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Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel that had died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May. This year, the Memorial Day falls on the 25th of May.
This long weekend has historically been celebrated by wineries and vineyards organizing discount sales and special offers for their visitors and customers. It's also the beginning of summer and as they call it, the 'tasting season'. This year however, things are looking a little damp for national celebrations for the Memorial Day. With the lockdown in place and the extensions being imposed, a lot of wineries and vineyards are fearing losing out on a golden opportunity to attract visitors for this special day.
However, most states have provisions for facilitating curb-side sales and home deliveries. You can check out on recent developments by the states in our blog on Alcohol to-go sales.
This year too, you can setup an outdoors open-air event to promote your winery, atleast in your immediate neighborhoods. Allow us to give you a few suggestions on how to go about setting it up so it everyone can enjoy the weekend to the fullest. But keep in mind, safety is of the top-most priority right now and you'll need to ensure that social distancing and hygiene norms are maintained.
The Sommeliers Choice Awards does not in any way encourage large gatherings or potential risk factors of spreading the disease. This blog is just about suggestions to businesses on how they can continue helping their local community in these tough times by continuing to do business. We would suggest you to look up your local laws and legislations before proceeding to organize such event.
With that said, here are a few tips on getting a successful Memorial Day weekend for your winery:
Doctors and medical professionals are most likely too busy to take a day off right now. However, if there are any medical personnel in your immediate vicinity, setup a free entry and free tasting for them to show appreciation for their efforts in helping fight the pandemic and keeping it at bay. After all, Memorial Day is about honoring our heroes. A good gesture goes a long way in helping to build your brand. And your local market is the one who will carry out your winery's message out to the world based on what they experience.
You can hire a local band or college kids to record some good tunes to keep your visitors in high spirits. Play the recording or even better, setup a projector and show them performing (live or recorded). This would be a good way to be a part of your local community. Rent some speakers with a good range and quality, it's an outdoor event after all. Marketing lessons teach us that audio and visual stimulii are a great way to increase brand recall value, so set up a stage and entertain your audience throughout the day. You can also arrange for the musical to play audience requests or something.
The COVID-19 pandemic is serious business, so you should take great care in ensuring the safety of your customers, as well as your staff and yourself. Implement a contactless transaction mechanism so payments can be managed while observing social distancing measures. You can do e-payments or only card/tap transactions. If the customer however needs to use cash, you can go for round off packages where a customer can pay in complete bills and hence transaction of change is avoided. The bills can be sanitized later on.
This year, instead of the traditional food trucks, do an open food counter instead. You could hire a server instead of a buffett to avoid a lot of people touching the same utensils. A long counter, or maybe 3-4 counters with diffferent varieties of food that go well along with your wines.
Ask your customers to visitors to GYOG so everyone can take care of their sanitization and nobody has to worry about sanitizing the glasses again and again.
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Keep packages ready for round figures and for bulk buying. Like $100 for say, 5 cases. $200, $300, and so on. This way you can avoid a lot of exchange of cash if your customer decides to pay by cash. You can setup a free package with promotional material to give away to visitors. Items can include winery maps, miniature bottles, magnets and such memorabilia.
It's your neighborhood after all, you can make them into repeat visitors. Encourage bulk buying and offer discount coupons on a purchase of $x. Or a free tasting when things get back to normal. Point is, Give them a reason to spend more now, in order to benefit more later.
Come up with a social responsibility campaign where you might decide to contribute a percentage of your sales towards the well being or development of your local community. Or considering the crisis right now, towards health equipment or sanitary products.
Attach soap and sanitizer dispensers along your parking lot walls every few feet. Keep an abundance of wet wipes and paper for visitors to use. After all, safety is of the utmost importance.
You don't want to flout the social distancing measures that are in place. Business is good, but you don't want to put your community at risk by getting over-crowded. The best way would be to draw those distance circles for visitors to queue in. You might also want to invest in a temperature gun to keep at the entrance. As they say, prevention is better than cure.