Published 28 December 2011
In January, I’ll be presenting at the annual International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop. This is the fourth year the conference has been running, but it will be my first. As if this isn’t exciting enough, it will see me revisiting the Italian region of Umbria; a region very close to my heart as I got married there in 2006.
I will be presenting twice at the conference: a paper entitled “How new technologies will change the future of wine tourism” (looking at how Augmented Reality and other technologies could be used in wine tourism), as well as running a workshop to build a new series of wine and food tours (on behalf of one of the tour brands I work for).
Obviously these alone justify the 3-day ticket price of €250, but the programme is littered with excellent sessions that make you wish you could be in two or more places at once. Here are ten that I’m particularly excited about:
- “Wine tourism does not exist. There is only tourism” – Michael Wangbickler proposes that many wineries and wine regions make the mistake of thinking that visitors are only interested in wine; he proposes that they need to be looking at a much bigger picture.
- “The Accidental Wine Tourist” – Bill Eyer tells us the motivations of today’s wine tourists and the challenges, trends and benefits of wine tourism.
- “Italian Wineries Speak and a New Tourism Strategy is Born” – Chiara Lungarotti unveils the findings from a huge research study on consumers visiting wineries.
- “Surfer to Sipper: Website Characteristics That Inspire Real-Life Winery Visits” – Donna Sears reveals her research into winery websites, including her proposal of a code of best practice for design, implementation and promotion.
- “The Innocents Abroad” – Diane Letulle looks at what happens when Americans (who are used to glitzy experiences in their home country) visit European wineries.
- “Winning the American wine tourist dollar” – Stephen F. Fallows discloses the needs and expectations of one of the fastest growing segments of the European wine tourism industry.
- “New opportunities & challenges of wine tourism in France. A special focus on Burgundy” – Laurence Cogan from the Dijon Business School, France, looks at a variety of issues that caused a recent study to conclude that wine tourism in France is still relatively underdeveloped, then reveals the best practices being used in Burgundy that could help change this.
- “Shut up! Let your wine tourist do the talking! Discourse analysis in the tasting room” – Anthony Swift takes a practical workshop to demonstrate how wineries should get their customers talking (rather than the winery guide).
- “Is formal wine education important for tasting room tour guide staff?” – Robbin Gheesling considers what qualities winery guides should have.
- “Getting the word out – Marketing to the Millennials” – Michael Wangbickler reveals the secrets of marketing to 21-34 year olds (the fastest growing segment in the wine business).
But, that really is just a few highlights and I’d love to have told you about… the official launch of mobile application “Sicily Wine Tour”… Melba Allen’s “Who are the modern day wine tourists?”… Mary Cressler’s “A sense of place: How to leverage your region & place to enhance the customer experience”… Jane Hunt’s personal view on the successes and pitfalls on winery visits… Tom Plant’s “Adding the human touch”… Zev Robinson’s premier showing of “Life on the Douro”… Thomas Schilde’s “Wine Tourism in Germany – Chance for Income!”… and many many more. For more information, see the conference programme.
So, if you haven’t got anything planned for late Jan/early Feb 2012, I’d encourage you to take a look at the conference website (see www.iwinetc.com), then book yourself a flight.
Look forward to seeing you there.