Last week, Tourism Kelowna hosted its fall Wine Trails Partner meeting, virtually. These bi-annual meetings, typically held in the spring and in the fall, bring together marketing representatives, general managers, and proprietors of the wineries that participate in the Wine Trails Program.
After what has been a difficult and uncertain year, it was crucial for us to be able to connect with our partners to understand and hear how they have adapted to the new landscape we are all currently under. During the meeting, our Director of Marketing & Communications, Chris Shauf, presented the results of the 2020 marketing campaign, which included Tourism Kelowna's The Way Forward: COVID-19 Response Plan, as well as year-to-date industry indicators. Following his presentation, the 2020 Wine Trails Program was reviewed and the 2021 Wine Trails Program proposal was presented. Upon reflecting on the needs of our partners, stakeholders, and visitors, the 2021 Wine Trails Program has been adapted and presents some new and exciting changes.
Each participating winery also had the opportunity to update the group on how operations have been impacted due to COVID-19. They shared learnings and questions with their counterparts, took the opportunity to announce new experiences or events, and expressed how Tourism Kelowna can continue to support them as we enter the fall/winter season. Some of the key findings included:
- Many of the wineries that introduced tastings by-appointment-only as part of their COVID-19 measures will be keeping the system moving forward, as the results and experience were positive for staff and visitors.
- Investing in the visitor experience yielded higher results with wineries seeing less traffic but larger purchases per guest and stronger relationships created, and increases in wine club memberships.
- Many of the wineries will remain open over the winter months.
These partner meetings are a great source of information and play a pivotal role in helping us understand the trends and needs of the industry. They allow us to make strategic decisions and provide great value for all those that are involved.