Mastering D to C: What all wineries can all learn from the 2012 Napa Valley Visitor Study

Sugarfly Marketing Napa Valley Winery MarketingEven if you’re not a winery located in the Napa Valley, it’s worth taking a look at the latest visitor report conducted by Destination Analysts on behalf of Visit Napa Valley.  In 2012 the tourist board commissioned a year-long study to learn more about who is coming to Napa and share important learnings with the tourism industry.

Wineries, in particular, should be interested in this data.  If you are looking to grow your wine club and direct to consumer sales, the report provides clues you can use to shape your marketing plan and be more successful.

By marketing to travelers (local and further afield) wineries can get their share of these visitors, and more effectively grow wine clubs.  Many wineries are still using the wait and see approach or simply relying on free guides to get visitors while they are in the region.  As you can see here this stresses the importance of reaching visitors BEFORE they reach the destination, and the importance of MOBILE.

If you would like a copy of the report please contact me directly mindy @ sugarflymarketing.com.

Keep in mind, all wine regions can take into consideration what Napa has learned here.   Not only are the travelers that visit Napa also potential candidates for visitors to your own region, you can garner valuable learnings to steer your strategy into the future.

Major takeaways:

1. 67% of all visitors to the Napa Valley are day-trippers

  • Reaching daytrippers, locals living within driving distance from the closest major metro, should be your major marketing focus.
  • The Napa Valley report goes on to say that almost 38 percent come from the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area. This means focusing in on the Bay Area and targeting locals to come to your winery.
  • Creating a reason for them to make appointments and marketing to them BEFORE they arrive in the region would be the keys here. Working with sites that enable you to target high quality consumers at a local level is important here.
  • Daytrippers are spontaneous and 24 percent use mobile devices for information while in the region.  Is your site mobile friendly?  I’ve found so many wineries’ sites are not.  Make sure your address (for GPS) is front and center.
  • Daytrippers will use popular resources like free winery maps or guides (27 percent) to make decisions on where to go.  Make sure you are featured.

2. The average Napa Valley visitor goes to an average of FOUR tasting rooms during his or her visit

  • Four tasting rooms, out of Napa’s 400+ wineries is not many.  What everyone should be thinking about is how to reach  these potential customers before they come to your region to ensure you are one of the wineries they visit.
  • Getting a commitment beforehand will mean 1. creating a unique experience, something that is going to be different from every other winery they visit, and 2. marketing your winery experience through the right channels.

3. Reaching travelers in states you ship to

  • Of the 33 percent that are visiting from out of town, 4.2 percent stay with friends and family, and 29 percent stay at Napa accommodations.  Instead of trying to reach travelers in all states, are there ways you can attract those that are from the states YOU ship to?

4. Importance of local restaurants

  • Along with 82 percent of Napa visitors visiting tasting rooms, 77 percent dine in restaurants.  This is yet another opportunity beyond your tasting room to have people try your wines.   Can you create pairing experiences with local restaurants?  This too could be promoted at a local level to ensure new customers are trying your wines.  A complimentary winery tasting voucher could also be available for guests after the dining experience.

5. Using the locals in the community

  • Nearly one out of three visitors made advance appointments to visit wineries.  They tend to be those either visiting friends or staying at hotels.  How can you work with local in the community to encourage their friends to visit your winery?  Could you encourage not only concierges but locals themselves to be your advocates?

6. Are you promoting your wine club?  Really?  

  • Don’t miss out on this opportunity to close the sale when people are tasting your wines.  More than one in four day-trip and visiting friends/relatives visitors said they were either likely or very likely to join a wine club.  Unfortunately, I have been to too many tasting rooms with staff who never mention the wine club opportunity.

7. Assume everyone that walks in your tasting room is a buyer

  • A staggering 70 percent of day-trip and visiting friends/relatives are likely or very likely to purchase wine to drink when they get home while in Napa.  Only 11.7 percent were “unlikely”.  This means most people walking through the door are potential customers.

8. The importance of TripAdvisor & Yelp

  • Almost one third of visitors use sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp (and other user generated sites) BEFORE coming to Napa.   Also popular are online travel agencies (19.9 percent), travel information sites (19 percent) and information from mobile devices (18.8 percent).  How are you engaging in these sites?  I see very few wineries taking a proactive approach in TripAdvisor.  All travel sites are potential referrers of tasting room visitors.

9. Extremely high rate of return

  • Almost 93 percent said they are likely or very likely to return to the Napa Valley.  Why not incentivize them to come back to your winery and bring friends?  Have a voucher for their next tasting to hand out to them or give them a list of experiences they can try with friends.  If they’re not ready to sign up for the wine club, maybe they will still sign up for an email about future tasting events.

10.  Focus on California

  • 60 percent of visitors to the Napa Valley live in California, 3.7 percent live in Texas, 2.9 percent are from Florida, and 2.5 percent are from New York.  For wineries that are looking for a greater volume of visitors, it would make sense to center your marketing efforts primarily in California.  Those premium wineries that have specific followings already in states like Texas and New York should still focus on these where it makes sense, but your best bet is still keeping a marketing focus in the golden state.

There is no better way to shape your marketing strategy than by using quality data based on fact.  Think about what data you already know about your existing customers and how they found you initially.   Are there places you are missing out on tapping new winery visitors?

Are there any successful strategies or learnings you can share with other wineries?

I look forward to your comments below.

Mindy

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