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Newsletter January 2014

Choreographing the Guest Journey


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  January 3, 2014
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WISE Bites   Tasting Rooms in the Flesh
Choreographing the Guest Journey   A WISPA in Your Ear
Some say the quality and impact of the experiences you offer 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.   Thousands of winery direct-sales professionals open and read this eNewsletter. Could it be time for a North American professional association (how about WISPA: Wine Industry Sales Professionals Association)? Please send suggestions to
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"WISE Bites" continued   "Tasting Rooms in the Flesh" continued

For a memorable guest experience and a positive reflection of your brand, you have to step back and 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 is called a Customer Journey Map, and choreographing it to match your goals requires reassessing the way your business is structured, functions and builds relationships with your customers.

Documenting (or mapping) the guest experience from your customer’s point of view helps to understand not only how customers interact with your brand today, it also identifies improvement opportunities. The documentation provides a visual representation of how your guests experience your brand and wine as well as how potential customers go through the shopping process. Customer journey mapping acts like a mirror and enables you to question why you do the things you do. It makes things visible that might have been right in front of you but were so familiar you did not notice or question them.

To begin documenting the journey, take a close look at your guest’s functional and emotional needs across all aspects of the wine experience, from becoming aware of your brand, making an appointment, arriving, taking a tour, tasting the wine, checking out and returning. This helps get a deeper insight into your customer needs, perception, experience and motivation. Consider your goals for your guests – whether you want to encourage sales, represent your brand, tell a memorable story, etc. – and then ensure each touch point meets your goals.

Because the purpose of the map is to come up with ideas and possible changes, don’t wait until the end of the exercise to collect ideas. Write down all ideas and insights as you map out your guest journey. Give a clear indication where action is required and drive your guests’ eyes and mind to the key touch points. The visual representation of this is crucial – these insights will be a rich source for improvements and innovative ideas. There is no ‘right’ way to document this, and there are plenty of examples and templates offered online. Find one that works best for you and your company.

Once you’ve walked the pathway of your guests, brainstorm ideas for improvement and developing new experiences that are both outstanding and in sync with your guests’ needs. Ensure your ideas as well as the current status is in line with what your brand stands for and what your goals are for each touch point.

Lastly, put your ideas into action. You may want to pare down your list to the top three or five ideas that not only have the power to create a “wow” guest experience but are also easy or less costly to implement. Remember, this is not static – it’s a loop where you will have to wash, rinse and repeat to constantly keep improving your customers’ experience with your brand.

What do you need to do to choreograph a touch of WOW into your guest journey and experience with your brand?

Source: WISE Academy,


December was not a good month to visit wineries due to the amount of office work, but I will resume in January!

Wine in a barrel for sale at the winery: Peterson Winery in Sonoma County going beyond the refillable gallon jug. Their Barrel Tap program provides the barrel and 3 liters of wine (equivalent to 4 bottles). It’s a great conversation piece for parties and is refillable.

Find more details here

The need for more personalized communications with your club members: Wines & Vines senior correspondent Paul Franson recently reported on a conference by the Seminar Group, during which Tammy Boatright, president of VingDirect, spoke about small wineries’ need to focus on tasting room and wine club sales. Read the entire article here

Wine On Tap: Bars and major restaurant chains alike are going to the wine on tap program like never before. Another article by Paul Franson describes in detail the wine keg movement and the many benefits for wineries, retailers and consumers alike. Read the story here

Beer & Wine Thinking Outdated? North Bay Business Journal reporter Jeff Quackenbush reports that consumers in the millennial generation appreciate quality in wine and beer. We have known for a long time that beer aficionados are often wine aficionados also. They like the better things in life and love the excitement of taste experiences. Read more about marketing fine wines to craft beer consumers here

Domestic Wines Win in U.S. Restaurants: Wineries may want to pay attention to nearby bars and restaurants. According to Technomic's 2013 BarTAB Report, domestic table wines are real winners in U.S. restaurants, bars and other on-premise locations, with 69.4% of total on-premise wine served/sold in 2012. Read more here.

November 2013 Wine Industry Metrics: Consistent growth was the take-away message for the wine industry in November, but the big news is the 52% growth in winery hiring metrics. See all the numbers here.


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Jacques Brix is vice president and director of sales, West Coast, for Wines & Vines. This column is based on his personal experiences at winery tasting rooms and events.

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December 2013 November 2013   October 2013 September 2013
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