Intrawest Resorts

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Pursuing Personas

Intrawest Resorts was a developer and operator of destination resorts, including high profile properties in Colorado (Steamboat Springs, Winter Park), West Virginia (Snowshoe), Vermont (Stratton) and Canada (Blue Mountain, Mont Tremblant).

It’s an impressive array of locations, but Intrawest’s marketing team faced a common challenge—the enormous cost of each resort developing “unique” messaging campaigns to locally created personas that it turned out had a lot in common. A better plan? Compare and contrast resort personas, and back up a new and common set of audience groups with extensive research, simplifying marketing and alleviating cost.

Spawn Ideas’ Hooligan innovation practice was called in to create several customer personas that would be relevant to all the resort properties.

Demographics, Psychographics and Snow Gods

A persona is a composite representation of a customer. The Hooligan team dove deep into Intrawest’s numbers and were able to craft the various personas using qualitative and quantitative information from each resort’s audience data. These personas allow Intrawest to understand the needs and wants of their customer segments and help provide focus and purpose for marketing and advertising efforts. The agency leveraged its partnerships for additional data from resources such as Experian, CEB Iconoculture, Snowsports Industries America and 4A’s.

Here are a few highlights of the persona creation process:

  • Findings from the Intrawest data were overlaid with Experian data.
  • Experian data included the usual age, gender, income, and education info, as well as deeper insights on travel behavior, such as online booking habits and general attitudes on life/travel/brand interactions/advertising.
  • Demographic and psychographic models were built out from this data merger.
  • These demographic/psychographic profiles included behavior and motivations unique to highly specific segments such as older Legacy Builders and young, mostly male, Snow Gods.

The Multipurpose Persona

The ultimate benefit of developing personas is that they can help to create a common language across multiple business units and, importantly, reduce marketing cost. And, while personas are instrumental in guiding marketing efforts, they can be of use to an entire organization. For example, an architect who is creating a new property may consult a persona one-sheet to gain insights in helping with design decisions.

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