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Nice doesn’t pay the bills

One of the goals of wine tourism is to create experiences that connect your visitor to your brand. This also happens to be one of the greatest challenges that many wineries face. Because you only have a small window of time to get your visitors’ attention and gain their trust, everything counts.

Much like your wines, you know you haven’t truly transmitted everything to the consumer when he/she responds with, “It’s nice.” Nice? With increasing competition and an immese tourism offer for the wine tourist, nice just doesn’t cut it.

Remember that every wine experience, from the smallest to the most glamourous, is about the details. These points will help you take your experience from ‘nice’ to outstanding.

Put your best face forward

What first attracts a visitor to a wine center or winery is its visual appeal. It is not necessary to fork out thousands of euros on renovating or building a new winery just for wine tourism (although if you have the budget for it there are plenty of architecture firms that now specialize in amazing winery design). But a little fine-tuning of your tour and the spaces you are showing can add a lot to the experience. First, having a clean, tidy and safe environment is a must and non-negotiable. Additionally, think about creating a welcoming and cosy atmosphere that will make your visitor feel at ease. This can be achieved by adding special touches likes flowers at the reception desk, candles in the washrooms, and soft music in the tasting area. Dogs score big points for creating a familiar and friendly feeling so let them make some new friends.

Skip the ordinary and focus on the extraordinary

Stainless steel tanks are cool but, why not wow your visitor with something really special and unique? Not sure what it is? Observe your visitors. They will be naturally attracted to certain areas at your estate – areas where they linger longer and where they take more pictures. Find out what it is and then make that space a key part of your tour. A century-old cellar, the barrel room, an old chapel, or an incredible lookout of the city are all areas that have charm, romance and also spark the imagination of your visitor. They can imagine times bygone and how things were done in the old days. Additionally, any space with views of the vineyards and the landscape is essential to the tour and reminds the visitor that your wines have a sense of place.

Service with a smile

If you think you’re in the wine business, think again. When it comes to wine tourism, you are in the customer service biz and it means putting your customer first. It means taking care of your visitor, anticipating their needs, meeting their expectations, going above and beyond to make them feel valued and doing all of these with a big ol’smile on your face. It’s not enough to just provide good service, it must go along with a positive attitude, a warm welcome and genuine interactions by you and your staff towards your guests. Small details like helping with directions to get to the next winery visit, finding a restaurant to eat nearby and offering coffee during an unexpected delay takes the experience to the next level.

Even the best people get trained

Often overlooked, service and hospitality can make or break an experience. Selecting the right people  – those that are truly service-oriented and actually like it – is fundamental to a great experience. But having good people doesn’t mean you can leave them to it. Even the best people get trained. Create a training manual for them that outlines the service and hospitality standards, story-telling techniques and all procedures to follow from beginning to the end of the visit. This is imperative to your long term success.

What’s your message?

Everything that your visitor hears, smells, sees, touches during a winery visit communicates something about your brand. Take the time to go through every aspect of your wine tour and facility to make sure you are communicating the right message and that that message is consistent with your brand. The best experiences leave your visitor with a thorough understanding of what brand means and a simple and straightforward message of who you are.

Know how to tell your story

Your visitors’ attention span is brief. They are easily distracted by the winery movement, the people around them, and most times they are busy taking pictures of just about everything they see. So you need to be able to communicate your story in a quick, but memorable way. Who you are, what you do and how got there should be your starting points, but then think of about what makes your company different. What’s the most important and exciting part of your company? Don’t be afraid to tell your visitors of your losses and your successes. Everyone loves a hero – the real struggles and those amazing triumphs. Once you’ve got your story, create a script. At different parts of the visit you can add and expand on the story, but the script will keep you focused and make sure you are reinforcing your brand’s identity.  Your story is what will set you apart from your neighbours so it’s important to get it right.

Don’t leave anything to chance. If you don’t have the time to review your product, get professional help to iron out those small but significant details.