Refining the Digital Customer Experience with LAAX

The case study discusses a campaign by LAAX , a ski resort in Switzerland that redefined the visitor experience in nature through technology.

The Flims Laax Falera region are three lift-linked villages that collectively share one of the biggest skiing areas in Switzerland. The destination is marketed under two very clear, seasonal brand strategies - the winter product is positioned under brand 'LAAX'  while the summer products and experiences are under 'Flims'. In this case study, we are going to focus on how brand LAAX is being built entirely around the winter product, ski slopes and snow parks.

The DTTT team visited the GALAAXY, 'the hub' of the LAAX ski resort in Switzerland, where we met with Eliane Bernasocchi-Volken, Head of Marketing & Sales and Claude Bravi, Head of Digital to get more insights into the brand, its focus on the winter product, and the key development of the digital customer experience.

The Flims Laax Falera region are three lift-linked villages that collectively share one of the biggest skiing areas in Switzerland. The destination is marketed under two very clear, seasonal brand strategies - the winter product is positioned under brand 'LAAX'  while the summer products and experiences are under 'Flims'. In this case study, we are going to focus on how brand LAAX is being built entirely around the winter product, ski slopes and snow parks.

LAAX Brand Strategy

LAAX is a very famous winter destination featuring 224 kilometres of slopes, 4 snow parks, 5 snow-covered downhill runs, the world’s largest half pipe and an indoor freestyle academy catering to all levels of experience. Last year, the newly redeveloped GALAAXY was unveiled - an innovative social hub of activity in the form of a station on top of the Crap de Sogn peak, made with 80's style iconic elements and fluo colours and signs. This is the last thing you would expect from a mountain station and again clearly shows how LAAX’s intention was to focus on a young target segment.

They also host key events such as the annual LAAX Open which further backs the credibility of the resort. LAAX Open is a renowned event in the European mountains for the whole family which welcomes influential freestylers and snowboarders from the industry.

With the addition of this infrastructure, key events and activities, LAAX has successfully created a large freestyle and snowboarding community, becoming one of the leading snowboarding and freestyle resorts. Over the years, LAAX has extensively developed its offer to this niche community, creating a really strong overall package which is communicated through highly focused targeting and relevant messaging to the core audience.

The mission is, "to redefine your experience in nature through technology", effectively promoting LAAX as a lifestyle, and not just as another winter holiday in Switzerland.

As such, all promotional content and product are highly targeted to a younger audience segment, which includes the promotion of the largest half-pipe of the world, events and all the connected activities for snowboarders and ski free-riders. It is clear to see the use of music, language, tone and voice is targeted to this specific segment, and by generating new customer-centric products and services, LAAX successfully positions itself as a strong lifestyle brand within its sector.

Digitalising Visitor Services - Inside LAAX App

Initially, LAAX’s main promotional activities were through the website, social media and newsletter marketing, however one of its key communication tools is now the highly targeted Inside LAAX app. The Inside LAAX App is a highly functional and sophisticated app which offers users a whole host of extra benefits, adding so many extra layers to the overall customer experience. A great example of digitalisation of services combined with usability according to the specific target market, and developing products with user behaviour and experience front and centre.

The app was launched in 2016/17 and since then has continued to evolve and expand with over 140,000 users today. The app has a significant list of functions to make the customer experience as seamless, convenient and enjoyable as possible adding value throughout the journey, and it is still being added to. You can order food, track what you've done that day, track your friends, meet new people, and it also includes access to other activities and experiences outside the mountain, for example buying a cinema ticket.

From the app users can:

  • Book tickets to the lifts
  • Book food at one of the restaurants and just pick it up on your way
  • «MyStory» will enable skiers and snowboarders to track their performance on the mountain, earn badges for their achievements and collect rewards which get the user access to exclusive deals only available on the app. Once you start to collect badges, your skier type is defined.
  • Smart Dash: relevant information like lift status and webcams in the morning, a recommendation on where to have lunch at midday and what is happening in the evening.
  • The 3D map provides a truly unique view of LAAX. You‘ll have access to live slope, lift and restaurant statuses. Using the geolocation feature you can locate yourself anywhere in the resort. Once located, use the Augmented Reality (AR) feature to have a look around at what slopes & lifts are nearby.
  • Q-Alert cams tell you exactly which lifts are the busiest so you can avoid the queues.
  • The brand new FRIENDS function will allow you to see what everyone you know is up to on the slopes and lets you compare your on-mountain performance.

As well as added convenience, another key element to the app and the destination’s digital strategy is gamification and the sociability aspect, which allows users to connect with and challenge other users. For destinations, gamification provides an experience-based service and e-loyalty programme to meet visitor needs by enhancing the in-destination experience.

Integrating gameplay with rewards enhances the visitor experience with fun and engaging features, particularly with this target audience and within this sector. Almost 18,000,000 INSIDE points have been collected so far. Here at the #DTTT, we think this is a really innovative way to demonstrate how DMOs can use technology to shape and enhance the visitor experience.

Utilising Smart Data

In terms of the DTTT 12 Stage of Transformation Series, Stage 7 looks at “Targeting & Distribution” considering the importance of data at the core of any content targeting and distribution strategy. Claude talks about how the app successfully gathers plenty of data and insights, however, these insights are only used to personalise the content and messaging for the user.

He highlights the importance of only utilising this data to be more personalised and individualised, with the focus on the customer’s needs at the forefront. This fosters a strong relationship of trust between the brand and customer, ensuring the customer knows they can provide data knowing they will only see what they want to see, and they will not be bombarded with multiple marketing emails and messages.

“…touch the heart of the customer with the information they want to see” - Claude

Together with this data, KPIs and a soft marketing approach, the insights enable LAAX to continuously refine its offer, adapting the app based on emerging trends and personas.

How gamification can work for DMOs

For destinations, gamification has many benefits, particularly in a destination such as LAAX. Combining a gamified visitor experience and utility and function make for a great mobile visitor experience. Digital here serves a great purpose of enhancing interaction and engagement, creating memorable experiences for your visitors while softly fostering loyalty around the brand.

These memorable experiences encourage word-of-mouth, particularly with this younger segment who are mobile pioneers and enjoy sharing their experiences. Gamification is also a new way of communicating and getting to know your customer with the view to improve the digital customer experience, key in today’s climate.

Access our  worksheet on Gamifying the Visitor Experience below

Key Takeaways

1. Constantly evolve

The key to the Inside LAAX app is that it is continuously taking the data it accumulates and it is constantly evolving to always meet the customer's needs. In today’s current climate, consumer behaviour and technology are changing quicker than ever before therefore it is crucial to stay agile and adapt your strategy whenever needed. Gone are the days when you would establish a year’s marketing plan. Ok, that may be extreme but the key is to stay agile! Whether that is your content strategy or digital strategy, it is essential to stay relevant in such a competitive market.

2. Listen to your customer

Your customer has all the answers. In order to develop a product or service to meet your customer’s needs, you have to listen to them and adapt. Consumer behaviour and data are what shapes your strategy. Without knowing who your key audience is, how can you communicate your message?

3. Identify key product and audience and develop this

LAAX has demonstrated that it knows its brand, product and audience perfectly. Rather than trying to promote everything to everyone, it has identified its core niche community and key product, developing really strong key messaging and content tailored to this specific audience.

Published on:
November 2020
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