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.

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Top French ski resorts on Facebook this season

As an inter-season calm settles on ski resorts – except for the few that are still open, that is – it is time to take stock of how the winter season went on social media.

So I took the top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook on the 1st of May by number of fans and ranked for who grew their fans the most over the entire 2013-14 season. Would you guess these five?

  1. La Norma (+125%)
  2. Chamonix (+114%)
  3. Les Menuires (+96%)
  4. Métabief (+92%)
  5. Val d’Isère (+88%)

Admittedly, three ran contests to ratchet up their fans: La Norma and Val d’Isère in December, and Chamonix in January and again later in the season as part of its Lady by Chamonix campaign.

But Les Menuires and Métabief seem to have got there organically.

Les Menuires made a strong start to the season with posts like this:

Snowy Les Menuires

…and then never looked back, though it tailed off in March and April:

Menuires FB stats

It is no coincidence that it also relaunched its website this season, tying it in more closely with its social media channels.

Métabief, in the Jura, overcame challenging snow conditions to nearly double its fan base:

Metabief FB post

Overall this past month, average fan growth of the top 50 slowed right down to 2.6% in April, from 5.8% in March.

Later on this year, I’ll be checking on who grew fastest over the summer season. Some resorts are off and running with new summery cover photos already, but others are still stuck with winter scenes, so expect quite some variation.

Here is the ranking in full, as recorded on 1 May 2014:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 115,090 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 47,532
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 39,686
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 23,296
  5. Grand Massif – 12,341

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 161,459 fans
  2. Megève – 114,896
  3. Chamonix – 55,854
  4. Tignes – 53,430
  5. Courchevel – 49,183
  6. Les Menuires – 48,405
  7. Val d’Isère – 45,850
  8. Les Arcs – 44,562
  9. Alpe d’Huez – 40,061
  10. La Clusaz – 39,673
  11. Les 2 Alpes – 33,343
  12. Cauterets – 32,396
  13. La Plagne – 31,854
  14. Serre Chevalier – 30,183
  15. Saint Lary – 27,447
  16. Avoriaz – 27,213
  17. Vars – 24,542
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 23,036
  19. Méribel – 20,070
  20. La Norma – 17,326
  21. Ax 3 Domaines – 16,392
  22. Les Gets – 15,844
  23. Le Dévoluy – 14,111
  24. Les Sept Laux – 12,794
  25. Peyragudes – 12,346
  26. Châtel – 12,300
  27. Les Contamines – 12,290
  28. Les Orres – 11,851
  29. Lac Blanc – 11,741
  30. Morzine – 11,335
  31. Orcières1850 – 11,079
  32. Montgenèvre – 10,521
  33. Grand Tourmalet – 9,538
  34. Sainte Foy – 9,200
  35. Aussois – 9,593
  36. Valloire – 8,849
  37. Piau-Engaly – 8,789
  38. Les Saisies – 8,028
  39. Les Angles – 7,952
  40. Le Lioran – 7,736
  41. Gourette – 7,055
  42. Praloup – 6,206
  43. La Pierre St Martin – 6,113
  44. Le Corbier – 5,407
  45. Samoëns – 4,996
  46. Valmorel – 4,802
  47. Arêches Beaufort – 4,773
  48. Metabief – 4,763
  49. Villard de Lans – 4,749
  50. Luz Ardiden – 4,727

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 May.

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (1 Mar ’14)

February seems to have been a good month for the Belleville valley as Val Thorens (+6,506 fans, +4.6%) and Les Menuires / St Martin de Belleville (+5,113, +12.1%) posted the biggest Facebook fan gains in volume terms among French ski resorts.

Val Thorens celebrated two Winter Olympic medallists:

Val Tho fb cover photo

Les Menuires / St Martin de Belleville, which relaunched their websites earlier this year, continue to see an uptick in their social media, thanks in part to improved cross-linking between the websites and social media and partly also simply to useful posts like this one:

Percentage-wise, Chamonix grew fastest of the top 50, gaining 18% in February. The resort is trying to show its feminine side and is again this year running a competition on social media to recruit lady ambassadors. Its likes spiked right after this announcement:

lady by chamonix

Meanwhile La Tania is now knocking on the door of the top 50 (no. 55) after seeing its likes nearly double to over 4,000 when it ran a ‘predictions game’ around the Winter Olympics, offering a week’s lift pass as prizes.

Average fan growth of all the top 50 dropped to 4.4% in February despite the peak holiday season getting underway, down from 8.9% in January.

Here is the ranking in full, as recorded on 1 March 2014:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 113,310 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 44,040
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 38,670
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 22,124
  5. Grand Massif – 11,739

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 149,216 fans
  2. Megève – 114,472
  3. Tignes – 52,063
  4. Courchevel – 48,608
  5. Les Menuires – 47,395
  6. Les Arcs – 40,998
  7. Chamonix – 40,502
  8. Val d’Isère – 38,999
  9. La Clusaz – 37,404
  10. Alpe d’Huez – 36,947
  11. La Plagne – 30,886
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 30,628
  13. Cauterets – 29,725
  14. Serre Chevalier – 29,631
  15. Saint Lary – 27,205
  16. Avoriaz – 26,461
  17. Vars – 22,133
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 21,522
  19. Méribel – 19,364
  20. La Norma – 17,114
  21. Ax 3 Domaines – 15,394
  22. Les Gets – 15,171
  23. Les Sept Laux – 12,432
  24. Châtel – 12,306
  25. Peyragudes – 11,913
  26. Le Dévoluy – 11,735
  27. Lac Blanc – 11,637
  28. Les Contamines – 11,620
  29. Morzine – 11,077
  30. Orcières1850 – 10,675
  31. Les Orres – 10,663
  32. Montgenèvre – 10,349
  33. Grand Tourmalet – 9,540
  34. Sainte Foy – 8,993
  35. Piau-Engaly – 8,056
  36. Les Saisies – 7,782
  37. Le Lioran – 7,597
  38. Les Angles – 7,464
  39. Gourette – 7,026
  40. Aussois – 6,149
  41. Praloup – 5,948
  42. Valloire – 5,673
  43. Le Corbier – 5,301
  44. Metabief – 4,701
  45. Luz Ardiden – 4,611
  46. Arêches Beaufort – 4,555
  47. Samoëns – 4,535
  48. Luchon – 4,526
  49. La Rosière – 4,486
  50. Villard de Lans – 4,447

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 March.

These ski resort websites are getting personal

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.

la plagne home page

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).

les menuires home page

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.

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook (2 Feb ’14)

The term ‘pent-up demand’ came to mind as I analysed this month’s top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook. That is, when the demand for something is particularly strong and/or there is a scarcity of supply. Maybe my economics degree is coming in useful after all…

Pent-up demand for powder must have been running high at the beginning of January, after a slow start to the season, snow-wise.

So it should come as no surprise that those resorts that obliged with photos of the white stuff saw their likes spike almost immediately, notably Grand Tourmalet (+30%), Les Menuires (+25%) and Vars (+20%):

snow Grand Tourmalet

snow Les Menuiresneige fraiche Vars

Other resorts showing above-average fan growth include La Norma (+42%) – as it wound up its competition to win a holiday – and Chamonix (+25%), which ran a mini-contest for VIP tickets to the Freeride World Tour coming to town.

Average fan growth of all the top 50 ran considerably lower, at 8.9% in January, up just slightly from 8.7% in December. A handful of resorts saw less than a 2% increase in likes.

Here are all the scores, as recorded on the 2nd and 3rd of February, 2014:

Top 5 French ski domains on Facebook

  1. Portes du Soleil – 109,936 fans
  2. Nouvelles Pyrénées – 43,605
  3. Haute Maurienne Vanoise – 37,552
  4. Les 3 Vallées – 21,611
  5. Grand Massif – 11,481

Top 50 French ski resorts on Facebook

  1. Val Thorens – 142,710 fans
  2. Megève – 114,191
  3. Tignes – 51,042
  4. Courchevel – 48,020
  5. Les Menuires – 42,282
  6. Les Arcs – 40,325
  7. Chamonix – 35,529
  8. La Clusaz – 35,501
  9. Val d’Isère – 34,468
  10. Alpe d’Huez – 34,296
  11. La Plagne – 29,730
  12. Les 2 Alpes – 29,659
  13. Serre Chevalier – 28,954
  14. Cauterets – 28,043
  15. Saint Lary – 26,866
  16. Avoriaz – 25,858
  17. Vars – 20,842
  18. Le Grand Bornand – 20,674
  19. Méribel – 18,153
  20. La Norma – 16,886
  21. Ax 3 Domaines – 15,012
  22. Les Gets – 14,737
  23. Châtel – 12,174
  24. Les Sept Laux – 11,592
  25. Les Contamines – 11,451
  26. Lac Blanc – 11,422
  27. Le Dévoluy – 11,294
  28. Peyragudes – 11,221
  29. Morzine – 10,677
  30. Orcières1850 – 10,332
  31. Montgenèvre – 10,179
  32. Les Orres – 10,004
  33. Grand Tourmalet – 9,405
  34. Sainte Foy – 7,989
  35. Piau-Engaly – 7,764
  36. Les Saisies – 7,467
  37. Le Lioran – 7,335
  38. Les Angles – 7,151
  39. Gourette – 6,485
  40. Praloup – 5,715
  41. Aussois – 5,649
  42. Valloire – 5,350
  43. Le Corbier – 5,151
  44. Metabief – 4,585
  45. Luz Ardiden – 4,537
  46. Samoëns – 4,445
  47. Villard de Lans – 4,403
  48. Luchon – 4,401
  49. Valmorel – 4,399
  50. Arêches Beaufort – 4,379

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 2-3 February.

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.