March 25, 2008

Surfing Destinations Can Learn From Ski Resorts

Back from Easter Holidays. We spent three days at this amazing beach called Praia do Rosa in the South of Brazil. Rosa is a beach community that's all about surfing. People from all over Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina go to Rosa in search of great surfing conditions, well-preserved coastal vegetation and in the winter, Rosa is a sanctuary for Right Whales that come to this little paradise to breed. We went to Praia do Rosa for a Family surf clinic. Every year we go on a Family ski trip but now that we're living in Brazil, we want to do the same with surfing. The interesting thing is that, in the case of skiing or snowboarding if you google 'family ski' a number of resorts will appear in the search, including places that specifically cater to families such as Smuggler's Notch (Vermont) or Steamboat (Colorado). Locations that are totally prepared to make it convenient for families to enjoy the sport: clinics, ski-in/ski-out lodging, ski valet service, rentals, demo with latest gear... everything you need. It's not the case of surfing. 

The experience at Praia do Rosa was awesome. I'm convinced that there's an amazing opportunity for beach resorts to position themselves as surfing destinations in the same way that ski resorts do with a full range of services that brings the experience to a broader demographic.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

You are right! the experiential marketing model from ski resorts could also apply to any sport like golf, scuba diving or surfing... but usually all those but surfing have in common a planned development. It could be a real state developer or any private or public organization that designs the experiences and control the quality of accommodation, restaurants, retail and other services. And most important, the practitioner has to pay a fee to use the lifts, the golf course or the boat that takes you to the reef...
Such is the case of the biggest in this industry > that after building the most successful ski resort in the western world ( has applied the same model for a beach resort in Florida
This model only works with vertical management, and that is why European ski resorts may have incredible runs and views but they are far from delivering top quality experiences like in US or Canada. You may find a good hotel in Courchevel or an experienced ski instructor in Cortina but the holiday package is difficult to bundle with same quality level.
Since you don't pay to ride a wave, surfing is still free from management models... it is the most individual of all sports... and even if there is a huge industry built on the surfing lifestyle (mostly fashion) there are not many investors that foresee the opportunity on building "surfing resorts".
But I think that could change in a near future when there will be a generational switch of surfers that become adults with more acquisition power. Then, a wise company could invest on designing family surfing experiences!!!
Miriam Cloquell
(my playground was