COVID-19 and Ski Resorts (V). Lessons from Mad Men



In my marketing classes at university, my students really like it when I use videos from TV-shows (from South Park to Yes Minister) as teaching resources.


Now, during the COVID-19 lockdown, I am re-watching one of my favorites, Mad Men, looking for inspiration for my next article and I was really surprised by how relevant this series actually is for what I’m currently working on.


Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner. Mad Men is set in '60 America at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. The series' main character is advertising Creative Director Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm).




In the last episode of the first season, we find one of the greatest pitches ever shown on TV.


In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound (...) This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again”, Don Draper: (Mad Men S1: E13).




Having our customers at the center of our destination marketing strategy requires an understanding of the main phases of the Tourist Life Cycle – from the beginning of the inspiration process until after the return.

The life cycle of the tourist trip consists of three phases.


  • Before the trip.

This is the inspiration phase, but also the decision and purchase phase. Tourists look for information about the places they would like to go to. In this phase, destination marketing teams are the key to easing the start of the process keeping the consumer inspired to choose our destination.


  • During the trip.

This is the experiential moment by nature. It runs from the moment the physical journey begins until the moment one returns to one’s usual place of residence. Tourists’ perception of a destination is made up of all the services consumed and each of the experiences. To a great extent, this is what determines the final degree of satisfaction related to the trip.


  • After the trip.

This phase is becoming increasingly important. Communication with tourists must be maintained in order to get their opinion on the trip.



I wrote in my previous article that, under the current circumstances, we must focus our efforts on the inspiration phase of the customer journey. People are dreaming about their future trips to our ski resorts (#dreamnowtravellater) so we must keep them inspired with good memories. It is time to keep our guests emotionally linked to our destinations.


And in the 21st century, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram have entirely changed the way marketers reach their audiences. If you’re a social media marketing professional, you’re well aware that selecting a social media platform is all about understanding where your audience is and which one is the most impactful platform to achieve your destination goals.


Instagram is now an integral part of the social media landscape. It is the fastest growing platform in the history of social media.

Instagram marketing is no longer something to consider — it’s just something to do. It comes with the job now. Those who understand this are no longer asking themselves WHY they should do it, but rather HOW they should do it correctly in order to get the results they want”, Iconosquore. Instagram Marketing Trends & Benchmarks Report 2019.


Instagram is a visual platform where people come to share moments, find passions, and most importantly, get inspired.


Instagram is producing higher engagement rates for destinations compared to Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.



Instagram is the new "Carousel", a time machine taking our customers to a place where they want to go again and our prescriptors/influencers are the ones to help us play the show.


Nich-Influencers in the 10k-100k follower range offers the best combination of engagement and broad reach, that exceed influencers with higher followers. When choosing to collaborate with this influencer segment, you are looking also for the quality of interactions.


Why Nich-influencers?


  • Cost-efficient: Nich-influencers come at a much lower cost.

  • Better than word of mouth: Consumers have higher chances of listening to recommendations from this kind of influencers than an average person.

  • More authentic: They are seen as more credible sources in the eyes of followers, compared to other sources.

  • Higher engagement rate: Due to their niche focus, these influencers tend to have higher engagement rates on their posts.


So, gather your team of influencers, and keep your guests on the loop. Because the "show must go on"...