Borrowing a Technique from Real Estate To Increase Winery Traffic

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By Liza B. Zimmerman

The bulk of winery visits are unplanned, according to data from the San Francisco Bay Area-based Angelsmith, a marketing agency. Many tourists will visit several wineries in a day, but may plan an entire visit around one of them. That is why catching their attention when they are in area can produce lucrative results for wineries.

According to Angelsmith, 44.79 percent of their survey respondents reported visiting a winery between two to six times per year. The next largest group (30.59 percent) reported visiting once per year. Overall, 9.28 percent reported visiting monthly, while 13.51 percent visited every two to five years.

More than six out of ten (or 61.86 percent) wine consumers visit between two to four wineries on each trip. Still a significant number, 19.48 percent, report visiting only one winery per trip, and 16.32 percent visit more than five on each trip. Those who report two to five annual winery visits are also slightly more likely to visit more wineries on each visit.

Angelsmith’s data on tasting rooms visits.

The data was based on feedback collected last fall from 1,200 “food and wine aficionados,” who earn more than $75,000 annually that had visited a winery in the past year. The numbers also intimated that consumers overwhelmingly want to visit winery locations that are open to the public where they can taste privately at their own pace. Price is often not a significant factor, while geography usually is for many tourists.

Testing the Data

Given how challenging it is to attract customers a recent experiment–in which ads offering a free cheese plate with a wine tasting were dropped onto the Smart phones of tourists in the vicinity of a well-known winery in Napa–resulted in some impressive numbers.

Alf Nucifora, the chairman and founder of the Sausalito-based Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco, conducted the first trial in February. He would not share the name of the winery, but says that its executives were aware of the testing he was doing.

He estimates that more than 25,000 impressions were dropped onto various applications on consumers’ Smart phones in the ten-day period at the cost of slightly more than $200. This investment generated—between wine club tasting fees and purchases—approximately $800 in winery earnings. “The ROI might be five to ten to one eventually,” he adds, if wineries invested longer-term in a Geo Fencing program.

The science of geo fencing is based on mapping out a geographic area around a select set of wineries where potential guests can be contacted by advertisements dropped onto their smart phones.

Photo by Lisa Wiltse/Corbis via Getty Images

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