The ‘Hot Tub Ski Lodge’ marketing message

Pfefferkorn Spa closeup

The outdoor spa made from a huge old wine barrel.

One of the most enjoyable marketing messages I’ve worked on focused on a huge, old wooden hot tub, high on the snow covered mountains of Falls Creek.

I love to ski. And there’s nothing more enjoyable than soothing aching muscles in a hot tub at the end of the day. Particularly if it’s outside where you can see the stars and watch snow flakes melt on the rising steam.

15 years ago there weren’t many snowline hot tubs. That’s why I loved staying at Pfeffercorn lodge.

I became friends with the owner and he would often talk about the challenges marketing his property.


Marketing message challenges

There were 2 marketing message challenges.

Firstly, nothing about his marketing message stood out. He talked about the location on the mountain, size of the lodge, fun of skiing, number of bedrooms and sleeping options available, etc.

Fine. But it was seen as just another accommodation option.

Built in 1965, Pfefforkorn was a classic, small ski lodge. It’s position was nothing special, in the middle of the village, and it was older and smaller than many other chalets.

Secondly, the name ‘Pfefforkorn’ was hard to spell and pronounce. This is important. Word-of-mouth message transfer is crucial for any idea or product to be successful. And the name made it harder for friends to pass the marketing message on to others.

Frueauf Kids in Spa

People now go to the snow just for the spa experience!


An ‘ideas guy’

The owner was an ideas guy. He was fascinating to talk to. His mind was always working. We chatted about marketing his lodge. He regularly asked my opinion and would invariably have 3 ideas or a new brochure to discuss.

The conversations were enjoyable, but I was there to ski; to take in the fresh mountain energy and the crisp high-country air. So I didn’t get into my normal ‘message consulting’ mode during these talks.

What’s the message consulting mode you ask? Whether it’s for a speech or marketing project, this is where I (some would say aggressively) attack the problem, look at the weakness of the message and suggest ideas to make it vivid, sticky and memorable.

I had gently suggested that he needed one focal point for his marketing. That he should highlight one thing that people could remember and pass on. A transferable message.

Falls Creek now has more hot tubs per capita than most ski mountains.

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What’s the message?

One day, as a few of the guests and I were warming our bones in the hut tub, he pulled out a brochure to get my opinion. I remember thinking something like ‘All I wont to do is marinate‘. But something kicked me into aggressive message mode. The conversation went something like this:

Owner: What do you think of the new brochure?

Me: It’s too cluttered and has no stand out message. Why not make the hot tub the focus?

Owner: Well, it is mentioned here on line 12…

Me: No good. Make the whole thing about the hot tub! Rave about the world famous Pfefforkorn spa! Spend 70% of your brochure on this. Paint a picture of how people can warm their bones when it’s cold outside. Show that it’s the coolest hot tub on the planet, made from a huge old wine barrel…

Owner: But what about all the other important information?

Me: Dump most of it and put the crucial details in small print. They know they can ski here. They know you’re at Falls Creek. They know you’ve got beds. Give them one vivid message mate!

Frueauf roof spa


Message recall

To cut a long story short; he did. And it worked it’s ass off.

People started to talk about ‘the lodge at falls creek with the fabulous hot tub’. They would repeat the details about it’s wine history to their friends because it was interesting to talk about.

Often, they couldn’t remember the name of the place(!), but raved about it anyway and passed on the booking number.

The marketing momentum continued to improve over time. It added real, dollar value to the property.


Talking point for new, luxury apartments

In 2004 the old Pfefferkorn lodge made way for 2 new modern developments, Huski and Frueauf Village.

Here’s a quote from the original sales brochure for the new, luxury apartments:

“We will incorporate some of Pfefferkorn Lodge’s black stained timber into the new Huski project. We will also retain the communal hot tub, which was once a feature out the front of Pfefferkorn, for Huski’s day spa clientele.


With a vivid message, everything flows

Once a marketing message is clarified, it becomes much easier to come up with creative ideas to reinforce that message.

When the message is vivid, it’s quicker and simpler for individuals or a whole team to focus on the project and add relevant ideas.


Find your core message and build your marketing, speech or presentation around it.


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