As your customers seek out their different beverage options, giving tours is a way of letting them get to know you and your product. The goal is to develop a connection. The way in which customers experience a distillery, cidery, winery or brewery can make all the difference in making yours a regular stop! Check out our Q & A below for some tips and tricks to maximize the customer experience.
Q. Self-guided or Guided?
A. Guided tours are the way to go. If most of your sales are out of your tasting room, this is a no-brainer. You need to tell your story and engage your visitors to make them customers.
Q. Free or charge?
A. Offering different tour options will meet the different needs of your visitors. Not all visitors want tastings and not all want a commemorative souvenir. Some visitors may appreciate access to the evening’s entertainment, a VIP tour of special portions of the facility or tastings of limited release products. The best strategy is to offer 3 tour options: free, an option with tastings and/or a commemorative item and a full emersion experience with entertainment, a meal or facetime with the brewer.
Q. Tour Guides
A. Be sure your tour guides are educated in your process and product. Visitors will vary in their expertise and questions about your facility and products. Be sure your guides can respond to questions from a wide spectrum of visitors. Training should include other products in the same category so comparable recommendations can be made.
Q. Show Off Your Unique Aspects
A. Point out what sets your company apart from the other local establishments. There is something about you, your story, that needs to be shared to connect with your visitors. Again, you are looking to connect and engage to develop loyal customers.
Q. Time Management- How long?
A. Find that “sweet spot”. Too short and there is no value to your visitor and he or she will feel cheated. Too long and you lose your visitor and he or she is antsy-pantsy and tired.
Q. Catering to Millennials
A. Extended hours, internet information on what to expect and providing a kid-family (aka family friendly) place to visit will go a long way to brining Millennials to visit your establishment. Another tactic is to host events geared to certain interests (For example: train clubs, vegans, and young professionals). Delivery is another feature that will attract busy Millennials to become loyal customers.
Summing it all up will directly affect your bottom line. Repeat business and loyal customer base cannot be underestimated. Your front line team should be able to recommend products that meet customer tastes, suggest recipes and food pairings, and be able to convey your “story” for the business and product. Upselling is an important skill to teach as well. The old adage holds true: failing to plan is planning to fail.
Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years, representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.
Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.
Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.
She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.
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Tracy Jong Law Firm