Photo Credit: Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
Professors at Okanagan College have conducted extensive research to find out what motivates wine visitors to come to the valley, and what is needed to ensure they return.
Along with the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and the British Columbia Wine Institute the team discovered the “greatest influence on visitor motivation.”
“Using interviews with 900 visitors to the Winter, Spring and Fall Okanagan Wine Festivals in 2012 and early 2013, we looked specifically at what impact wine-related events and festivals had on their desire to come to the region,” says leader of the research project Dr. Blair Baldwin, Okanagan College School of Business Professor and Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager.
The execution of the festivals, not just the presence of the events, but the experiences guests had while there was the greatest influence.
Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com
“You may sell out your event or win an award for your wine but if you haven’t devoted enough resources to ensuring a seamless experience, such as having prominent directional signage, good traffic flow to your wine shop, enough tasting room servers, and ample parking, visitors won’t return. And they won’t recommend it to their friends either,” says Baldwin.
Recently the Okanagan was named the number two wine destination in the world, behind Alentejo, Portugal but the U.S’s largest circulating newspaper, USA Today.
The research project was part of a larger body of research originally conducted by the same group in the fall of 2013 that looked at the economic impact of wine tourism to the Okanagan. See www.thewinefestivals.com/blog for more details.