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Inspiration Are you holding your guests’ hands enough? Hint: Probably not.

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

I want you to imagine two scenarios.

The first is getting invited to speak at a big university in a town you’ve never been to. “Just meet us at the back entrance of the Ray Bowen building at 6:00pm for a quick rehearsal” they say. The second is that same invitation but at your alma mater.

Picture in your mind being a few blocks away from the university and ask yourself what would be the difference of the next 5-10 minutes between those two situations?

Questions vs. Answers
The simplest way to describe the difference would be questions versus answers. Universities are big, complex areas with their own rules and systems and layout. So pull into a university you’re unfamiliar with and you’d pull into campus asking dozens of questions:

  • Where do I park?
  • There’s a lot, is it paid?
  • Hmmm, no signs. Will I get a ticket or booted here?
  • Is this the closest one to the building?
  • Not seeing a name, is this the right building?
  • Which entrance is the back entrance? Is it this one?
  • This door looks it’s it, do I go right or left?

At your alma mater, however, there would be no such questions. Your familiarity with the campus, even a decade or two (or three) later, would mean that you’d have more answers than not.

That’s a Ski Resort
Ski resorts are just as complex, if not more. But like those university employees in our story, we are so familiar with how they work we sometimes lose sight of how tricky that can be to navigate. We say things like:

  • At the base of the Superquad Chair
  • Behind the ski-school building
  • To the left of Lot 2

Without ever realizing that nobody outside of loyal passholders and employees have any clue what you’re talking about.

Got a New Thing, Do What Whistler Did
This is especially true when you get a new, summer activity because all sorts of folks who have never been to your resort are suddenly going to starting pulling off the highway. Their questions would be things like:

  • Which lot do I park in?
  • Do I just park wherever?
  • Is that hotel thing the base lodge or is that smaller building?
  • What is a gondola?
  • Where do I go once I make it to the village?

Whistler had such a thing with their new Cloudraker Skybridge. They’ve been inspiring people to come see it for months, but instead of leaving new visitors to their own devices, they created this.

Notice how granular they got with the directions. At virtually no point did they assume “oh, they’ll know what to do or what this building looks like.” Quite the opposite, instead, and I think that’s why the end result is so clear and useful.

It may not win any awards, but this is one of the smartest marketing messages I’ve seen this summer.

Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback? Comments are old-school, click here to grab a 15 minute slot on my calendar and let’s chat.

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