Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (2 Nov ’14)

First of all, in acknowledgement of the snow fall yesterday, I’ve changed my header image. Yay, winter is coming! That should wake things up a bit on social media.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at what happened with French ski resorts on Twitter in October. Not a whole lot, it must be said. Average follower growth for the top 30 ticked up to just over 5%, from 4% in September. Better than on Facebook anyway.

La Plagne grew its followers fastest (+17%) and, hmmm, was also one of the biggest movers on Facebook earlier this autumn. What’s going on over there? Well, a contest for a start, to win… a keyring (but a cute one):

And, behind that, a new community manager, since a few months, and a mega new chairlift going in, appropriately called Colosses:

Also running hot (or rather cold) in October was Les 2 Alpes (+10%), which re-opened for skiing on its glacier:

Meribel meanwhile gained nearly 10% more followers as well, even though it only graced us with 5 tweets all month.

Here’s the list in full, as compiled on the 2nd of November:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 3,028 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,793
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,708

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,292 followers
  2. Alpe d’Huez – 6,260
  3. Chamonix – 5,953
  4. Val Thorens – 5,184
  5. Val d’Isère – 3,595
  6. Morzine (en) – 3,029
  7. La Plagne – 3,019
  8. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,979
  9. Les Gets – 2,582
  10. Morzine (fr) – 2,256
  11. Les Menuires – 2,232
  12. La Clusaz  – 2,195
  13. Avoriaz (fr) – 2,169
  14. Le Grand Bornand – 2,168
  15. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,164
  16. Avoriaz (en) – 2,169
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,885
  18. Ax3Domaines – 1,752
  19. Méribel – 1,589
  20. Les Contamines – 1,534
  21. La Tania – 1,521
  22. Peyragudes – 1,511
  23. Tignes – 1,507
  24. Vars – 1,456
  25. Aussois – 1,358
  26. Pic du Midi – 1,319
  27. Les 2 Alpes – 1,272
  28. Orcières – 1,265
  29. Piau – 1,231
  30. Cauterets – 1,176

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 2nd of November 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.

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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 at the start of 2014

The 3 Valleys stood out for Twitter activity in December. It made the most of opening early and took over from the Portes du Soleil as the leading French ski domain on Twitter. At the same time, Méribel leapt into the top 30, growing its followers 29% in a month.

Alpe d’Huez was also active (+17%), exhorting followers to vote for it as Best European Ski Resort 2014, apparently to good effect (it came in 3rd), and enjoying a Folie Douce lift as well:

Outside the top 30, Samoëns is getting up to speed on Twitter and nearly doubled its followers in December to over 200, after signing up only last October.

Average follower growth for all the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter rose to 9.4% from 10.3% in November.

Here is the ranking in full on the 1st of January:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 1,873 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 1,855
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 1,782

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Val Thorens – 3,683 followers
  2. Chamonix – 3,397
  3. Val d’Isère – 2,445
  4. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,270
  5. Morzine (en) – 2,121
  6. Serre Chevalier (en) – 1,849
  7. Les Menuires – 1,768
  8. La Plagne – 1,787
  9. Le Grand Bornand – 1,508
  10. Morzine (fr) – 1,501
  11. Ax3Domaines – 1,484
  12. La Clusaz  – 1,428
  13. Megève – 1,351
  14. Les Gets – 1,351
  15. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,275
  16. La Tania – 1,202
  17. Aussois – 1,133
  18. Avoriaz – 1,113
  19. Alpe d’Huez – 1,042
  20. Les Contamines – 953
  21. Vars – 946
  22. Orcières 1850 – 910
  23. Tignes – 863
  24. Montgenèvre – 762
  25. Peyragudes – 755
  26. Piau – 736
  27. Méribel – 708
  28. La Chapelle d’Abondance – 706
  29. Pic du Midi – 680
  30. Le Dévoluy – 645

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of January 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 (on 1 December ’13)

Twitter is clearly a good place to talk about snow and early season opening: the five French resorts that added the most followers in November were all ones that opened early.

Les Angles (+21.3%) and Piau (+18.9%) in the Pyrenees grew the fastest among those in the top 30, followed by Val Thorens (+18.7%), Tignes (+16.9%) and Alpe d’Huez (+16.4%).

Among their most engaging tweets were:

Once again, it’s quite simple really: just show us the snow!

Average follower growth for all the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter rose to 10.3%, from 6.6% in November.

Here is the ranking in full on the 1st of December:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Portes du Soleil – 1,672 followers
  2. Les 3 Vallées – 1,623
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 1,600

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Val Thorens – 3,326 followers
  2. Chamonix – 3,109
  3. Val d’Isère – 2,213
  4. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,155
  5. Morzine (en) – 1,947
  6. Serre Chevalier (en) – 1,748
  7. Les Menuires – 1,668
  8. La Plagne – 1,625
  9. Ax3Domaines – 1,411
  10. Morzine (fr) – 1,410
  11. Le Grand Bornand – 1,396
  12. La Clusaz  – 1,323
  13. Megève – 1,279
  14. Les Gets – 1,208
  15. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,153
  16. La Tania – 1,129
  17. Aussois – 1,093
  18. Avoriaz – 1,009
  19. Alpe d’Huez – 889
  20. Les Contamines – 888
  21. Vars – 852
  22. Orcières 1850 – 851
  23. Tignes – 741
  24. La Chapelle d’Abondance – 702
  25. Montgenèvre – 683
  26. Peyragudes – 666
  27. Piau – 662
  28. Le Dévoluy – 619
  29. Pic du Midi – 599
  30. Les Angles – 575

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

Early bird ski resorts catch the skiers

La Clusaz 30Nov12
(photo from La Clusaz’s facebook page this morning)

 

When I heard mid-week that nearby La Clusaz was going to open this weekend, I was impressed: it can’t be easy to get things ready that fast, so it must really be worth it to them. How worth it? I was curious…

First of all, there’s the sheer logistics of it. “You need to be able to react very quickly,” says Pierre Lestas, head of the ski lift company at La Clusaz, who somehow very kindly found a few minutes to talk with me. On Tuesday evening, there still wasn’t enough snow yet. Wednesday afternoon it would be too late to get everything ready on time: the only window to make the decision was Wednesday morning.  Come that morning, a bit more snow, a forecast of continuing cold, and part of the domain assessed open-able, and the decision was made to go for it.

So that means less than three days to get the pistes bashed and marked, the lift on and off ramps all set up, staff in place, mountain restaurants stocked and opening, special lift pass rates decided and promoted, and the media tipped off. Phew, and there I am feeling good that we managed to get the snow tyres on the car in time (never mind getting my skis waxed, finding my missing ski glove, getting new batteries for my transceiver…)

As for the benefits, they would seem to fall broadly into three categories:

Tap into the early season buzz

Imagine, says Mr Lestas, that we didn’t do it… La Clusaz’s regular clientele would be so disappointed come the weekend. “Our clients are looking forward to the start of the season at this time of year and it’s our responsibility not to disappoint them and to open as soon as the conditions allow.”

The buzz on social media certainly ticked up around these openings for the resorts concerned and, though a few may complain that the special lift pass tariffs are too high, most are extremely enthusiastic.

Besides which, of course, it is business: the weekend is fully expected to be profitable. Montgenèvre, near Briançon, reported good pre-season business the two weekends in November that it opened early.  Les 7 Laux, which managed to open on the 31st of October for the Toussaint holiday, is having a second pre-opening this weekend.

Signal it’s going to be a good season (and get talked about)

Moreover, “an early opening like this attracts the attention of the our clients and reassures them about the snow conditions,” says Mr Lestas in La Clusaz. Images on facebook of snow are one thing; actually opening for people to ski on that snow is quite another. And even if early snow is no guarantee of a good season, as one local knowingly told me recently, it’s an influential time of year. Bookings for the rest of the season typically go up when you have a pre-season opening. Special season ticket promotions are usually still running and are often extended to pick up the extra sales. Then there’s the press coverage. Montgenèvre and Les 7 Laux both got TV coverage in France of their early openings.

Build an early bird reputation

Finally, for some resorts, being early to open is quite simply a key part of their brand reputation. Montgenèvre is one; Val Thorens is most definitely another, and the other French glacier resorts – Tignes and Les 2 Alpes – also.

Val Thorens regularly opens late November with an event, the Ski Force Winter Tour, which includes promotional ski pass and stay rates and a chance to test the this season’s new equipment.Grégory Guzzo, director of the Office du Tourisme de Val Thorens, describes his resort’s opening as marking “the real launch of the ski season in France“. So it’s a good sign then, not only for them but for everyone, perhaps, that this year’s opening weekend turnout was a record.

Many thanks to La Clusaz, Montgenèvre and Val Thorens for their assistance and une très bonne saison to everyone!