When it comes to courting wine trade and media, exotic getaways to visit client brands at the source have many advantages, not to mention the inspiration and education they impart to those who matter most to our clients. However, making these costly trips worthwhile for the booze brands that host them requires successfully navigating several minefields.

After recently laying out some pre-trip best practices, I’m back to discuss how to create a memorable experience for the amazing group you’ve curated. The best trip itineraries are always:

  • Integrated: Just as our industry continues to evolve, so should press trip styles. This is similar to the concept of the PESO model. Brands should use various channels to drive their key points home on a press trip and they shouldn’t all scream “messaging.” If your trip itinerary is one-note and packed with identical days brimming with back to back winery visits, you can bet some of your post-trip results will fall flat. A wine trip should revolve around meaningful experiences that bring a brand’s identity to life and provide cultural context. If there’s a UNESCO site nearby, visit it. If there is a famous street food vendor around, stop by for a snack. Think of the sentiment you want your guests to walk away with, and create an itinerary based on that. When the trip is over, they should be able to give anyone an authentic three-sentence definition on what your client is all about. If you don’t think they will be able to, your itinerary isn’t ready yet!
  • Balanced: My writer pals have shared horror stories about “death march” (they actually call it that!) style trips where itineraries were bursting at the seams with as many brand/winery visits as possible, punctuated by long and boring bus rides. Few people have the palate or stamina to benefit from tasting 50 wines in one day, so there isn’t much benefit to this type of schedule except that more stakeholders will feel included on the upfront. Be warned that you won’t see as many meaty outcomes as a result of this style of trip – because your guests won’t remember half of what they did! So be sure to include lots of downtime during good U.S. business hours (if there is a time difference) and plenty of opportunities for dialogue and activities besides tasting wine.
  • Distinctive: Avoid itineraries with components that are not specific to the place you are visiting. Almost all fermentation tanks are indistinguishable from one another and a barrel room looks the same in Taiwan as it does in Mendoza and Napa. So instead of taking the same tour of every single winery, spend some more time in the vineyard or talking to the winemaker. Don’t forget that every single second of every day does not need to be accounted for. Allow enough time in between stops and visits for smelling the roses, checking out old architecture and general meandering. This allows press trip guests to process what they’ve just seen and done. If you are busy hustling your group off to the next stop, you won’t give them time to absorb anything.

By holding your press trip itineraries to these criteria, not only will you have a greater shot at exceeding the results you’ve promised to deliver, your media guests will love you for making the most of their time.

Have any memorable and/or horror stories on past trips? Let’s discuss via [email protected]

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