Bainbridge Island, Washington is a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. When you walk off the ferry, you feel like you’ve set foot in a secret coastal town that is much farther than 9 miles from a big city like Seattle.
Bainbridge Island is home to seven boutique wineries, all very high quality and unique. Many of the island wineries have been around for 10 plus years producing high quality wines, which for the most part, have gone unnoticed from the Seattle and greater Washington wine consumer.
In July 2016, The Social Sip, helped plan the first Wine on the Rock; an organized wine weekend on Bainbridge Island with all seven wineries open for two days of wine tasting, food and live music at each winery.
This inaugural event sold out and we executed the first successful Wine on the Rock event.
I’ve been planning events for a long time and over the years have learned some key ingredients in the recipe for event planning success. If you’re planning an event, keep these things in mind:
1. Advertise where your target consumer is. Sounds obvious, but sometimes it can be overlooked. If you’re used to advertising on a certain medium, like through magazine ads, that’s great. But if you want to attract a certain audience to your event, make sure you are getting your event in front of them. For the Wine on the Rock event, most of the advertising was done through targeted Facebook ads. For very little money, we could target the exact person we wanted to attract to the event and it worked! The Bainbridge Island Wine on the Rock winery weekend events have been so successful that they now happen quarterly with most the advertising and outreach being done through Facebook.
2. Pay attention to details. Being an event planner requires a deep level of organization - like OCD, Type A organization. You must think of every detail to ensure the event is executed as flawlessly as possible. Start by doing a brain dump of everything you need to do broken up into pre-event, during-event and post-event categories. Keep a detailed checklist of what items have been completed and add to each category as needed during the planning process.
3. Notify local transportation outlets. Before any big event, I make sure I call local cab companies, Uber as well as the local city bus company so that they are aware and are adequately staffed for the extra traffic that the event will bring. They appreciate the heads up and are grateful for the extra business and now they know where the extra business came from. Win, win!
4. Post event reporting is just as important as the actual event. Everyone wants to know how the event performed so be ready to quickly pull together a re-cap after the event. The re-cap should include where you advertised, how much was spent, the reach, engagement, attendee feedback as well as a myriad of other information. It helps to create a template before the event, so that you’ll be ready for quick reporting when the event is over.
5. Get feedback from attendees. During the event, talk to as many people as you can. Ask how they heard about the event, what they like and what can be done to improve. This is like a mini focus group and can provide tremendous value to the success of future events.
6. A post event download is a must. No later than a week after each event, I meet with the winemakers and winery owners to get their thoughts on how the event went. They always bring a unique perspective and provide insight from the front-line. These meetings often result in great ideas to help increase revenue at future events. For example, at the first Wine on the Rock debrief meeting with the winemakers, it was brought up that while the wineries were packed during the event, many attendees weren’t buying wine. Many were riding a shuttle we had organized and didn’t have any place to carry their wine. Out of this piece of feedback came the idea to provide attendees with an event branded 6 bottle wine tote so they could carry purchased wine around. This greatly increased bottles sales throughout the wineries and created another value added for attendees.
A lot of work goes into planning events - in any industry for any size company, but the results can be so rewarding. When you see the faces of attendees really enjoying themselves and having a fabulous time, you know it was worth all the work!
We were lucky enough to have a local videographer, Sjon Johnson, film our last Wine on the Rock event and he captured the event beautifully. Check it out below. It’s worth the 4 minutes.
To find out more about Wine on the Rock events or Bainbridge Island wineries, visit. www.bainbridgewineries.com
If you need help planning a fantastic wine event big or small, The Social Sip is who you need to call! That rhymed…love it!