Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (on 1 Feb ’15)

It’s day 5 of the big snowstorm and it’s still snowing! Social media is deluged with pictures of peuf and smiling faces… as well as avalanche warnings.

The biggest mover in the Facebook rankings this past month was Val d’Isère, which has quietly climbed into third spot, from 9th before the winter began. It grew its fans 26% in January, hosting the Coupe d’Europe and also a classical music festival, though, as usual, the most engaging posts included photos of snow:

Les Menuires (+21%) was the second fastest growing, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary all this season (with a competition):

Les Gets (+20%) also grew strongly with posts like this:

The moral of that post is don’t forget to post video now and then.

Meantime, Whistler Blackcomb reached 200,000 Facebook fans in January while Val Thorens is still on track to get there sometime in February but just under 3,000 likes shy as I write this.

Now for the stats. Fan growth of the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook in January averaged 5% (down from 6% in December and 8% in November). Just 14 resorts showed above average growth, while eight in the top 50 grew their fans by less 2% this past month.

Here is the ranking in full, as recorded on 1 February 2015:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 119,204 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 55,495
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 49,130
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 28,638
  5. Grand Massif – 14,860

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 197,112 fans
  2. Megève – 116,240
  3. Val d’Isère – 82,223
  4. Chamonix – 79,089
  5. Les Menuires – 66,312
  6. Tignes – 61,564
  7. La Clusaz – 61,474
  8. Les Arcs – 58,685
  9. Courchevel – 54,704
  10. Alpe d’Huez – 46,285
  11. La Plagne – 44,050
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 43,891
  13. Cauterets – 40,954
  14. Serre Chevalier – 38,182
  15. Avoriaz – 35,314
  16. Le Grand Bornand – 34,695
  17. Saint Lary – 30,868
  18. Vars – 30,069
  19. Méribel – 26,027
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 25,146
  21. Les Gets – 22,968
  22. Orcières – 19,195
  23. La Norma – 18,153
  24. Le Dévoluy – 15,303
  25. Les Sept Laux – 14,788
  26. Peyragudes – 14,606
  27. Lac Blanc – 14,238
  28. Les Orres – 13,924
  29. Châtel – 13,808
  30. Les Contamines – 13,631
  31. Morzine – 13,408
  32. Saint François Longchamp – 12,387
  33. Montgenèvre – 12,005
  34. Valloire – 11,621
  35. Le Lioran – 11,454
  36. Grand Tourmalet – 11,105
  37. Les Saisies – 11,037
  38. Sainte Foy – 10,557
  39. Piau-Engaly – 10,472
  40. Aussois – 10,270
  41. Les Angles – 9,379
  42. Chamrousse – 8,724
  43. Risoul – 8,326
  44. La Pierre St Martin – 8,257
  45. Isola 2000 – 8,239
  46. Val Cenis Vanoise – 7,882
  47. Gourette – 7,830
  48. Praloup – 7,677
  49. Arêches-Beaufort – 7,431
  50. Oz-en-Oisans – 6,623

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 1 February.

Making sustainability sing in ski resorts – spotlight on: Les Gets

When it comes to climate change – and there’s no doubt any more that it has come to that – many ski resorts have historically had a tendency to keep a low profile, because they don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they generally have, today, less (natural) snow.

This is ironic, because actually mountain resorts have enormous potential to differentiate themselves by engaging positively on the environment. All the motivation you could possibly need to respect and be inspired by nature is right there, on the doorstep. I know it’s why I live here.

#ActOnClimate

Protect Our Winters (or POW), a non-profit organisation fighting climate change on behalf of the snowsports community, recognises this and highlighted it powerfully by campaigning around the hashtag #ActOnClimate:

More specifically, acting on sustainable development in mountain tourism has great potential to build brand awareness and exposure, reputation, consumer engagement and loyalty.

I want to be part of that

So how to engage people in what the resort is doing to become more sustainable and activate them to become fans of the effort, without dwelling on the negative effects of climate change? So that, as POW executive director Chris Steinkamp put it“consumers say to themselves, ‘that’s cool, I want to be part of that'”?

This is essentially the key challenge of marketing sustainability and the question I decided to pose to a number of different French ski resorts over the next several weeks. Several of them are doing great stuff to make sustainability sing and I’m hoping to help just a little bit by identifying, highlighting and sharing some creative solutions and ideas that work.

Environment is core in Les Gets

First up: Les Gets.

“For us, communicating on sustainability started out as a natural strategy, not a calculated one, but now it is: it is part of our brand. We are a family resort, a charming village, a part of the Portes du Soleil and we protect the environment – these are our four core characteristics now.” (Gaëlle Le Coz, Les Gets Tourist Office)

Thanks very much to Gaëlle and Chrystelle Felisaz at the Tourist Office there for taking the time to take me through everything that’s going on in Les Gets.  There was plenty to talk about but three initiatives in particular stood out for me as cool:

Nature-friendly accommodation scale

Edelweiss label Les Gets

The resort has launched an ‘Escale Nature’ for landlords and hoteliers, whereby their accommodation can be classified as 1, 2 or 3 edelweiss, depending on how many eco-efficiency criteria they comply with. Criteria include energy economy, waste management and a reduction in noise pollution.

What’s cool about this? It raises awareness among accommodation providers, engages them in the overall resort effort and gives them a way to differentiate their offering from the competition, as well as encouraging them to make eco-efficiency improvements. Neat. At the same time, it also raises awareness among visitors to the resort about the choices they can make.

The resort just needs to make sure the system is robust enough, in terms of criteria and compliance, so that the edelweiss rating is credible and meaningful. It could also make it more prominent on its central reservation site, so you could easily search for 3-edelweiss accommodation, for example. It’s early days yet, but looks promising.

20% off a day pass for eco-citizens

Second, a special offer this year is delivering the clear message that it pays to be more environmentally friendly.

This coming winter, drivers of an electric vehicle can get 20% of a day ski lift pass, as well as benefiting from reserved parking spaces and two electric car charging points in the resort. Simple, and highlights the resorts new electric car charging facilities.

Night navettes

Better still, don’t use a car at all, electric or not.

les gets navette nocturne flyer

Les Gets has a free shuttle bus circulating during the day to outlying areas and the lifts to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

That’s not unusual, but often these buses only run until the early evening. If you want to go out at night and are staying centrally, you still have to get your car out, or get an expensive taxi.

This resort’s answer? In the evening, it subsidises a pick-up on demand service that will take you where you want to go in the Les Gets area for just 2 euros per adult.

Win-win… win

So three quite different initiatives with one thing in common: they’re a win-win – for the resort and its customers. Oh, and there’s a third win, for the environment.

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter this summer

Looking through the Twitter lens, it’s been a fairly healthy summer for French ski resorts, despite the weather. Follower growth for the top 30 on Twitter June through August averaged 10.7% over the three months, compared to 13.2% last year.

Ten resorts achieved above-average growth, of which:

  • 4 are in the Pyrenees – Peyragudes (+27%), Cauterets (+21%), Piau (+19%) and Pic du Midi (+16%)
  • the top 2 are neighbours and rivals – Les 2 Alpes (+36%) and Alpe d’Huez (+29%)
  • VTT / MTB is a common thread for 4 of them: Les 2 Alpes, Meribel (+16%), Les Gets (+15%) and Tignes (+14%)
  • 2 have summer glacier skiing – Les 2 Alpes and Tignes
  • 1 saw the Tour de France come through town… again – Alpe d’Huez
  • and 1 is… Chamonix (+18%)

Here are just a random few of the tweets of this summer:

And now for the ranking in full, as compiled on the 1st of September:

Top 3 French ski domains on Twitter:

  1. Les 3 Vallées – 2,766 followers
  2. Portes du Soleil – 2,562
  3. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 2,511

Top 30 French ski resorts on Twitter:

  1. Megève – 8,330 followers
  2. Chamonix – 5,451
  3. Val Thorens – 4,780
  4. Alpe d’Huez – 4,097
  5. Val d’Isère – 3,279
  6. Morzine (en) – 2,830
  7. Les Arcs (fr) – 2,730
  8. La Plagne – 2,451
  9. Les Gets – 2,485
  10. Les Menuires – 2,112
  11. Serre Chevalier (en) – 2,107
  12. Morzine (fr) – 2,077
  13. La Clusaz  – 2,071
  14. Le Grand Bornand – 2,065
  15. Avoriaz – 1,935
  16. Serre Chevalier (fr) – 1,751
  17. Ax3Domaines – 1,704
  18. Les Contamines – 1,478
  19. La Tania – 1,433
  20. Méribel – 1,374
  21. Peyragudes – 1,3171
  22. Vars – 1,339
  23. Tignes – 1,326
  24. Aussois – 1,301
  25. Orcières – 1,190
  26. Pic du Midi – 1,159
  27. Piau – 1,155
  28. Les 2 Alpes – 1,112
  29. Cauterets – 1,071
  30. Montgenèvre – 1,033

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

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.

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook at the start of 2014

Happy new year and thanks for reading this blog over the past year! I’m looking forward to highlighting and analysing loads more innovative and engaging social media marketing practices in French (ski) mountain tourism in 2014, so please keep ’em coming.

The Portes du Soleil hit the 100,000 Facebook fans milestone just in time for 2014 and several other ski areas made strong gains at the start of the ski season and the end of 2013.

Top mention goes to the Grand Massif for its Flaine opening weekend lift pass competition, pledging to set the price of a day ticket at €15 if likes hit 5,000, €10 if they hit 7,500 and €1 if they hit 10,000 by the deadline. If you’re going to do a competition asking entrants to like your page, this has got to be the way to do it: it was quirky, engaging and the ‘likes’ actually meant something rather than just being the price of entry to the competition.

Ski enthusiasts being an enterprising lot, the 10,000 level was reached in good time…

…so lots of happy fans skied for a euro, many of them new to the ski area, as Flaine ski area director Frédéric Marion pointed out in a video interview on French TV.

Among the top 50 French resorts (rather than domains) on Facebook, these grew their fans the fastest in December:

  1. La Norma (+55%)
  2. Les Gets (+45%)
  3. Les Menuires / Saint Martin de Belleville (+37%)
  4. Val d’Isère (+25%)
  5. Courchevel  (+18%)

La Norma, Les Gets and Val d’Isère all ran competitions, Les Menuires just ran a simple, but striking, countdown to opening day, with calls to action:

Courchevel held a women’s World Cup slalom but, despite the buzz over that, the post that attracted the most likes was simply of SNOW:

Average fan growth of all the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook stayed high at 8.7% in December, down just slightly from November (9.3%).

Here are all the scores, as recorded on the 1st of January, 2014:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 104,209 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 39,314
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 36,081
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 20,632
  5. Grand Massif – 11,080

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 123,666 fans
  2. Megève – 113,407
  3. Tignes – 49,032
  4. Courchevel – 43,122
  5. Les Arcs – 39,161
  6. La Clusaz – 34,090
  7. Les Menuires – 33,718
  8. Val d’Isère – 30,461
  9. Alpe d’Huez – 28,921
  10. La Plagne – 28,921
  11. Chamonix – 28,432
  12. Serre Chevalier – 28,270
  13. Les 2 Alpes – 28,215
  14. Saint Lary – 25,621
  15. Avoriaz – 24,910
  16. Cauterets – 24,436
  17. Le Grand Bornand – 18,680
  18. Vars – 17,314
  19. Méribel – 16,570
  20. Ax 3 Domaines – 14,442
  21. Les Gets – 13,816
  22. Châtel – 11,949
  23. La Norma – 11,922
  24. Les Contamines – 11,318
  25. Lac Blanc – 11,162
  26. Le Dévoluy – 11,149
  27. Peyragudes – 10,662
  28. Les Sept Laux – 10,580
  29. Morzine – 10,302
  30. Montgenèvre – 9,940
  31. Orcières1850 – 9,743
  32. Les Orres – 9,579
  33. Piau-Engaly – 7,392
  34. Sainte Foy – 7,380
  35. Grand Tourmalet – 7,231
  36. Les Saisies – 7,028
  37. Le Lioran – 6,943
  38. Les Angles – 6,904
  39. Aussois – 5,559
  40. Gourette – 5,447
  41. Praloup – 5,277
  42. Valloire – 5,216
  43. Le Corbier – 5,005
  44. Luz Ardiden – 4,370
  45. Samoëns – 4,317
  46. Valmorel – 4,282
  47. Villard de Lans – 4,282
  48. Arêches Beaufort – 4,264
  49. Luchon – 4,246
  50. La Rosière – 4,084

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 January.

What’s hot: 5 cool moves to protect our pow

Winter is here. Thank the heavens, or the snow gods, or the powder pixies – whatever is your personal preference, it’s certainly looking good in the Alps so far. So here’s a little shout out for 5 cool moves to help keep it that way.

1. Greener grooming

Pistenbully 600E+

Hybrid pistebasher (credit: Pistenbully)

Two French resorts – the 3 Valleys and Serre Chevalier – have each acquired a brand new, more eco-efficient pistebasher for greener grooming this winter. The Pistenbully 600E+ is a diesel-electric hybrid that harnesses the energy on the downrides, enabling a 20% reduction in both NOx and CO2 emissions and a 20% drop in fuel consumption, according to its makers.

2. Clean lines
free navette poster

Free navette to Serre Chevalier

The Serre Chevalier valley is organising a free navette service from the TGV station in Modane to make it easier to take the train to the slopes. It’s only in peak season for now but show your support and maybe they’ll extend it. Reservation required.

3. Powering up

renewable electricity certificate

Les Gets signs up to use 100% renewable electricity

Les Gets is now getting all the electricity to run its lifts from renewable sources under a new contract with EDF.

4. Sharing the stoke

eco guide

Mountain Riders Eco Guide

Mountain Riders, the France-based organisation promoting sustainable development in the mountains, has published its newly updated Eco-Guide to mountain resorts. Useful information, no moralising.

5) Make it last

These past couple of weeks I’ve been in the US where I got a glimpse of the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday. It was scary. So this last one is a tip of my old ’70s wooly ski hat to Patagonia for their Worn Wear campaign, complete with Worn Wear parties in-store and repair your old gear clinics. Brilliant.