Sugarloaf mountain resort picks up new Director, Sales & Marketing
Sugarloaf golf and ski resort announced the appointment of ski industry veteran Brad Larsen as the new director of sales and marketing, according to AlpineZone.com
As the former director of marketing for Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia, Larsen brings more than eight years of experience in ski industry sales and marketing. At Snowshoe, Larsen received accolades for his work from the West Virginia Division of Tourism and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).
At Sugarloaf, Larsen will oversee all aspects of sales and marketing, including leisure and conference sales. Larsen graduated with a degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin, and expressed excitement about joining the Sugarloaf team.
Sugarloaf is recognized as one of the top winter and golf resorts in the world, and is home to the only lift-serviced above treeline skiing and riding in the East. The Sugarloaf Golf Club is one of Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America. Sugarloaf is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions.
Director of Communications Darcy Liberty spoke further with WinmoEdge about Larsen’s new role at Sugarloaf
She said that initially, Larsen will focus on the Sugarloaf Golf Club and the summer activities surrounding the resort, seeing as the timing of his arrival coincides with the resort’s summer seasonal amenities.
Liberty added that he won’t necessarily put off the winter season activities like skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing just yet, and added that this will still be a focus, but will take a temporary backseat to the summer sports.
“My first priority is to listen,” Larsen told DV. “I don't have any immediate plans for change. I want to first understand Sugarloaf’s business and culture better."
Liberty said that Larsen intends to make sure that Sugarloaf’s sales and marketing is aligned both in messaging and in goals.
Additionally, current Marketing Director Jim Costello will stay on board at Sugarloaf, but has shifted his responsibilities to director of marketing and sales for Sunday River, a sister resort to Sugarloaf.
Larsen’s role will also entail ramping up awareness for the Sugarloaf brand. Liberty said that while Sugarloaf does enjoy a great following of loyal brand ambassadors and fans, there is “always a need to focus” on building up brand recognition.
“Short term, he wants to learn more about Sugarloaf, its history and plans for the future,” she said. “Long term, he hopes to align the business, managing yields with lift tickets and lodging. Sugarloaf already has great brand recognition, but given how competitive skiing and riding in New England is, there is always room for more.”
While radio and television buys have always been a popular way for Sugarloaf to advertise its resort facilities, Liberty said that the company has also included some direct mail in that mix, and has added a big Web push as well, specifically with reaching out to its club or season pass members.
“We’ve definitely been into (Web 3.0 and social media marketing) for awhile,” she said. “We have a dedicated community of 1,100, and we communicate (with them) through blog posts, videos and pictures showing what the property looks like.”
Liberty found it difficult to pinpoint a specific type of market that frequents Sugarloaf more than others. She said that the one thing that all of its community members have in common is that they consider themselves a “Sugarloafer,” which she said is just about the only common thread sometimes.
Larsen said that a typical audience for Sugarloaf is a combination of families and singles in Northern New England. An ideal audience would be families with younger kids who are just getting interested in the sport.
“Potential challenges include shortening booking windows,” he said. “One way to hopefully avoid this is to potentially provide guests with a better sense of security either through shorter cancellation periods or requiring less of an initial deposit.”
Liberty said that the resort is currently looking at new partnerships for its upcoming season.
“Sugarloaf currently works with (Montgomery, Ohio-based) Ryan Solutions for database and CRM management,” she said. “There is no agency of record but we do have a number of freelancers in place.”
Interested agencies may want to reach out to Sugarloaf sooner rather than later to discuss potential partnerships, seeing as the winter season will be here before you know it and Sugarloaf will want to pick its partnerships before it’s too late.
Sugarloaf / USA
5092 Access Road
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947
Director, Sales & Marketing
Chief Executive Officer