A quick tweet from the ski lift: a must considering the view! Perfect skiing conditions: make your friends jealous with a Facebook post! And then those fresh yeast dumplings: the perfect picture for your Instagram account! Since nowadays almost everybody wants to share their special moments on social networks, more and more ski resorts are laying the foundations for slopes with Internet access.
For their analysis, the travel search engine kayak.de selected ten ski resorts in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France respectively and tested their Wi-Fi connectivity. In 30 of the 50 ski resorts, skiers and snowboarders were able to surf on the Internet.
Half of the 30 ski resorts also offered their guests not only Wi-Fi in their base and peak stations or restaurants but also right on the slopes. Especially Italy and Austria are leaders in this trend: Winter sports enthusiasts will find a total of 234 hotspots on the slopes alone in the ten Austrian ski resorts.
In the study, Kronplatz in South Tyrol is the ski resort with the best Internet access in Europe with 100 hotspots right on the slopes. But it isn’t their commitment to customer service that is the driving force behind the extensive Wi-Fi development, but rather the ski resort’s clever social media strategy.
Kronplatz has its own pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Flickr, and therefore gives its visitors the opportunity to talk about the ski resort online using specific hashtags. That way all posts about the Kronplatz can be easily found and are not lost in the infinite expanses of the Internet.
To get as many visitors as possible to post, tweet or post on Instagram about their experiences on the slopes, Kronplatz has made it as easy as possible by installing Wi-Fi right on the slopes. Because, the more visible the ski resort is on the Internet, the bigger the advertising effect.
The fact that Germany isn't exactly progressive when it comes to Wi-Fi is also apparent in its ski resorts. According to the study, not even half of the ten resorts tested offered their guests any kind of Internet access. Winkelmoosalm/Steinplatte is the only German ski resort that offers a hotspot right on the slope.
At Hörnerbahn in the Allgäu, the German-Austrian ski resort “Das Höchste” near Oberstdorf and in the region Zugspitze/Garmisch Classic in Garmisch-Partenkrichen, winter sports enthusiasts can surf on the Internet in some areas near the lifts and in some of the restaurants.
The ski resort “Das Höchste” started equipping base and peak stations as well as restaurants with Wi-Fi four years ago. Like his Southern Tyrolean colleagues, spokesman Jörn Homburg believes that having the Internet in ski resorts is important for visibility in social networks.
In the future, guests will be able to go online on some of the lifts – but not on the slopes. “That would require an enormous financial investment,” says Homburg. Plus, guest surveys have shown that the majority of visitors don’t think it’s necessary to surf on the slopes. It’s understandable that slope conditions are more important to winter sports enthusiasts than posting conditions. From a marketing perspective, a mixture of both would be perfect.