First-Time Versus Repeat Visitors: Different Types of Loyalty?

Apr 6, 2015 | IWINETC 2015 La Champagne, France, Wine Tourism Conference

Natalia Velikova, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Hospitality & Retail Management at Texas Tech University. Her topic is “First-Time Versus Repeat Visitors: Different Types of Loyalty.” 

What do the statistics show comparing the number of local repeat visitors with the non-local repeat visitors? 

“In our study, we compared first-time and repeat visitors in terms of their loyalty to the particular brand versus local wine as a whole product category. Statistical data analysis revealed that first-time visitors are more loyal to regional wines as a whole, whereas repeat visitors – while still supportive of local wines – become more selective in terms of their loyalty to one particular brand.”

Are people who order online considered repeat visitors?

“In the context of the particular study that will be presented at the conference, visitors to a local wine festival were surveyed. A question on the questionnaire asked if this was their first time to attend the festival. Those who attended more than once were considered repeat visitors. We did not measure online purchases.

Generally speaking however, if consumers visit a tasting room and then order wine online either directly from the winery or order the winery’s brand from another retailer, such visitors can be considered repeat consumers. Online post-purchases indicate loyalty to the winery.”

Are members of a wine club considered repeat visitors?

“By the same token, when consumers visit a winery and sign up for the winery’s wine club, they indicate their loyalty to the winery.”

Do wine tourists want to be repeat visitors or do they want to travel and experience visiting more wineries?

“Wine consumers generally enjoy variety. In contrast to, say, the automobile industry where loyalty to a certain brand oftentimes is passed on to several generations in the family, wine consumers rarely stick to one particular brand. Research also shows that variety seeking increases with the increased product knowledge. In other words, the more people learn about wine, the more they are willing to try different brands.

The same applies to wine tourists. When people get interested in visiting wineries, they are willing to visit different wineries. Each visit brings a different experience and it is a collection of those experiences that tourists cherish.”

When did you first become interested in wine and why?

“I grew up in the Southwest Ukraine where wine making was (and still is) very common. Virtually every house had a small vineyard in the backyard and people traditionally made small quantities of wine for own consumption and for sharing with neighbors. Several generations of my ancestors made wine. This is the culture I grew up in. As long as I can remember myself, a dinner table is associated with a jug of homemade wine. Wine just had to be on the table, just like salt and pepper shakers. My father still makes his own wine in his cellar every September.

Many years later, I was looking for a graduate school in the US, stumbled upon the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute, and this determined my research and teaching interests.”

Is the Texas Hill Country an international wine tourism destination? Why or why not?

“Although Texas has not been a traditional wine making region, the Texas wine industry has come a long way since its emergence in the late 1970s.  Within a relatively short time period, the number of Texas wineries increased dramatically, from 27 in 1990 to 286 wineries in 2014. The Fredericksburg area has the highest concentration of vineyards and wineries in Texas, and has been recognized as the second-most popular wine tourism destination in the U.S. More and more people are interested in visiting the region. While at the moment, the majority of the visitors are Texas residents, the region also gets popularity among out-of-state and international visitors.”

How would you advise wineries that are not in close proximity to each other, like the WOW (Texas Way Out Wineries) to increase visitors to their tasting rooms? 

“For wineries located off the beaten track, wine events, such as wine festivals or wine educational courses usually work best to attract people to tasting rooms.”

Don’t miss “First-Time Versus Repeat Visitors: Different Types of Loyalty” at the International Wine Tourism Conference 2015 in Champagne’s historic city of Reims.

IWINETC 2015 Conference Front Cover

Article by Kathy Sullivan, Wine Trail

International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC)

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