines, the cows have taken over from the pistebashers the job of maintaining the domain. Time for an inter-season break, and that goes for this blog too and its ranking of the top French ski resorts on Facebook and Twitter.

Instead, for a change, here’s a glimpse of the top 10 on Instagram (on 1 June)…

  1. La Plagne – 8061 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 6869
  3. Chamonix – 5541
  4. Val d’Isère – 5387
  5. Avoriaz – 4845
  6. Serre Chevalier – 4650
  7. Les 2 Alpes – 4636
  8. Les Arcs – 4602
  9. Vars – 4407
  10. Alpe d’Huez – 4149

…quite possibly I’ve missed someone out, in which case, please do let me know. When you get back from the beach.🙂

And now, back to the cows…

Coucou ! 😄😄😄 #tarine #vache #Savoie #laPlagne

A photo posted by La Plagne (@la_plagne) on

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter this season

Not only did this season see a French ski resort become the first in Europe to reach 200,000 likes on Facebook, it also saw the first reach 20,000 followers on Twitter: Alpe d’Huez.

Now I know it’s all about the quality not the quantity of the social media engagement, but still… In the case of Alpe d’Huez, which has grown its followers 197% this season (1 Dec-1 May), it does at least partly have to do with its success in playing to its reputation as both a winter and a summer destination and not a little with the fact that it will be a Tour De France finish yet again in 2015.

This was its most RT’d tweet in April:

Other resorts reaching milestones this season were Val Thorens and Val d’Isère which both broke through 10,000.

Who grew their followers the most? 

It was not, in fact, Alpe d’Huez that grew its followers the fastest this winter season among the top 30 French resorts on Twitter. These were the top three:

  1. Courchevel (+260%)
  2. Val d’Isère (+200%)
  3. Alpe d’Huez (+197%)

Tweeting into spring

Finishing strongest in April was Val d’Isère (+11%), followed by Tignes (+5%), even though the latter tweeted barely more than a dozen times over the month.

Overall, the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter averaged just 2% follower growth in April, down from over 6% in March, and also lower than this time last year (3.1%).

Season average growth was 62% (1 Dec-1 May), compared to 66% last season.

Here is the ranking in full, as compiled on the 1st of May 2015:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 6,315 followers
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 4,067
  3. Portes du Soleil – 4,041

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Alpe d’Huez – 21,232 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 13,425
  3. Val d’Isère – 11,883
  4. Megève – 8,602
  5. Chamonix – 8,107
  6. La Plagne – 6,556
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 4,802
  8. Morzine (en) – 4,403
  9. Les Gets – 3,870
  10. Méribel – 3,488
  11. Les Menuires – 3,355
  12. La Clusaz  – 3,204
  13. Avoriaz (fr) – 3,190
  14. Avoriaz (en) – 3,083
  15. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 2,969
  16. Morzine (fr) – 2,968
  17. Tignes – 2,914
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 2,896
  19. Vars – 2,797
  20. Les 2 Alpes – 2,571
  21. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,477
  22. Ax3Domaines – 2,335
  23. Peyragudes – 2,133
  24. Courchevel – 2,008
  25. Cauterets – 1,984
  26. Pic du Midi – 1,970
  27. Les Contamines – 1,912
  28. La Tania – 1,893
  29. Piau – 1,838
  30. Montgenèvre – 1,773

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of May 2015. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please do let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Official resort accounts only and linked resorts/domains are ranked separately.

Top French ski resorts on Facebook this season

Tignes, Val Thorens and Orelle are soldiering for another week and the Pic du Midi is still open too, but it’s raining at over 2,000m as I write this and most resorts are gearing up for summer already. Time to round up how the winter season went on social media for the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook.

Winners and losers

So who posted the biggest gains in terms of fan growth this season among the top 50?

Saint Gervais (+156%) after it cleaned up its social media presence and merged the tourist office and lift company pages. Second was Valloire (+69%) which benefited from the JB effect after local hero Jean-Baptiste Grange was crowned slalom World Champion for the second time in a row. And third: Ax 3 Domaines, which hit the 30,000 fans milestone in March. Among the domains, the Grand Massif made good progress (+46%).

At the other end of the scale, Megève lost just under 7% of fans over the season, mostly after Facebook initiated a clean-up of inactive accounts in March.

A season of milestones

This was the season that the first European ski resort hit 200,000 Facebook fans and it was a French one: Val Thorens. Fresh from its success in being voted World’s Best Ski Resort for the second year in a row, Val Tho joins an elite band of North American resorts: Jackson HoleMammoth and Whistler / Blackcomb.

Other resorts hitting milestones this season included La Plagne (50k), Ax 3 Domaines and Saint Lary in the Pyrenees (30k), La Norma (20k), and several at 10k+ : Saint Gervais, Les Saisies, Piau-Engaly and Sainte Foy.

A successful printemps du ski?

This spring’s France Montagnes’ campaign, Le Printemps du Ski, or Skiing into Spring in English, was an attempt to fight back against the erosion of late season business in recent years, not helped by the Easter calendar and late French school holidays. How well did it go?

Well, one particularly active participant in the campaign, Saint François Longchamp, certainly seems to have benefited, at least on Facebook. It finished the season strongly, gaining 10% in March, 24% in April, and scoring nearly 58k views for this video:

Overall, though, the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook grew their fans just 0.9% in April on average, down from 2.6% in April 2014.

A time to thank the fans

Finally, this is a good time for resorts to show their appreciation and thank their fans for their support over the season. Show them some love. Here’s what happens when you do (they appreciate it):

Ax 3 Domaines FB screenshot

Have a good relaxing inter-season everyone and here is the ranking in full, as recorded on 1 May 2015:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 111,417 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 60,016
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 48,309
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 29,475
  5. Grand Massif – 19,181

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 202,553 fans
  2. Megève – 107,579
  3. Val d’Isère – 96,370
  4. Chamonix – 79,225
  5. Les Menuires – 73,393
  6. Tignes – 64,900
  7. La Clusaz – 62,851
  8. Les Arcs – 61,493
  9. Courchevel – 55,122
  10. La Plagne – 50,580
  11. Alpe d’Huez – 46,036
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 44,847
  13. Cauterets – 41,403
  14. Serre Chevalier – 39,977
  15. Le Grand Bornand – 37,708
  16. Avoriaz – 36,572
  17. Vars – 31,551
  18. Saint Lary – 30,797
  19. Ax 3 Domaines – 30,004
  20. Méribel – 29,134
  21. Les Gets – 24,775
  22. La Norma – 20,793
  23. Orcières – 19,267
  24. Saint François Longchamp – 18,235
  25. Valloire – 17,684
  26. Les Sept Laux – 15,366
  27. Le Dévoluy – 15,214
  28. Peyragudes – 15,179
  29. Lac Blanc – 14,207
  30. Les Orres – 13,911
  31. Châtel – 13,876
  32. Morzine – 13,587
  33. Les Contamines – 13,347
  34. Le Lioran – 12,117
  35. Montgenèvre – 12,010
  36. Grand Tourmalet – 11,960
  37. Saint Gervais – 11,598
  38. Les Saisies – 11,379
  39. Piau-Engaly – 11,379
  40. Sainte Foy – 10,741
  41. Aussois – 10,202
  42. Les Angles – 9,506
  43. La Pierre St Martin – 9,275
  44. Chamrousse – 9,059
  45. Isola 2000 – 8,594
  46. Val Cenis Vanoise – 8,251
  47. Gourette – 8,198
  48. Risoul – 7,996
  49. Praloup – 7,855
  50. Arêches-Beaufort – 7,612

Please note: these are official pages only and only those resorts are included that have at least some alpine ski uplift capacity, ie a ski lift. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Linked resorts/domains like the 3 Valleys are ranked separately and the count was done on 1 May 2015.

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (4 Apr ’15)

The Easter chocolates and snow conditions were too good to ignore – hope you enjoyed them too and sorry this update is a bit late as a result!

In the meantime, Alpe d’Huez has hit another milestone, breaking through 20,000 Twitter followers (+44% in March), while Val d’Isère (+29%) reached 10,000.

Alpe d’Huez continues to be active on the promotion front, running one jointly with Confluence, and it is also starting to see the buzz building for its annual Alpe d’HuZes charity cycling event:

Val d’Isère (+29%) hosted the GEM Altigliss Challenge student ski and snowboard world cup:

Courchevel (+13%) and La Plagne (+11%) were the other double-digit climbers in March, the latter running a photo contest:

Follower growth for all the top 30 last French ski resorts in Twitter in March averaged 6.4%, down from just under 10% in February.

Here are all the scores, as compiled on the 4th of April 2015, and bonne fin de saison à tous !

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 6,171 followers
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 4,022
  3. Portes du Soleil – 3,983

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Alpe d’Huez – 20,306 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 13,284
  3. Val d’Isère – 10,691
  4. Megève – 8,606
  5. Chamonix – 7,951
  6. La Plagne – 6,443
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 4,751
  8. Morzine (en) – 4,373
  9. Les Gets – 3,794
  10. Méribel – 3,387
  11. Les Menuires – 3,324
  12. Avoriaz (fr) – 3,152
  13. La Clusaz  – 3,142
  14. Avoriaz (en) – 3,050
  15. Morzine (fr) – 2,929
  16. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 2,904
  17. Le Grand Bornand – 2,856
  18. Vars – 2,789
  19. Tignes – 2,766
  20. Les 2 Alpes – 2,505
  21. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,460
  22. Ax3Domaines – 2,329
  23. Peyragudes – 2,109
  24. Cauterets – 1,945
  25. Pic du Midi – 1,920
  26. Courchevel – 1,908
  27. Les Contamines – 1,882
  28. La Tania – 1,877
  29. Piau – 1,814
  30. Montgenèvre – 1,734

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 4th of April 2015. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please do let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Official resort accounts only and linked resorts/domains are ranked separately.

French ski resorts lose likes after Facebook clean-up

Many French ski resorts saw their Facebook pages lose likes in March, after Facebook started a clean-up to remove likes from inactive and in memoriam accounts. As one tech site explained, “the new changes in their likes policy should mean that those buying likes… would also see their page likes decrease by the thousands…”

So which French resorts have been most affected so far? These resorts lost the most likes in March:

  1. Megève (-8,824)
  2. Val Thorens (-4,179)
  3. Courchevel  (-1,100)
  4. Saint Lary (-1,008)
  5. Alpe d’Huez (-997)

Despite the purge, 20 of the top 50 still managed to gain fans in March, led by Saint Gervais, which jumped to no. 37 (+59%) after merging the lift company’s page with that of the Tourist Office.

Valloire grew its fans 20%, still riding the wave of Jean-Baptiste Grange’s World Championship success, running a photo contest and promoting cross-linkage with its instagram account:

Saint François Longchamp (+10%) has been actively pushing the Printemps du Ski campaign of France Montagnes and the hashtag #mySFL:

Overall, taking into account the purge, the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook in February grew their likes by just 1.5% on average, compared to 12% in February.

Here is the ranking in full, as recorded on 2 April 2015:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 111,574 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 59,471
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 48,393
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 29,283
  5. Grand Massif – 18,930

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 202,499 fans
  2. Megève – 107,687
  3. Val d’Isère – 94,867
  4. Chamonix – 79,080
  5. Les Menuires – 73,443
  6. La Clusaz – 63,020
  7. Tignes – 62,161
  8. Les Arcs – 61,449
  9. Courchevel – 54,964
  10. La Plagne – 50,452
  11. Alpe d’Huez – 45,945
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 44,635
  13. Cauterets – 41,421
  14. Serre Chevalier – 39,917
  15. Le Grand Bornand – 37,259
  16. Avoriaz – 36,400
  17. Vars – 31,198
  18. Saint Lary – 30,821
  19. Ax 3 Domaines – 30,020
  20. Méribel – 29,035
  21. Les Gets – 24,702
  22. La Norma – 20,820
  23. Orcières – 19,236
  24. Valloire – 17,663
  25. Les Sept Laux – 15,303
  26. Le Dévoluy – 15,219
  27. Peyragudes – 15,170
  28. Saint François Longchamp – 14,678
  29. Lac Blanc – 14,146
  30. Les Orres – 13,891
  31. Châtel – 13,851
  32. Morzine – 13,568
  33. Les Contamines – 13,353
  34. Le Lioran – 12,092
  35. Grand Tourmalet – 11,930
  36. Montgenèvre – 11,854
  37. Saint Gervais – 11,495
  38. Les Saisies – 11,316
  39. Piau-Engaly – 11,302
  40. Sainte Foy – 10,439
  41. Aussois – 10,194
  42. Les Angles – 9,482
  43. La Pierre St Martin – 9,218
  44. Chamrousse – 9,026
  45. Isola 2000 – 8,538
  46. Val Cenis Vanoise – 8,204
  47. Gourette – 8,199
  48. Risoul – 8,012
  49. Praloup – 7,835
  50. Arêches-Beaufort – 7,603

Please note: these are official pages only and only those resorts are included that have at least some alpine ski uplift capacity, ie a ski lift. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Linked resorts/domains like the 3 Valleys are ranked separately and the count was done on 2 April.

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (2 Mar ’15)

What a difference a day makes. This month I polled the numbers for the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter on the 2nd of March instead of the 1st and, in that time, Alpe d’Huez added another 1,000-odd followers (+13%), following a Twitter card promotion.

chart of alpedhuez followers

source: socialbakers.com

They are not the only resort that has been active on social media recently and the word ‘gagner’ came up often as I scouted around this past month.

Val d’Isère grew its followers 44% in February and has certainly stepped up its tweeting since the start of the year.

valdisere tweet chart

source: Twitonomy

Other climbers in February were Courchevel (+21%), Tignes (+18%) and La Plagne (+17%). Follower growth for all the top 30 last month averaged just under 10%, down from 13% in January.

Here are all this month’s numbers, as compiled on the 2nd of March 2015:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 5,878 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 3,882
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 3,750

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Alpe d’Huez – 14,083 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 12,959
  3. Megève – 8,570
  4. Val d’Isère – 8,295
  5. Chamonix – 7,715
  6. La Plagne – 5,806
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 4,547
  8. Morzine (en) – 4,282
  9. Les Gets – 3,653
  10. Les Menuires – 3,229
  11. Méribel – 3,181
  12. Avoriaz (fr) – 3,032
  13. La Clusaz  – 3,012
  14. Avoriaz (en) – 2,974
  15. Morzine (fr) – 2,858
  16. Le Grand Bornand – 2,782
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 2,764
  18. Tignes – 2,595
  19. Vars – 2,567
  20. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,442
  21. Les 2 Alpes – 2,343
  22. Ax3Domaines – 2,293
  23. Peyragudes – 2,049
  24. Cauterets – 1,876
  25. La Tania – 1,848
  26. Les Contamines – 1,832
  27. Pic du Midi – 1,818
  28. Piau – 1,766
  29. Courchevel – 1,688
  30. Montgenèvre – 1,653

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 2nd of March 2015. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone and please do let me know so this list can be improved for next month. Official resort accounts only and linked resorts/domains are ranked separately.