Tasting Room traffic… we all want it, but do bigger crowds equal more sales and club sign ups?  How do you manage traffic and coach your team members to build relationships on the busiest days in the tasting room?

We all want guests…without them we couldn’t exist! We hear from our clients who are often struggling to hit that magic number of tasters. They’re facing situations where they’re not meeting sales and club goals because they’re either not seeing enough tasters, or they’re seeing so many tasters that the guest experience suffers, resulting in lower conversion rates. It’s feast or famine out there!

Those wineries facing famine might be saying “Wow! Too much traffic seems like a good problem to have!” But what are the disadvantages to having too much traffic? First, let’s define too much traffic. Anytime guests are 2-3 deep at the bar or if there are long wait lines you’re facing a situation where your team members are not able to establish a strong connection with a guest. We all know that when you develop a relationship with a guest, you’re going to increase club conversion and sales per taster. In crowded situations, guests report feeling rushed or unimportant, which results in a poor guest experience.

We believe the future of the wine industry is going to be segmentation. Whether with tasting room experiences or email marketing campaigns, targeting is going to be the future of direct to consumer in the wine industry. Not every guest wants the same experience! Our guests need to be acknowledged for the type of experience they want to have. The sooner you can begin offering tailored guest experiences, the more your winery will stand out among the competition.

Whether you’re seeing 1,000 tasters or 100,000 tasters per year, here are some tips for providing customized guest experiences on the busiest days:

  • Segment guest experiences before you’re facing a problem! It’s much more difficult when your numbers are already a problem and you’re scrambling to control traffic.
  • Staff, staff, staff! Staffing always delivers a return on the investment!
  • Consider a greeter, or concierge to familiarize guests with your set-up and experiences. Think about this from the guest’s experience. Would your tasting room be confusing on a busy weekend?
  • Provide guests a name tag. Consider color coding name tags by club members, non-club members, first time visitors, friends of wine club members, etc. We humans love hearing our name… so capturing and using that information is the best way to create a relationship.
  • Require reservations for large groups. The definition of “large” will differentiate winery to winery, depending on your size.
  • Do not discount tasting fees for large groups.
  • Be creative with your space. Adding more bars (even makeshift) will allow guests to spread out. Your space can be fluid, you may have to create new spaces every weekend to accommodate large crowds. Utilize every space possible!
  • Create an exclusive space for wine club members.
  • Get more iPads or point of sale systems so that the host can close a transaction. We realize that no two wineries are the same and that there is no “one size fits all” solution for traffic control, so get creative and ask your team for ideas. Our final suggestions:
    • be flexible
    •  tweak things that don’t work
    •  try something new
    •  measure what works
    •  involve your team in these decisions!

To watch a recorded webinar about Guest Experience When the Bar is Full, click here!