Just got back home from a local networking event in Epernay, near to where I live in Champagne. The networking event was the first “Speed Networking” event held in Epernay, and I must say I was surprised and impressed to get an invitation. At least they’re trying, I thought.
The focus of the event was twofold.
First, to bring all us operators in the tourist industry together to share ideas, meet new people and find the odd JV. I thought this was a very good idea and quietly congratulated the new Director of the Tourist Office.
Secondly to unveil their new iniatiative on getting us all grouped together under yet another banner “Vignobles et Decouvertes”. We’re already with “Gites de France”, “Tourisme Marne”, “CDT” to name but a few, all of which are supposed to give us credibility and assure the tourists. And maybe it does, I really don’t know. All I know is that I have paid handsomely to belong to these institutions in the past and I really can’t recall how much extra business they have brought me, but it’s not a lot.
We were told that the worthies had been down to Burgundy to see what they were doing down there and saw said V&D in action and thought it might be a good idea to do that in Champagne.
And it might be, but my point is “how will this help our visitors, those precious souls who come from far and wide to Champagne, with their expectations, their dreams and their money” and I’m not sure I can see the answer to that question right now.
So often in business, and I’m as guilty as the next person, we focus on what we want or what we think our customers want, not really listening to their deepest desires and goals. I wonder how much real research has been done into what visitors really want when they come to Champagne. When I say real research, I mean asking good questions and then listening to the response without judgement.
I don’t think anyone would have revealed a deep desire to have a label “Vignobles et Decouvertes” do you?