‘Wine tourism’ is no longer a glib phrase for travel agents. These days it is a vital tool for wineries to connect with their consumers, personalise their brands and build databases for future communication. As travel becomes more specialist, and consumers more sophisticated in their tastes, visiting wineries is now a mainstream activity.
And to help wineries, large or small, to make the most of that opportunity Winerist – the global ‘tripadvisor’ with its own online magazine, for over 100,000 wine and food-loving consumers – has this week launched WineristGO!, a simple-to-use online bookings platform that links visitors directly with individual wineries.
A year in development with data architects, this revolutionary system offers an answer to the headache of running a Visitor Centre. Accessing the winery calendar, It makes bookings online or over the telephone, takes immediate payment for the winery to protect against ‘no shows’ (30% of visitors do not turn up unless they have paid in advance), and captures valuable visitor data for future sales.
‘It’s a great solution for many wineries, bringing their visitor offering into the 21st century’, explains Winerist founder & CEO Diana Isac. ‘Not everyone has the time or resources to operate this efficiently, nor digitally – which is what visitors themselves are looking for, as our research shows. This is a real game changer in the way wineries approach the business of vineyard visits.’
WineristGO! is easy to install, with no membership fees – merely a 3% levy on booking fees, taken at source. Plans for the future include linking the system to relevant Tourist Boards, and TripAdvisor itself. It is what wine-loving consumers want, and what will increase winery revenue from tours, tastings and sales at the cellar door.
According to the Winerist annual survey, conducted with 520 wineries world-wide, over 40% say they have less than 500 visitors a year – while some larger producers claim 20,000. Obviously, there is a huge opportunity for expansion here. In the UK alone last year, Winerist say they have seen visitor requests for English winery visits tripled, and predict it will double again by the end of 2020.
And almost 90% of all wine tourists like to buy direct from the winery. ‘People buy stories along with the wines, and if they like you, they buy from you’, explains Winerist founder Diana Isac.
Considerable investment is being made in state-of-the art visitor reception facilities, but when it comes to attracting them via technology and online bookings, wineries are not so advanced. According to the survey, only 17% use online marketing tools, and over 60% do not even have a bookings calendar.
Astonishingly, 1 in 5 wineries surveyed are ’agnostic to social media’ – as opposed to 35% of potential customers who use social media to research travel and wine. It is an anomaly that needs to be addressed if wine tourism is to be harnessed successfully.
For a full presentation on WineristGO!, visit go.winerist.com where you will also find application details.