It takes you to we-are-megeve.com, the home for a new “movement, an open community… dedicated to sharing your experiences, your desires, your passions.” It looks clean and very visual, a sort of pinboard of contributed images with stories behind them and added features, notably “Les goodies” and a smart new colour scheme and logo that is gradually being picked up in more and more of the resort’s communications.
But why a whole new platform when we’re all practically swamped with them already and there are all these existing networks still to tap into? Since Megève is miles ahead of other French ski resorts in terms of facebook likes and fast approaching the magic 100,000 milestone, they must be doing something right, so I thought it was worth checking out. And since I live just over in the next valley, I stopped by the other day and had a chat with Megève Tourisme VP Jean-Marc Seigneur about it.
We Are Megeve is about “quality rather than quantity“, he says, and a long-term interaction with those who love the place. It is “a way to thank them for coming to Megève.” The plan is to offer rewards and run competitions with prizes, like We Are Megeve Replay, where the experiences posted on the site are judged and winners are offered the opportunity to relive their experience in the resort. Anyone can contribute, but a moderator may remove any content that is not in the spirit of the site, it says.
Isn’t it expensive creating a new platform from scratch? Well no actually, explains Jean-Marc, for one thing because the resort has the competency in-house (not least his own: he has a PhD thesis in Computer Science) and also because it was done in Drupal, which is free and open source. The pay-off, apart from the quality of the experience, is more information about users (you sign up with an email address) and the flexibility to customise and develop the concept over time. “We felt it was important that the site is developed by people who live in Megeve,” he says.
It is early days yet and there are some 15 contributions on the site so far, with the option to choose your language still to come. Stories include someone’s first attempt at telemarking, summer hiking against the backdrop of Mont Blanc, and a tale (and video) of speedriding off-piste. The experiences don’t move down the timeline and off the page, so they feel more lasting than shares and comments on facebook.
Megève has long been an authentic and diverse community and, yes, it has a large fanbase on facebook, but social media networks don’t create a community, Jean-Marc stresses, they only work if there is already a community that exists. We Are Megeve aims to showcase that community. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops.