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.

 

 

Which ski resort just quadrupled its Twitter followers?

While Facebook is starting to look fairly mature and steady as a platform for French ski resorts, over on Twitter it is all still happening. Just take a look at who (out of the top 30) grew the fastest in February and by how much:

  1. Megève (+426%)
  2. Avoriaz (+36%)
  3. Les Contamines (+29%)
  4. Alpe d’Huez (+22%)
  5. Méribel (+15%)

Yes, that’s right: Megève more than quadrupled its followers in February! The resort, whose VP Tourism is e-reputation expert Jean-Marc Seigneur, has been quick to take advantage of Twitter’s newly launched ‘tailored audiences’ retargeting capability, issuing a (promoted) Twitter card:

The promotion targets audiences that are likely to be interested in mountain tourism and the Megève brand, explains newly appointed community manager Etienne Marin, and is part of Megève’s overall e-reputation and ‘smart ski resort’ strategy, which includes the We Are Megeve platform

The resort has also launched a new English-language twitter account:

…although not one yet in Russian. Playing around with analytics on Followerwonk shows that the resort has almost as many Twitter followers tweeting in Russian as in English:

megeve twitter graph

Elsewhere, Alpe d’Huez continues to reap the benefits of its new community manager set-up and Les Contamines also looks dynamic, with its web ambassador programme well into its second year.

Serre Chevalier, which is one of only two resorts with two Twitter accounts in the top 20 (the other being Morzine) is currently recruiting web ambassadors, or social reps as it calls them and has swapped around its twitter names so that @serrechevalier is now the French language account, while the English language one has become @serreche_uk.

Overall, average follower growth for all the top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter soared to 23.4% including Megève, and held roughly steady at 9.5% excluding them (compared to 9.8% in January).

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

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,320 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,207
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,052

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 7,646 followers
  2. Val Thorens – 4,278
  3. Chamonix – 4,083
  4. Val d’Isère – 2,839
  5. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,487
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,481
  7. La Plagne – 2,109
  8. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,028
  9. Les Menuires – 1,962
  10. Alpe d’Huez – 1,818
  11. Le Grand Bornand – 1,772
  12. Morzine (fr) – 1,768
  13. Les Gets – 1,761
  14. La Clusaz  – 1,757
  15. Avoriaz – 1,658
  16. Ax3Domaines – 1,601
  17. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,460
  18. Les Contamines – 1,320
  19. La Tania – 1,275
  20. Aussois – 1,193
  21. Vars – 1,075
  22. Orcières 1850 – 1,026
  23. Tignes – 1,023
  24. Méribel – 998
  25. Peyragudes – 925
  26. Montgenèvre – 877
  27. Piau – 862
  28. Pic du Midi – 835
  29. Gourette – 770
  30. Les Angles – 688

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of March 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 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (on 1 November)

A bit like Brits quoting Monty Python, if you live in the French Alps sooner or later you will find yourself around a dinner table with people falling about laughing and quoting lines from the film Les Bronzés font du ski.

This year in October, Les 3 Vallées put on Les Belges font du ski, a party in Brussels to promote the resort and the two La Folie Douces it now boasts, in Méribel and Val Thorens.

It is clearly doing a push on the Belgian market because its Easy Rider initiative to encourage new people into the sport (and to the resort) is inviting Belgian families to apply this year.

What with joining the Epic Pass as well, another Folie Douce party in London and a strong presence at the London ski show, all in all it has been a busy month on the marketing front for Les 3 Vallées – and it shows: Facebook fans rose nearly 9%, more than any of the other ski domains (note: domains, not resorts).

3 Valleys at London ski show

3 Valleys photo booth album at London ski show

It has also been a productive month on social media for Serre Chevalier, whose FB fans were up 23% in October after it announced it would open for (free) skiing on 13 December for the first 2,000 to apply (and, you’ve guessed it, like their page).

In fact, activity is hotting up overall as the temperatures cool down and fan growth on Facebook for the top 50 French ski resorts averaged 3% in October, up from 1.7% in September. After Serre Che, Les Contamines (+11.4%) and Chamonix (+10.8%) scored the highest fan growth of those in the top 50 yet again.

Here are all the scores on the doors, as recorded on the 1st of November:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 95,825 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 35,951
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 19,122
  4. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 13,071
  5. Massif du Sancy – 8,005

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Megève – 112,632 fans
  2. Val Thorens – 110,686
  3. Tignes – 45,659
  4. Les Arcs – 34,929
  5. Courchevel – 31,596
  6. La Clusaz – 29,466
  7. La Plagne – 26,477
  8. Alpe d’Huez – 26,420
  9. Serre Chevalier – 24,824
  10. Les Menuires – 23,938
  11. Avoriaz – 23,458
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 22,777
  13. Cauterets – 22,572
  14. Chamonix – 21,972
  15. Saint Lary – 21,615
  16. Val d’Isère – 20,340
  17. Le Grand Bornand – 15,325
  18. Vars – 15,271
  19. Méribel – 13,363
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 12,442
  21. Châtel – 11,326
  22. Le Dévoluy – 10,949
  23. Lac Blanc – 10,231
  24. Les Sept Laux – 9,727
  25. Les Contamines – 9,505
  26. Montgenèvre – 9,322
  27. Peyragudes – 9,169
  28. Les Gets – 8,920
  29. Les Orres – 8,865
  30. Orcières1850 – 8,616
  31. La Norma – 7,564
  32. Sainte Foy – 7,113
  33. Piau-Engaly – 6,392
  34. Grand Tourmalet – 6,367
  35. Morzine – 6,291
  36. Les Saisies – 5,949
  37. Les Angles – 5,636
  38. Aussois – 5,421
  39. Valloire – 5,019
  40. Le Corbier – 4,674
  41. Luz Ardiden – 4,099
  42. Praloup – 4,084
  43. Arêches Beaufort – 4,032
  44. Samoëns – 4,031
  45. Luchon – 3,971
  46. Villard de Lans – 3,970
  47. Valmorel – 3,828
  48. Le Lioran – 3,827
  49. Manigod – 3,708
  50. La Rosière – 3,681

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 the 1st of November.

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (on 1 October ’13)

No pre-season lull over on Twitter: average follower growth for the top 30 French ski resorts even rose slightly, to 4.6% in September, from 4.1% in August.

Tignes pulled off double-digit growth again (+10.9%), the only resort in the top 30 to do so as it gets ready to re-open for glacier skiing on 12 October.

Les Contamines (+9.7%) meanwhile continues to punch above its weight, attracting attention:

It experimented with appointing web ambassadors last year (I was one) and is about to announce a new bunch so I guess it must be pleased with how that initiative has gone.

Third for follower growth in September was Chamonix (+8.4%), still gaining on Val Thorens but not top of the charts yet.

Here are all the scores on the 1st of October:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Portes du Soleil – 1,443 followers
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 1,346
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 1,135

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Val Thorens – 2,576 followers
  2. Chamonix – 2,526
  3. Les Arcs (fr) – 1,973
  4. Val d’Isère – 1,727
  5. Morzine (en) – 1,706
  6. Serre Chevalier (en) – 1,625
  7. Les Menuires – 1,536
  8. La Plagne – 1,422
  9. Ax3Domaines – 1,289
  10. Le Grand Bornand – 1,240
  11. Morzine (fr) – 1,222
  12. Megève – 1,187
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,130
  14. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 996
  15. Les Gets – 994
  16. La Tania – 987
  17. Aussois – 983
  18. Avoriaz – 855
  19. Vars – 749
  20. Orcières 1850 – 739
  21. Les Contamines – 727
  22. La Chapelle d’Abondance – 695
  23. Alpe d’Huez – 680
  24. Le Dévoluy – 576
  25. Peyragudes – 565
  26. Montgenèvre – 557
  27. Tignes – 520
  28. Les Sept Laux – 506
  29. Piau – 506
  30. Lac Blanc – 491

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of October. 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 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (on 1 October 2013)

A dusting of snow across in September heralded the start of autumn in the Alps. But it was not quite enough to quicken the social media pulse and the average monthly fan growth rate of the top 50 French mountain resorts on Facebook slowed further, to 1.7% in September, from 2.0% in August and 3.1% in July.

A few resorts charged ahead anyway, notably these five:

  1. Les Contamines (+21.4%)
  2. Chamonix (+10.4%)
  3. Le Grand Bornand (+7.8%)
  4. Serre Chevalier (+7.4%)
  5. Vars (+6.4%)

And snow did seem to be the common thread in their most engaging posts:

Dawn view

Chamonix showing off what it does best

Snow at Les Contamines

A sign of things to come for Les Contamines

Snow dusting Aravis mountains

Le Grand Bornand also makes the most of it

Meanwhile a handful of resorts lost fans, including at least one ( Le Dévoluy ) that had run a competition during the summer, evidence once again that money can’t buy you love.

Here’s the ranking in full, as recorded on the 1st of October:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 94,554 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 35,658
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 17,552
  4. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 13,028
  5. Massif du Sancy – 7,855

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Megève – 112,535 fans
  2. Val Thorens – 105,573
  3. Tignes – 44,431
  4. Les Arcs – 34,571
  5. Courchevel – 31,163
  6. La Clusaz – 27,391
  7. La Plagne – 26,073
  8. Alpe d’Huez – 25,662
  9. Les Menuires – 23,357
  10. Avoriaz – 23,054
  11. Cauterets – 22,482
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 21,853
  13. Saint Lary – 21,538
  14. Serre Chevalier – 20,231
  15. Chamonix – 19,833
  16. Val d’Isère – 19,789
  17. Vars – 15,040
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 14,242
  19. Méribel – 12,723
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 12,297
  21. Châtel – 11,260
  22. Le Dévoluy – 10,939
  23. Lac Blanc – 10,110
  24. Les Sept Laux – 9,452
  25. Montgenèvre – 9,183
  26. Peyragudes – 9,071
  27. Les Orres – 8,798
  28. Les Gets – 8,678
  29. Les Contamines – 8,531
  30. Orcières1850 – 8,448
  31. La Norma – 7,523
  32. Sainte Foy – 7,094
  33. Piau-Engaly – 6,260
  34. Grand Tourmalet – 6,231
  35. Morzine – 6,133
  36. Les Saisies – 5,780
  37. Les Angles – 5,516
  38. Aussois – 5,395
  39. Valloire – 4,958
  40. Le Corbier – 4,595
  41. Luz Ardiden – 4,063
  42. Praloup – 3,976
  43. Arêches Beaufort – 3,962
  44. Samoëns – 3,935
  45. Luchon – 3,930
  46. Villard de Lans – 3,904
  47. Valmorel – 3,756
  48. Le Lioran – 3,749
  49. Prat Peyrot Mont Aigoual – 3,657
  50. La Rosière – 3,573

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 the 1st of October.

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter (on 1 September ’13)

Over on Twitter, average follower growth for the top 30 French ski resorts remains healthy at 4.1% in August, down slightly from 4.7% in July.

Two resorts in the top 30 managed double-digit growth this past month: Tignes (+11.7%) and Chamonix (+10.4%).

At this rate, Chamonix could overtake Val Thorens as the French ski resort with the most followers on Twitter sometime in September. This month, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc was in town and on the social media airwaves but I doubt whether trail is really going to dethrone alpinism in this mountaineering mecca:

Images of lofty peaks and climbing routes are a staple of Chamonix’s twitter timeline and this one got more retweets than most:

Meanwhile Tignes continues to position itself as a buzzing place to be in the summer with all sorts of weird and wacky activities centred around the lake (blobjump or flyboard, anyone?) and a dizzying highdiving competition:

Others in the top 30 growing their followers 6% or more in August were: Piau (+9%), Les Contamines (+8%), Montgenèvre (+6.7%) and Les Gets (+6.2%),

Here’s the full ranking by total followers:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Portes du Soleil – 1,379 followers
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 1,297
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 1,046

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Val Thorens – 2,454 followers
  2. Chamonix – 2,330
  3. Les Arcs (fr) – 1,915
  4. Val d’Isère – 1,727
  5. Morzine (en) – 1,637
  6. Serre Chevalier (en) – 1,589
  7. Les Menuires – 1,501
  8. La Plagne – 1,366
  9. Ax3Domaines – 1,263
  10. Le Grand Bornand – 1,199
  11. Morzine (fr) – 1,156
  12. Megève – 1,146
  13. La Clusaz  – 1,075
  14. Aussois – 953
  15. La Tania – 943
  16. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 940
  17. Les Gets – 932
  18. Avoriaz – 819
  19. Vars – 715
  20. Orcières 1850 – 707
  21. La Chapelle d’Abondance – 694
  22. Les Contamines – 663
  23. Alpe d’Huez – 640
  24. Le Dévoluy – 571
  25. Montgenèvre – 542
  26. Peyragudes – 530
  27. Les Sept Laux – 499
  28. Lac Blanc – 478
  29. Piau – 474
  30. Tignes – 474

Please note: these numbers were polled on the 1st of September. 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 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (on 1 September 2013)

Social media activity seems to have tailed off a bit as the end of the summer season approaches. The average monthly fan growth rate of the top 50 French mountain resorts on Facebook slowed to 2.0% in August, from 3.1% in July.

‘Average’ never tells the whole story though and there was still plenty of engaging stuff going on. Take a look at the top three by fan growth in August:

  1. Chamonix (+15.7%)
  2. Cauterets (+11.0%)
  3. Les Contamines (+9.4%)

Chamonix and Les Contamines both played host to the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and over 6,000 competitors in total plus support teams, families and friends. Here are some thumbnails from its Facebook photo album:

UTMB collage

credit: UTMB® 2013

Cauterets once again wowed its fans with photos: this time one of the Lac de Gaube that got 10,695 likes and 1,666 shares last I looked just now:

Lac de Gaube

Cauterets’ top scoring Facebook post

Here’s the ranking in full, as recorded on the 1st of September:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 94,536 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 35,021
  3. Les 3 Vallées – 17,300
  4. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 13,020
  5. Massif du Sancy – 7,775

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Megève – 112,668 fans
  2. Val Thorens – 105,111
  3. Tignes – 43,932
  4. Les Arcs – 34,388
  5. Courchevel – 30,953
  6. La Clusaz – 27,281
  7. La Plagne – 25,916
  8. Alpe d’Huez – 25,601
  9. Les Menuires – 23,242
  10. Avoriaz – 22,853
  11. Cauterets – 22,418
  12. Saint Lary – 21,520
  13. Les 2 Alpes – 21,320
  14. Val d’Isère – 19,686
  15. Serre Chevalier – 18,873
  16. Chamonix – 18,200
  17. Vars – 14,145
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 13,276
  19. Méribel – 12,404
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 12,280
  21. Châtel – 11,261
  22. Le Dévoluy – 11,008
  23. Lac Blanc – 10,052
  24. Les Sept Laux – 9,408
  25. Montgenèvre – 9,160
  26. Peyragudes – 9,024
  27. Les Orres – 8,770
  28. Les Gets – 8,582
  29. Orcières1850 – 8,391
  30. La Norma – 7,509
  31. Les Contamines – 7,135
  32. Sainte Foy – 7,118
  33. Piau-Engaly – 6,233
  34. Grand Tourmalet – 6,197
  35. Morzine – 6,009
  36. Les Saisies – 5,649
  37. Les Angles – 5,496
  38. Aussois – 5,400
  39. Valloire – 4,903
  40. Le Corbier – 4,572
  41. Luz Ardiden – 4,036
  42. Villard de Lans – 3,930
  43. Arêches Beaufort – 3,917
  44. Praloup – 3,909
  45. Luchon – 3,902
  46. Samoëns – 3,900
  47. Valmorel – 3,716
  48. Le Lioran – 3,696
  49. Prat Peyrot Mont Aigoual – 3,655
  50. La Rosière – 3,530

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 the 1st of September.