I recently attended WineGB’s Business and Marketing Conference (2-4 March 2021) on Wine Tourism. The focus of the conference was on how UK wineries can take better advantage of tourism an utilise the largely untapped potential for cellar door tourism to increase profits and engage more with new and existing customers.
One thing that surprised me was the level of optimism felt by both speakers and delegates for the future and a potential bounce back once current restrictions are loosened.
The Wine Tourism conference programme included a range of UK and international speakers from the wine trade and beyond who spoke enthusiastically about how best to make wineries UK tourist destinations. All talked about the journey they are going through, learning from others, making mistakes, but all emphasised they needed to keep focussing on the primary aim – achieving exceptional customer service.
Franck Arnold, MD at The Savoy, gave a fascinating talk on how they examine in minute detail the customer experience, gauging guest interactions with staff, services and the building on all five senses.
Charles Simpson, co-founder of Domaine de Sainte Rose in the Languedoc, France and Simpsons Wine Estate in Barham gave some very interesting insights into the differences in attitudes to cellar door tourism between France and the UK.
The key messages I took from this Wine Tourism conference were:
- There is a need to foster collaboration between wineries. Each winery is unique and therefore their customer offering is very different. It is important for wineries to collaborate, rather than compete, with each other.
- Wineries typically have the resources to provide a wider experience to customers than just the winery and wine. They have outdoor spaces, land, and buildings, and are well positioned to offer cafes, restaurants, accommodation, education, etc.
- English wineries have a captive local audience, more so than countries where wine growing is an established tradition. For example, it is much more difficult in French wine growing areas to sell a winery as a tourist destination.
- The wine itself is not so important when attracting tourists. What is much more important is the customer experience, the winery’s ambiance, and overall customer service.
- People will enjoy and buy the wine because of their experience at the winery not the other way around. Therefore, it is vital that wineries cultivate a positive cellar door experience for their customers.
Developed over the last 20 years and powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Bevica is a powerful best practice ERP software solution that has been designed specifically for the drinks industry. Bevica is a Silver Patron of WineGB. For more information about Bevica and how it can help your business, click here.
Wines of Great Britain (WineGB) is the national organisation for grape growers and winemakers. It promotes, represents and supports the interests of all sizes of vineyards and wine producers in England and Wales, whilst providing a wide range of services and benefits for its members.
By Claudio Martell, Bevica Product Manager