Top Lessons from Trade Shows & Conferences

WISE attends a lot of trade shows and conferences. Not only is it a way for us to connect with WISE wineries, it offers us a chance to hear trends and themes across multiple regions. This gives us a 30,000 foot view of the wine industry in the US. Here are a few of our top take aways from this year’s events.

1. Demographics are shifting, so let’s have a plan for each segment. Boomers (born 1946-1964) are not completely written off yet, they have a long off ramp. How can we keep them engaged as they progress into the next phase? Retirement, health changes, and lifestyle changes are impacting behaviors, such as purchasing and even consumption patterns, but they are still big spenders. Can we offer customized clubs based on their changing needs? Don’t forget about Gen X (born 1965-1980). They may be new empty nesters, and finally they can spend time doing what they want to do – let it be at your winery! Millennials (born 1981-1996), as a plethora of research shows, do spend on things that matter to them like fine wine, craft beer, and rare spirits. At 72 million people, they are the largest population in the US, and spend the most per day of any generation; 78% prefer to spend on experiences. Finally, the Gen Z (born 1997 – 2012) is just starting to join us in the tasting room, and they have the gift of the hustle. They are freelancers, employed, and also leverage the gig economy. They are very values driven, and spend with like-minded companies, with their impact on the environment being of top concern. This all begs the question, how can we pivot our brand messaging to engage all types of visitors?
2. Tasting Room Traffic is changing, for a variety of reasons. Last year, Europe was just opening to travelers, and this summer, China and Japan are finally accepting tourists. Pent up international travel, a looming recession, and more choices (more wine growing regions to visit, more tasting rooms opening up in each region) have all intersected in this sustained perfect storm. It is vital to optimize each guest coming in and think long term. How do we grow a prospect into a long term fan of the brand? Are the incentives we offer staff aligned with our mission of doing more with fewer guests? Are we using KPI’s to “Keep People Informed, Keep People Interested, and Keep People Inspired”?
3. Finally, we saw some conflicting benchmarking. It is important to look for actionable insights in the data being reported, even though it may vary from source to source. Collection methods (self-reported data by the winery or anonymous benchmarking by a third party), analysis methodology, and date range can all yield different results. But we did see many instances where the data was returned to the industry in an actionable way. It is up to all of us to search out the areas of opportunity, and go beyond “nice to know”. At WISE, we are fond of saying “We can’t manage what we don’t measure”, so whether you belong to a benchmarking subscription service, or you self-reported to a survey, take the time to look for the action items. And if you need a hand distilling it all down, give us a call, we would love to help your business thrive in the last half of the year!