Guest Journey

Choreographing Guest Journey  Some say the quality and impact of the experiences you offer your guests matter more these days than having a best-in-class wine. Everything matters – from the moment guests drive onto the property until they leave.  Successful wineries actually choreograph this guest journey experience. For a memorable guest experience and a positive reflection of your brand, you have to step back and literally look at the path the guests take from the moment they approach your property through the tasting experience from a fresh, consumer point of view.  Creating this path or map is called a Customer Journey… Read more »


SWOT, Won’t You? With the New Year fast approaching, we have a fresh slate and a chance to start the year off right. As the saying goes “If you don’t know where you’re going, any bus will take you there.” Even if our organization is clear on where we are going, we will still need a reality check and team buy-in about on how to get there. Strategic planning – or an annual strategic tune up – is essential and the foundation to this is an unbiased evaluation of our current reality. We’ve found one of the best ways to… Read more »

Driving Qualified Traffic

Driving Qualified Traffic More quality, not quantity please. It’s November.  Harvest is wrapping up.  Visitor traffic is slowing way down. Now what? How are we going to drive winter tasting room sales with so little traffic? Remember the number of visitors doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of the traffic. Qualified traffic refers to visitors with a propensity to buy now, to buy again later (provided they had a great experience) and even to become loyal ambassadors and help spread the word about our winery and wines. They’re customers who are more likely to be interested in our… Read more »

Beyond the Pour

Beyond the Pour Pour & Ignore The phrase “pour and ignore” is not how you want people to refer to your tasting room experiences. Sure, on a busy weekend afternoon, it becomes a challenge to give each customer undivided attention, but this should be the exception not the rule. We know from hundreds of mystery shops that there is a huge correlation between the guest satisfaction and the interaction the guests have with winery staff, so more needs to be done in the tasting room than just pouring wine.  Merely Monologue A vast number of enthusiastic tasting room staff has… Read more »

Front vs Backstage

Front Stage vs. Backstage We often talk about the Disney concept of “Everything Speaks” – a concept that suggests that service is manifested everywhere your organization touches the customer. These touch points affect the customers’ perception of your brand and puts them in a mood or a frame of mind that can affect their experience at your winery. Every minor detail within these touch points says something about you or your winery to your guests – ‘everything speaks.’ Another concept we often talk about at WISE is Front Stage versus Backstage. Think of the guest experience as a theatrical production…. Read more »

Better Branding – Part III

Part III of Better Branding through Consumer Direct. Differentiating Your Brand – It’s harder than you think! Defining your brand and making sure the messaging is consistent means being clear on what is most important to your brand. Three Key Brand Points The first step is to decide on three – and only three – key points.  Make sure they are authentic, positive and compelling. Once you are clear, focus your team – including everyone working in your tasting room or representing you on the phone – on these three points. Clarity here will really make their job easier.  Then… Read more »

Better Branding – Part II

Part II of Better Branding through Consumer Direct. Common Brand Fumbles in the Tasting Room – How to avoid them? The biggest challenges – that we have seen when mystery shopping hundreds and hundreds of wineries – are two areas where a winery’s brand seems inconsistent and sends mixed messages to the consumer. These are what we call brand fumbles. Brand Fumble #1: How Do You Avoid ‘Gut Check” Inconsistency? The first type of brand fumble is when our internal assessment or “gut check” is conflicting with what we know the winery website promises and/or what the desired brand story… Read more »

Better Branding – Part I

Part I of Better Branding through Consumer Direct Big Boy Brands – What can we learn? What is this esoteric thing is called brand?  Do you have to have an MBA to understand it?  Do you have to have deep pockets to really leverage it? We dedicate many lessons during our WISE Academy certification course to help winey DTC team members tell a better brand story – to have their brands do more of the heavy lifting in creating a memorable guest experiences and in selling more wine.  But “teaching” how to leverage our brands can get a bit …. Read more »

Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping Lessons What makes your winery different than your neighbors’? Your story? Your wines? Your location or venue? Making your winery stand out as different from the hundreds of other wineries is more of a challenge than you might think. What makes your brand different from your neighbors and other wineries sells the experience. And, what you and your team think of as your brand story may not be the message that your guests perceive. The best way to figure this out isn’t seeing it written up on Yelp! or TripAdvisor (although it’s good to check there) – don’t… Read more »

Positive Profiling

Positive Profiling – Are you listening? Good sales people know that to sell, it’s more than a good presentation on your product. Great sales people know selling requires active listening. Stop talking at your customer and create a dialog to talk with your customer. This builds relationships by creating engagement and trust. But, you can’t have a conversation without asking open-ended questions to understand more about your customer. When you engage with your customers, you learn about their lives, the things they like to do, eat, drink…By asking questions, you can start to better understand their needs and start weaving… Read more »