A step towards research, innovation and technology in the South African wine tourism industry has taken a new turn with Vinpro’s pilot programme aimed at generating tourism intelligence. It will also assist wineries to use the project to grow their direct-to-consumer business.
A collaboration between Vinpro and Cape Winelands District Municipality would see 43 wineries partaking in the research for the pilot programme.
Wine tourism manager at Vinpro Marisah Nieuwoudt said the project that launched in March with 16 wineries, was one of the strategic objectives between them and the South African Wine Forum (SAWRF) in conducting research focused on industry needs and knowledge gaps.
“We are extremely excited to have kicked off this amazing pilot programme and we want cellars to get involved now.
“The new pilot programme was launched together with Flow Networks, specialists in location analytics, proximity marketing and guest Wi-Fi. This year we want to use the technology to our advantage to count our visitors and note where they come from, to understand the size and make-up of the total market,” she said.
Growing the wine space
Nieuwoudt added that they want to help wineries to stay connected to wine tourists between visits and make consumer engagement in the direct-to-consumer wine space possible.
According to Nieuwoudt, the more data they can collect and record about customers, the better one can tailor offers and personalise communication.
“Flow Networks will work with the cellars involved on their marketing strategy to assist with cross-channel sales, manage their online reputation, build a loyalty and rewards programme, or send offers via e-mail.
“An online dashboard will display the visitor data collected. Selected, aggregated information such as visitor numbers, country of origin, dwell time, gender, and age will be shared with the respective wine route,” she said.
Melody Botha, CEO of Breedekloof Wine Valley, said they were excited and proud to participate in the research pilot programme.
“As a region, we believe that wine tourism is not only about enjoying exquisite wines and breath-taking landscapes but also about harnessing the power of data and intelligence to support the growth of wineries and enhance our visitors’ experiences.
“By participating in this programme, we aim to unlock valuable insights that can inform strategic decision-making for our wineries, enabling them to optimise their direct-to-consumer business operations.
“Improve customer engagement and create memorable experiences for visitors. We recognise the potential of data-driven approaches to drive innovation and foster sustainable growth in the wine tourism industry,” Botha said.
According to Botha, the pilot programme is an opportunity to bring all stakeholders’ collective knowledge and expertise together so that they can elevate their wine tourism offerings and position their region as a premier wine destination.
“We envision a future where wineries in our region can thrive in the direct tourism consumer market, and where visitors can have truly exceptional wine tourism experiences,” Botha said.
Attracting more visitors
The project is open to all wineries beyond the Cape Winelands as well, which also qualify for a discounted rate.
The executive mayor of Cape Winelands District Municipality Elna Von Schlicht, said as a local government, they are open to working and creating a conducive environment for the growth of the wine industry.
“The tourism sector is one of the most significant economic contributors in the Cape Winelands District.
“Between our mandated function of generating opportunities through local economic development and our role as a regional tourism office, this exciting and technologically advanced project ticks all the boxes for the Cape Winelands District Municipality.
“We are honoured to be collaborating with this vibrant company. We are very eager to learn more about the visitors to our district. The information gathered will help us apply our resources to effective campaigns that expand our global market, and attract visitors to our beautiful district,” she said.
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