Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (1 Oct ’14)

Alpe d’Huez has been steadily climbing up the Twitter rankings like a cyclist negotiating its famous 21 hairpins and we’ve been tracking its progress for a while now on this blog.

But even I was surprised to see the sprint it went on just recently, surging into second place after adding 44% more followers in a month.

What’s going on, I asked them, and quicker than you can say ‘Tour de France’, the answer came back that much of the extra attention at the moment is due to strong rumours that Alpe d’Huez is once again going to be back on the route of a certain famous cycling race in 2015. The route will be officially unveiled later this month but I get the impression the rumours are not unfounded.

Sure enough, some of its most engaging tweets recently have been about cycling:

But, then again, others were about the approaching winter, with the resort promising to open partially on weekends in November if enough snow falls between now and then:

The other thing the team say that has helped is that the resort website recently made its Twitter account easily accessible and visible from its home page.

Overall the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter saw an average of 4.4% follower growth in September, similar to this time last year, with only a handful performing better than the average.

Here’s the list in full, as compiled on the 1st of October:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,783 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,633
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,598

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,306 followers
  2. Alpe d’Huez – 5,894
  3. Chamonix – 5,689
  4. Val Thorens – 4,917
  5. Val d’Isère – 3,401
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,899
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,820
  8. La Plagne – 2,575
  9. Les Gets – 2,472
  10. Les Menuires – 2,153
  11. Morzine (fr) – 2,144
  12. La Clusaz  – 2,130
  13. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,124
  14. Le Grand Bornand – 2,098
  15. Avoriaz – 2,005
  16. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,809
  17. Ax3Domaines – 1,725
  18. Les Contamines – 1,510
  19. La Tania – 1,459
  20. Méribel – 1,448
  21. Peyragudes – 1,433
  22. Vars – 1,388
  23. Tignes – 1,385
  24. Aussois – 1,329
  25. Pic du Midi – 1,232
  26. Orcières – 1,224
  27. Piau – 1,176
  28. Les 2 Alpes – 1,157
  29. Cauterets – 1,112
  30. Montgenèvre – 1,059

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of October 2014. 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 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (1 July ’14)

French ski resorts are still adding followers faster on Twitter than on Facebook. The top 30 on Twitter averaged 3.5% follower growth in June, compared to 1.1% fan growth for the top 50 on Facebook.

Chamonix (+7%) and Alpe d’Huez (+10%) both feature once again among the most active, adding 300-odd followers in June.

Chamonix boosted its numbers by running a contest…

…and Alpe d’Huez continues to play on its legendary status in the cycling world…

Meanwhile Les 2 Alpes (+11%) was building the buzz for its summer skiing season:

Notably, four of the top 10 growing fastest in June were Pyrenees resorts: Peyragudes (+17%), Cauterets (+6%), Piau (+5%) and Pic du Midi (+5%). Coincidence? Not entirely: all of them also benefit from the communications efforts of N’PY, which represents all those resorts and has been fairly busy, averaging nearly five tweets a day.

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

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,745 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,454
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,380

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,417 followers
  2. Chamonix – 4,903
  3. Val Thorens – 4,644
  4. Alpe d’Huez – 3,489
  5. Val d’Isère – 3,152
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,704
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,649
  8. La Plagne – 2,351
  9. Les Gets – 2,154
  10. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,084
  11. Les Menuires – 2,069
  12. Le Grand Bornand – 1,971
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,971
  14. Morzine (fr) – 1,949
  15. Avoriaz – 1,857
  16. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,666
  17. Ax3Domaines – 1,660
  18. Les Contamines – 1,438
  19. La Tania – 1,381
  20. Peyragudes – 1,261
  21. Vars – 1,257
  22. Aussois – 1,255
  23. Méribel – 1,231
  24. Tignes – 1,215
  25. Orcières 1850 – 1,130
  26. Pic du Midi – 1,047
  27. Piau – 1,027
  28. Montgenèvre – 974
  29. Cauterets – 932
  30. Les 2 Alpes – 922

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of July 2014. 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 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (2 June ’14)

There were two changes in top five French ski resorts on Twitter in May.

Chamonix (+4%) overtook Val Thorens to take second spot behind Megève. Chamonix typically doesn’t slow down as much as other resorts in the inter-season and, in town the other day, it was easy to see why: while people are sunning themselves at café tables in t-shirts and shorts, others are walking past off the Montenvers train in full ski gear with skis on their shoulders. There’s not much inter-season in Chamonix.

Meantime Alpe d’Huez (+11%) overtook Val d’Isère to sneak fourth place (up from 19th at the start of the year). It continues to trade on its reputation in the cycling world and is gearing up for the mega Dutch charity event in early June, Alpe d’HuZes.

Megève, by the way, shed followers for the third month in a row, down another 120 or 1.4% in May from its Twitter Card-induced high.

Average follower growth for the whole top 30 on Twitter dropped to 2.4% in May, from 3.1% in April.

Here are all the latest scores, as compiled on the 2nd of June:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,703 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,387
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,343

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,500 followers
  2. Chamonix – 4,604
  3. Val Thorens – 4,596
  4. Alpe d’Huez – 3,184
  5. Val d’Isère – 3,098
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,642
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,621
  8. La Plagne – 2,320
  9. Les Gets – 2,073
  10. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,067
  11. Les Menuires – 2,043
  12. Le Grand Bornand – 1,929
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,923
  14. Morzine (fr) – 1,877
  15. Avoriaz – 1,827
  16. Ax3Domaines – 1,656
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,630
  18. Les Contamines – 1,415
  19. La Tania – 1,353
  20. Aussois – 1,245
  21. Vars – 1,238
  22. Méribel – 1,190
  23. Tignes – 1,162
  24. Orcières 1850 – 1,109
  25. Peyragudes – 1,078
  26. Pic du Midi – 998
  27. Piau – 974
  28. Montgenèvre – 952
  29. Cauterets – 882
  30. Gourette – 837

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 2nd of June 2014. 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 30 French ski resorts on Twitter this season

As French ski resorts tot up their skier days this past winter, I can already report that in one measure, at least, performance has been exceptionally healthy.

The top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter saw a 66% increase in followers this winter on average (1 December-1 May), compared to +36% for the top 50 on Facebook.

Here are the five who grew their follower base the most:

  1. Megève (+574%)
  2. Alpe d’Huez (+222%)
  3. Méribel (+109%)
  4. Avoriaz (+79%)
  5. Les Gets (+66%)

Of these, Megève ran a Twitter card campaign in February that saw it quadruple its followers in the space of a month. A few have since been drifting away (followers were down 2% in April).

Alpe d’Huez, meanwhile, has achieved its growth organically, since it set up a new team of community managers at the start of the season. It has been getting monster RTs recently for cycling-related tweets as the biking season gets underway:

Other random facts:

  • Pyrenees resorts were among the most dynamic with 5 among the top 12 biggest gainers, led by Cauterets (+65%)
  • Outside the top 30, Saint Gervais (+377%, rank 65) and Samoëns (+293%, rank 57) have made great strides
  • 11 French resorts now have 2,000+ followers, up from just 1 – Val Thorens – a year ago (official accounts only, in French and/or English)
  • 25 have at least 1,000 followers, up from just 11 this time last year
  • 2 resorts have English-language accounts in the top 10, both ranked higher than their French language accounts: Serre Chevalier and Morzine

Looking just at this April, average follower growth for the top 30 Twitter dropped to 3.1%, from 6.1% in March.

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

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,666 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,358
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,274

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,620 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 4,573
  3. Chamonix – 4,414
  4. Val d’Isère – 3,060
  5. Alpe d’Huez – 2,862
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,591
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,582
  8. La Plagne – 2,299
  9. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,053
  10. Les Menuires – 2,014
  11. Les Gets – 2,008
  12. Le Grand Bornand – 1,892
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,879
  14. Morzine (fr) – 1,852
  15. Avoriaz – 1,805
  16. Ax3Domaines – 1,634
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,591
  18. Les Contamines – 1,389
  19. La Tania – 1,337
  20. Aussois – 1,239
  21. Vars – 1,212
  22. Méribel – 1,151
  23. Tignes – 1,121
  24. Orcières 1850 – 1,080
  25. Peyragudes – 1,045
  26. Piau – 954
  27. Pic du Midi – 946
  28. Montgenèvre – 931
  29. Cauterets – 839
  30. Gourette – 818

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of May 2014. 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.

L’embarras du choix

This is a schizophrenic time of year for ski resort marketers on social media: do you keep talking about skiing till the very end, or start building a buzz about summer?

Well, judging by my Twitter feed at the moment, you can take your pick.

So… will it be winter?

…or summer?

Or, wait a minute, how about both? That’s the great thing about springtime in the mountains…

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (on 1 April ’14)

Alpe d’Huez once again stands out as one of the fastest growing French ski resorts on Twitter, adding 33% more followers in March. Since it put in place a new community manager arrangement, it has jumped from 19th in the ranking in December, to 7th now.

This past month, despite the one fresh dump of snow we had, spring fever has been building and Alpe d’Huez cleverly tapped into that by starting to talk about cycling. Check out its most retweeted tweets in March:

Alpe d Huez top tweets

source: twitonomy

Megève (+15%), Meribel (+10%), Les Gets (+9.5%) and Vars (+9.3%) were the other top movers in March. Megève continues its Twitter Card campaign, Meribel hosted the French national alpine ski championships in March and Vars continues to put itself on the map in the freestyle world, running the 2nd Vars Tournament which attracted global media attention including:

Les Gets, meanwhile, got Happy:

Average follower growth for all the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter settled at 6.1%, compared to 5.8% for the top 50 on Facebook.

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

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,547 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,315
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,195

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,783 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 4,480
  3. Chamonix – 4,248
  4. Val d’Isère – 2,971
  5. Morzine (en) – 2,564
  6. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,548
  7. Alpe d’Huez – 2,425
  8. La Plagne – 2,206
  9. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,037
  10. Les Menuires – 1,998
  11. Les Gets – 1,928
  12. Le Grand Bornand – 1,845
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,839
  14. Morzine (fr) – 1,818
  15. Avoriaz – 1,793
  16. Ax3Domaines – 1,624
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,556
  18. Les Contamines – 1,365
  19. La Tania – 1,305
  20. Aussois – 1,218
  21. Vars – 1,175
  22. Méribel – 1,100
  23. Tignes – 1,090
  24. Orcières 1850 – 1,056
  25. Peyragudes – 1,005
  26. Montgenèvre – 914
  27. Piau – 903
  28. Pic du Midi – 899
  29. Gourette – 801
  30. Cauterets – 688

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of April 2014. 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.

5 free deals for cycling in the French Alps this summer

France is the biggest destination for cycling tour operators in Europe, according to a recent study, and the economic value of all cycle tourism to the country is estimated at a massive €7.5bn a year.

After even just a couple of summers living here in the French Alps myself, I get the distinct impression that mountain resorts are increasingly recognising the value of encouraging cycling of all sorts.

Whether it’s about gentle family bike rides, climbing the cols or tearing down mountain bike trails, the offering for cyclists is gearing up noticeably.

This is a good thing, not just for local economies but also for the environment: “the emissions per cycle tourism holiday are 66% less than other holidays,” according to this same study.

It’s also a good thing because I’ve just got myself a road bike. Yay. OK, I’m still struggling with clipping in and out of the pedals, but I have aspirations to be climbing cols… soon. I also have a mountain bike, though I don’t do crazy downhill tracks. And I’m Dutch, so cycling is in my genes.

In short, I’ve been motivated to look around for good cycling-related promotions and, happily, I’ve found quite a few.

They range from small scale to big multi-partner operations and highlight, I think, just how important cycling is becoming to the summer marketing effort in the mountains.

So here’s my selection of 5 freewheeling freebies in the French Alps this summer:

1. Maps, maps, wonderful maps

Part of Savoie Mont Blanc's cycling route map - source: http://www.savoie-mont-blanc.com/Preparer-son-sejour/Infos-pratiques/Brochures

Part of Savoie Mont Blanc’s cycling route map

Maps and map-reading, sadly, are increasingly becoming a thing of the past and there are zillions of GPS apps and satnav thingys out there for cyclists, but I still love maps and there are plenty of lovely free ones out there for cyclists, many also with route details, profiles and at least the basics of what you need to know.

The Savoie Mont Blanc one can be ordered online and covers the Savoie and Haute Savoie main itineraries and Cyclo Maurienne has a good one, too. Alpes Haute Provence has more than 20 routes profiled and GPS (GPX) files free to download. Another good one is Morzine’s cycling guide – it has 14 routes mapped, profiled and described – in French and English – including the infamous Col de Joux Plane.

2. Ride the cols traffic-free

It’s free AND traffic-free and often there are free goodies too: drinks and food and the like. One col is closed to traffic for part of a day most weekends from mid-June through the end of August and you can just turn up and ride – it’s fun and sociable and not a race. Here’s the official link and here’s a description by Will of the excellent Cycling Challenge blog. Route descriptions and profiles are downloadable from the site too.

3. 3 cols with a coach 

This sounds quite appealing to a rookie like me: 3 cols in 3 days but with a coach cycling alongside to give you tips and a support vehicle should you need help and to carry any gear. The cols are classics: Glandon, Croix de Fer, Mollard plus the climb up to La Toussuire like in last year’s Tour de France, and it’s all free if you have accommodation reserved through Destinations Sybelles. Otherwise it’s a reasonable 15 euros per day. It runs on 3 different weekends – late June, late July and late August: here’s the sign-up form.

4. Tignes bike park and access

This one is for mountain bikers: once again this summer, Tignes mountain bike park and lift access to it is completely free! Sébastien Mérignargues, resort director, explains the reasoning behind the move in this interview (in French) – the bottom line is, it seems to be working for Tignes.

5. Bikes to borrow

In the Alpes de Haute Provence, Gap tourist office has bikes to lend for free (by the day, against a security deposit). There are touring bikes, junior mountain bikes and a couple of electric bikes.

If anyone knows of any other innovative and free cycling related promotions in the French Alps, please do comment.