10 Ways to Surprise & Delight

In the past 5 years, we’ve seen a trend with our mystery shopping and the experiences wineries are providing. It used to be the exception, not the rule, when we would see a host surprise and delight a guest beyond their expectations. In the past, we used the ‘bonus pour’ to wow our visitors. But today’s consumers are getting more savvy and have higher expectations, so our new goal becomes to surprise and delight every guest beyond that extra splash.

WISE Best Practice: Exceed every guest’s expectations on every visit by formally choreographing these elements of surprise and delight into each guest experience. The key is to do so in an authentic way, tailored to each guest. By asking open-ended questions, it will become easy to learn what will thrill each visitor.

Tens ways to surprise and delight our guests – when time, weather, by-laws, and locations permit:

  1. Greet them with a splash in the parking lot
    This delightful greeting sets us up for a fantastic visit, with our guests already enjoying our winery before they even walk in the front door. If you are by-appointment, it’s easy to anticipate their arrival. If you always have a lot of traffic, use a host to greet them outside and welcome them in.
  2. Call them by name
    If our visitors are by appointment, you know the name of at least one of the party who is coming. Put up a chalkboard with the names of expected guests. This lets them know that you thought about them in advance and are prepared to show them a great time. If your winery isn’t by appointment, introduce yourself and try to remember – and use – their names during their visit.
  3. Take guests on an impromptu tour into the cellar/vineyard/cave
    If guests are interested and time permits, they will love the insider’s view of what happens at our winery.
  4. Call ahead to the next winery and let them know our guests are on their way
    Our visitors will appreciate having a personal concierge who looks after their needs and keeps them on schedule. Be that person.
  5. Make a dinner reservation or offer dining suggestions
    Visitors frequently ask for our insider recommendations about where to dine. Since we have learned about our guests’ preferences during our tasting, we will be able to offer restaurant suggestions. Moreover, we can take that extra step to call in the reservation. This also should prompt the restaurant to refer their guests to us.
  6. Offer to take their picture…and email it to them
    Sometimes people are too shy to ask for a photo. Plan a space with a nice backdrop, bring a camera and offer to take that perfect vacation shot. As an added bonus, we can email it to them. That way we get their contact information and can follow up with our customer at a later date to offer wine and invite them to return.
  7. Have something for their kids to do and taste
    We endear ourselves to our guests when we provide an appropriate distraction for their kids, our future customers. Offer sparkling juice, a low table with paper, stickers, crayons so that the kids can have fun while the adults taste. If the kids are occupied, the parents will have a better time and buy more wine.
  8. Have water and treats for dogs
    Love me, love my dog. If we welcome their fur kids, our guests will remember this and return. If dogs aren’t allowed on your property or tasting room, make sure guests know we still love their fur kids and have water and treats available for them when the guests return to their cars.
  9. Provide recipes
    If you offer food pairings, provide a great recipe card that our foodie-visitors can take with them. This gives us another opportunity to send our brand message home with them and can prompt future purchases of the paired wine.
  10. Take their purchases out to their car for them
    This final act of hospitality sends our visitors on their way with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

People will remember what we don’t do – so take the time to do something really above and beyond their expectations. It doesn’t take much in time or money to really thrill our guests and be the winery they talk about when they return home. It just takes time, attention, and a desire to be of service. Are we meeting or exceeding expectations?

Read this same article on Wines & Vines or want to read more on wine clubs? Try these articles:

Above & Beyond

Good Enough Never Is

Tasting Room Roadmap