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Customer Stories How Purgatory Resort Used Inntopia Marketing Cloud to Convert Paper Coupons into Integrated, SMS Barcodes

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Jan 27, 2021

Located just north of Durango in Colorado’s beautiful San Juan Mountains, Purgatory Resort isn’t short of incredible vistas and deep snow. But they’re also near one of the most competitive ski markets in the world. So while their success is influenced by the snow on their trails, it’s also very much determined by the small and simple ways they help guests have an incredible time.

This is where Purgatory’s on-mountain hosts come into play. These friendly faces are commonly known as “black hats” because of their iconic headwear –  a black cowboy hat – and have one simple goal: spread cheer and the joy of skiing. Amanda Anderson, Purgatory’s Director of Marketing, noted:

“This may seem like just a uniform but I love that the first people our guests see upon arrival are smiling mountain hosts dressed appropriately for the Durango ski scene – a town deeply seeded in our western roots.”

One of the resources mountain hosts have in their toolbelt is coupons they can pass out to the guests they interact with throughout the day. These small slips of paper, which can be redeemed by guests in the lodge for a free hot chocolate, are guaranteed to bring smiles to faces.

The Problem

As you can imagine, small slips of paper don’t hold up too well in wet, snowy conditions. And they’re also easy to misplace. Soggy or lost coupons aside, they’re also hard for Purgatory’s marketing team to track. So while they instinctively know these moments of cheer make a difference to the guests who receive them, relying solely on paper coupons alone makes it extremely hard to prove or quantify the benefits.

Looking for a simpler, smoother solution, Purgatory worked with their strategic account managers, Kurt Kinscherf and Devin Jensen, to implement a solution. Starting with Inntopia Marketing Cloud’s new SMS functionality and integration, Devin helped the team at Purgatory build this campaign via text messaging. Here’s how it works:

  • On-mountain hosts continue to pass out paper slips
  • Instead of the paper being the actual coupon, it tells guests to text a certain code to Purgatory’s SMS number
  • Once they text the number, the guest instantly receives a digital coupon with a barcode on their mobile device
  • The barcode can be presented and scanned in the lodge to receive a free drink
  • Coupon recipients’ details are synced to their Inntopia Marketing Cloud database alongside other guest data

How It’s Going

The feedback from on-mountain hosts has been extremely positive. So much so that they’ve now extended the coupon program to Purgatory’s ski patrol so they too can share the cocoa program with the guests they interact with. They also offered the code to their employees during the holidays as a thank you for all their hard work. Amanda also had this to say about how it’s gone thus far:

“This was our very first coupon campaign and Kurt and Devin made everything easy – we’re always thankful for them! We’re looking forward to additional automated texting capabilities to roll out and further partnering with Kurt and Devin. I’d also add that the texting coupons give us another layer of back up with our accounting efforts and helps us better understand where guest satisfaction comps are being booked which helps everyone!”

There are still a few problems to solve – like how to handle coupons for families with kids without their own cell phone – but Purgatory’s marketing team loves the transition thus far because of the ability to more easily and accurately track revenue and coupon usage. Even more, because SMS data is synced back to their Inntopia Marketing Cloud database, they also have the ability to view how this program fits into a complete view of each guest’s behavior and resort interaction, paving the way to confidently expand or improve the campaign as they go.

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