There is a perfect storm brewing. It is time to batten down the hatches!
A recurring theme is coming up in recent WISE conversations all over the country. From our friends in the New York Finger Lakes to wineries in Texas Hill Country, from Woodinville, WA to Temecula, CA we are hearing that traffic is down. We can also back up the data with Community Benchmark. Traffic is down EVERYWHERE. And it is no wonder. Looking at Facebook feeds and Instagram stories, friends and family are traveling out of the country. With the dollar now on par with the Euro, continental travel is finally a decent price, if not an outright bargain. Couple that with pent up demand, airlines cancelling domestic flights, and high gas prices, it is no wonder domestic guest counts are down coast to coast. These issues are all mostly macro issues and beyond our control. While we can’t help inflation and the associated costs, we should be thinking about what we can control.
First, concentrate on our own four walls:
Before we worry about traffic, let’s consider what we can control and how well we do it. After all, the last thing we want is to have more people catching us doing things badly. If we’re seeing fewer guests, the chances of success are even lower, which makes the Triple Score (selling wine, presenting wine club and collecting contact data) even more critical! We should test our different programs to see if we can make improvements (and move the needle faster). Let’s monitor and ensure our team keeps performing at or above the baseline.
- Increase Conversion to Purchase metrics
- Increase Average Order Value of purchases
- Increase Conversion to Club
- Increase Conversion rates for mailing list joins
- Consider TR Team short term incentive to build confidence in data collect efforts, $0.50/name, points per sign up for wine/swag redemption.
- ANY time we give up margin (discounts for volume purchases, any comps/tasting fee waives), we should consider that an investment. Are we getting the contact info to keep that relationship going, or is it passive and we hope they come back?
What else we can control – ideas to consider:
- How inviting is it for guests to come to our winery? Is it easy for guests to choose our winery?
- Are the hours up to date on our website and other online listings?
- Do people know if reservations are necessary, and is it easy to do? Are we creating any extra barriers to having guests come?
- Are guest policies – like adults-only, well behaved four legged friends welcome with a leash, and picnic rules – clearly articulated in a way that is welcoming, but firm?
- Do our guests know what to expect once they arrive?
- Do they know how long to allow for the experience, and how much it costs?
- Are they encouraged to share flights, or is a set per person price the norm?
- Are there sales seeds to be planted like “Tasting Fees waived with (insert specific purchase here) and for Wine Club members”?
- How much are we investing in getting to know our guests?
- Do we know if they are celebrating anything special, making it easy to build rapport with a relevant, touching surprise and delight hospitality moment?
- Have we asked them what brought us in to the winery today (to see if they are celebrating anything or if it’s a special occasion)?
- Are we asking enough open-ended questions to really get to know our guests (beyond presentation mode – just delivering the information)?
- Is our game on point?
- Have we given our frontline teams a teeming treasure trove of stories and ways to surprise and delight every guest, tailored to the guests’ preferences?
- Are we crystal clear on expectations for the team with wine order conversion rates, average order values, wine club sign ups, and data collection goals?
- Have we provided our teams with the resources and training to help them not only provide a fantastic guest experience but also meet the business objectives of selling wine, presenting wine club and collecting contact data (WISE Triple Score)?
- How is our follow up?
- Did we thank them for coming and invite them back?
- Did we collect robust data on every guest in the group, or just the person making the reservation and perhaps emailing a receipt for a purchase?
- Is there a formal process to keep that new relationship going – a warm, welcoming email, a follow up phone call, a relevant special offer or welcome back invitation?
- Data from Commerce7 indicates the average number of interactions before a guest joins the club is 4.1 times. Does our team embody a transaction-based business, or do they have a relationship business mindset?
First let’s make any internal adjustments to finetune our guest experiences to ensure the more people we send to our winery, the more we’re delivering on a fantastic guest experience. Then we can focus on traffic.