For a while now, I’ve been watching a trend towards making the ski resort website experience more engaging and personal. Two French resorts – La Plagne and Les Menuires – stand out for going in that direction this season and doing it particularly well, in my opinion. Curious to know how it is working for them, I got in touch with both.
Be more engaging
First, let’s take a look at what they are up to and why. As Greg Blanchard of Slopefillers said in a recent post about North American ski resort websites:
“Right now, we have sites that, like a brochure, are generic, static, and passive. To me, a website needs to be the opposite of those three things. It should to be personal, dynamic, and actively engaged in moving the visitor closer to your objectives.”
La Plagne’s website is aiming to be exactly that, as their press release stated at the start of this season:
“L’idée est désormais de parler à toutes les typologies de skieurs et d’adapter les offres à chacune d’entre elles.” “From now on, the idea is to speak to all types of skier and to customise the offering for each of them.”
So its striking home page invites you to indicate if you are a family or a couple / friends, what kind of atmosphere or setting you are looking for – altitude, villages, or valley – and what your skier profile is: Cool, Explorer or Dynamic.
Choose any of those options and offerings come up that are tailored to the selection you’ve just made. So if you say you are coming as a couple or with friends, activities come up that are more suited to adults, like snow scooter excursions, or trying out bobsleigh. Click family and it’s bob raft that comes up instead of bobsleigh, and a link to ski schools.
Even smarter, perhaps, is inviting you to indicate what type of skier you are. La Plagne again:
“La communication était jusqu’alors destinée aux sportifs expérimentés. Les skieurs débutants et intermédiaires pouvaient avoir le sentiment d’être délaissés.” “The communications up till now were aimed at experienced wintersporters. Beginner and intermediate skiers could get the impression they were being neglected.”
Say you’re a Cool skier and a whole offering opens up especially for you, showing you a reduced rate lift pass deal, special Cool zones on the mountain and a video that sets out “3 steps to (re)discovering skiing”.
Similarly, choose Explorer or Dynamic and the offering changes to suit. Dynamic skiers are directed to the Paradiski Unlimited pass, while the video highlights the off-piste possibilities, the more challenging pistes, and adrenaline activities like the air bag and the Chronospeed piste where you can measure how fast you ski. Ingenious.
Hello, how may I help you?
Les Menuires is also going in the direction of greater personalisation with its gorgeous new website, but tackling it in a slightly different way. Its home page asks you first off whether you’ve been to Les Menuires before, whether you’re coming on your own, with friends, family or as a couple and what level skier you are (or non-skier).
Depending on what you select, once again, you are shown various options tailored to suit. Say you are coming on your own, you come regularly and you are an advanced skier and you won’t have to wade through activities for kids: instead you will be directed straight to individual lift pass prices and some of the more exciting activities like paragliding.
“Lors de la création du site Internet des Menuires / Saint Martin de Belleville, le challenge a été fixé dès le départ : conserver la promesse d’un séjour « exceptionnel» et la traduire dans une expérience utilisateur simple.” “In creating the Les Menuires / Saint Martin de Belleville site, the challenge was fixed at the outset: retain the promise of an ‘exceptional’ stay and translate it into a simple user experience.”
So explains Yannick Siveton, in charge of the resort’s web marketing. Personalisation of the experience is a key element in achieving this aim, he stressed, as is the responsiveness and beautiful, image-rich flat design.
Results so far
So how is it working? It is early days yet for Les Menuires’ new site but the website stats Yannick shared with me show a marked improvement already in the quality of the user experience:
- bounce rate down 19% and regularly below 30%
- page views / visit up 16%
- average visit duration up 23%
Over in La Plagne, webmaster Stéphane Thomat additionally highlighted a noticeable uptake in accessing their fully responsive website from tablets (+76%) and mobiles (+44%).
My user experience
Personally I found both sites very striking and engaging, in quite different ways. It was easy to find my way around for the most part and indicating what type of skier I was etc did lead me to some options and information I might not otherwise have found or thought about.
Both also tie in and encourage engagement with the resorts’ various social media platforms and their respective hashtags: La Plagne in the corner of its home page and Les Menuires on a separate page with a nice interactive touch.
Seasoned skiers might find it annoying to be guided to an array of options, so both sites still have the traditionally organised menus for those who know where they’re headed and just want the piste map or a restaurant.
Most importantly, beginner skiers will surely now feel they are being welcomed and catered for.
Overall, these two websites look smart, act like they care about you, and offer you an array of tempting activities and relevant information. Personally.
We’ll be watching closely how they develop.