Last week, as I was leaving Weed Orchards & Winery in NY’s Hudson Valley after a day of apple picking, I uttered the words that every attraction, hotel, restaurant, and destination longs to hear:
We just HAVE to come back here again.
And I wasn’t alone. A bunch of Redpointers and their families were with me, and they all felt the same way. Future outings were planned before we even walked to the parking lot.
How did Weed accomplish that? How did they seduce a bunch of been-there-done-that marketers into a loyal romance with just one visit? With three smart moves: energy, experience investment, and onsite marketing.
Energy: Except for the peacefulness found among the sprawling orchards, that joint was JUMPING. An emcee/DJ playing music in the front courtyard area and acting like a cross between a circus barker and welcoming committee. A live band in the back patio and picnic area (near the outdoor bar, how convenient), creating a distinctly different entertainment space from the front courtyard area. Wagon rides over here. Wine tastings over there. At every point, people directing you…guiding you…suggesting something for you to do/try/see. Impression left on guest: vibrancy, life, texture… “I would never get bored here.”
Experience Investment: The typical apple-picking attraction playbook is… orchards + farm store/bakery. You wouldn’t think of spending an entire day there, nor would you think “I could come hang out here every weekend.” Not so with Weed. In a well-organized guest experience area, they offer four dining outlets (each serving completely different menu items, one exclusively devoted to cider donuts), two music/entertainment areas, several bar areas, a bakery, face painting, a playground, wagon rides, corn maze, petting zoo, a winery, produce for purchase, and a shocking array of indoor and outdoor seating areas. And that’s not even counting the pick-your-own orchards, gardens, and pumpkin patches. Impression left on guest: “I could come here every weekend and have a completely different experience…with my grandma, my neighbors, my besties, or my toddler.”
Onsite Marketing: The moment you arrive, you’re handed a map of the whole place (see pic), and then this happens in your brain: Whoa. What’s this? I can pick peaches? Nectarines? Vegetables? When? Not now? So, when? I’ll come back. Wait… is that a corn maze on the other side? Where’s the winery? Oh, there…not too far from the donuts. And so on. Supplementing that are the helpful signs around the place, and ohhhhhh… that emcee/barker. She delivered the perfect blend of fun commentary (“there’s no donut line right now!”), promo teasers (“don’t miss our pumpkin festival next weekend”), and smooth marketing lines (“tag us on social media @weedorchards”… “bring home a bottle of our crisp Seyval Blanc”… “it’s hot out!…try a wine slushie at the winery…um, not you, kids… adults only”). Impression left on guest: I need to come back…there’s so much to do here.
What’s my point? THEY DON’T SKIMP AND THEY DON’T FUMBLE AT THE GUEST EXPERIENCE GOAL LINE.
I can just hear the objections that would typically occur in the executive planning and finance meetings of such a business: Why do we need a band when we have a DJ? Why have different foods at each outlet? We can’t just hand out a plain old photocopied black-and-white map… it would have to be designed and printed and we don’t have the money for that. And on…and on…and on.
Kudos to the team at Weed for – in my opinion – making all the right choices.
And if you think they spent too much money unnecessarily? Well, ask yourself this: how much are the words “we just HAVE to come back here again” worth to YOUR business?