Most marketing, sales, and hospitality employees are looking forward to next year and are being asked to plan programs, staffing and sales. This means going through your list and checking it twice to see what worked and what didn’t in 2016. Here are some things review when planning for next season.
Metrics! If you are a VingDirect member, you are ahead of the game when tasting room results are reviewed, because you already have monthly results and annual trending right at your fingertips on your Performance Tracker. If you’re not a VingDirect member, knowing your taster counts, club conversion rates and sales patterns will be crucial for establishing sales goals and projecting staffing needs in 2017. If your numbers are buried in reports, take some time to consolidate them for an annual view. Your annual view should review taster count and sales patterns, but also try to overlay any marketing activities (such as emails and events), maintenance or construction, partnerships or special events which may have affected results.
Now Forget the Metrics! This may seem strange coming from us since metrics are part of our DNA, but numbers aren’t everything. You may have a wonderful partner that drives a large number of qualified customers to your tasting room, but they are rude to your staff and everyone dreads working with them. These things matter. So, gather the team together and ask for their input. What programs did they like working on? What events, partners or activities had unquantifiable “good mojo” associated with them and made your employees and customers happy? Is there anything new someone has been dying to try? Anecdotal stories have validity too, as does employee tenure. Factor these things into your plans as well. Finally, as with all decisions, brand is most important. When thinking about 2017 plans, start with your unique brand message!
Plan for Similarities! There are some things that are consistent year over year so use those to your benefit! For example, tourist season and high traffic beginning with the summer months into the fall is a given. And you can pretty much count on similar response rates to emails, events or programs unless you’re changing the messaging or targeted list drastically. While things won’t always be the same and fluctuations will occur, base 2017 projections on 2016 actual results.
Plan for Differences! Establish your baseline and then look at what will change. Will a key holiday fall on a weekend vs. a weekday? Is there something happening in your region or with a neighbor that will impact you? What key staff members are crucial, and what needs to be put into place to keep them? If every year were the same, this wouldn’t be much of an exercise. So, the differences are where you can get creative. If you want 10% growth next year, you can approach the strategy a few different ways. For example, you can plan to do 10% more programs, reduce costs by 10%, increase your customer list by 10% or entice your customers to buy 10% more.
Give Yourself a Present! Planning may seem like a pain and it often takes back seat to putting out daily fires. BUT the better the plan, the happier you’ll be come mid-2017. Set goals that are a stretch vs. this year but achievable to keep the team motivated. (And take an hour each month in 2017 to track your progress.) Creating a strong plan for 2017 based on 2016 performance will pave the way for a smooth ride in 2017!
Need Help Planning? Contact us here to talk about planning for 2017!