The one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is no longer. Want to watch your booking calendar fill up? Then it's time to step out of your marketing box to help generate more interest and excitement in your business. After all, your customers are a mixed bag—locals and travelers, men and women, groups and solo wine aficionados—so you need to start developing pitches and offerings just as diverse.
But don't worry. Stepping out of the box isn't as hard as it seems. Here are five lucrative marketing tips to get you on your way to selling more winery tours.
1. Invite guests to your site for non-tour activities.
Just like it's easier to sell umbrellas when it's raining, you can boost interest in tours by getting prospective customers to visit your site first. But how do you that? By hosting exclusive wine tasting events, wine appreciation nights, or other events. The idea is to introduce them to the winery and get them comfortable with your business. This way they're more likely to inquire further about tour packages and other services you offer.
Another idea: Promote these special events to guests who have already booked one or more tours with you as a "guest appreciation night," offering a discount on a future winery tour for themselves—or a friend—just for attending. Better yet, offer these type of special events as add-ons while booking a tour.
Make sure to collect all attendee information in a database so you can send out customized emails thanking the guest for attending and follow up with promotions, special offers, or invites to future events. Use an online booking software program that allows you to collect customer information quickly and sorts it into a database for easy access at any time.
2. Host a series of winery tours or themed events.
Keep your offerings fresh—keeping both seasonal visitors and past guests intrigued—by hosting a series of winery tours around specific themes throughout the year. For example, you could host a harvest-season tour during the fall when visitors are flocking to the area for leaf peeping tours. Another option is to host summer wine tasting events that include live music performances from local artists or a movie night on the grounds of the winery. The Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California, hosts a summer concert series in conjunction with its tours and gives guests the option to purchase a complete wine dinner package to enjoy a meal while listening to the music.
Or, you could host a grape stomp where visitors could visit the stomping ground and book a specialty tour. For example, Orfila Vineyards and Winery in Escondido, California, hosts an annual Grape Stomp during the late summer months that includes live music, a wine tasting, and catered food.
Whatever you do, keep it interesting, fun, and original.
3. Maintain a blog.
When customers aren't visiting your winery, make sure they stay engaged with your business by creating a blog. But it doesn't just help customers stay engaged; creating and sharing engaging content also helps you build credibility as a winemaker or tour operator in your industry. Small Business Trends points out that maintaining a blog is, “an opportunity for you to engage customers, as well as to demonstrate your vast knowledge of the industry."
Sure, you'll want to share information about your winery and what to expect on each tour, but mix it up with posts including an in-depth history of the winery and grounds, wine pairing tips, recipes, and other informational content. This will help to attract a casual website visitor—not just someone interested in booking a tour—and makes them a potential customer. Take a look at the wine-heavy recipes available on the blog by Adirondack Winery in Lake George, New York. The company shares a variety of gourmet recipes infused with wines they sell and have even included a "related products" feature at the bottom of each post so that the reader can purchase the wine in one click. You could do something similar by adding a button to book a tour or sell items individually after each post.
4. Create and distribute content.
In addition to blogging, consider the value of promoting informational products such as downloadable guides, maps of the winery, video clips, or mini booklets and guides that site visitors can view or download to learn more about the winery. Sharing free information can spark interest in your offerings without direct marketing. Visitors have the freedom to download content they might find useful—and may even share it with friends on their social networks.
Even something as simple as a PDF guide with high-quality pictures of the winery and a timeline telling your story can be valuable to a casual site visitor. Just make sure to include contact information and links to your site within the guide, booklet, or video clip description so that the reader or viewer can head back to your site to make a reservation or contact you with ease.
5. Promote group outings and corporate event packages.
Host events or experiences to accommodate for larger groups and corporate trips so that you can reach a wider market. If your winery is located within driving distance of a convention center or high-traffic business areas, you may be able to capture the market of corporate travelers looking for ways to entertain clients visiting the area or to treat employees to a mini-getaway.
Use an online booking software program like ZOZI Advance that allows you to set up tiered pricing and multiple pricing configurations for different groups, tours, and seasons. When you want to up-sell without pressure, consider including add-ons such as merchandise purchases or tour upgrades with each type of tour offering. A software program designed to accommodate add-ons will allow you to include various types of add-ons within a few clicks.
From offering specialty wine tours to sharing custom content about your winery, there are several ways to attract and engage customers to your winery each season. Use these five marketing strategies and ideas to promote your business and keep that calendar booked.