Titanic and Bodies Exhibits Debut in SoCal

Premier Exhibitions, Inc. is debuting two new exhibits in Southern California: BODIES…The Exhibition and Titanic The Experience.

The highly-anticipated Exhibitions will open side by side on August 1st at the former Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park.

Bodies and Titanic Exhibit Buena Park

With the opening of these two educational and entertaining attractions, Buena Park’s spectacular attraction total is brought to six, the most attractions in one city in Orange County.

Tickets for the popular Exhibitions can be obtained here. In light of high demand and record-setting attendance generated by the Exhibition in other cities, organizers urge the public to purchase advance tickets to ensure admittance when the Exhibition opens August 1st.

The brands are relying heavily on social media for the launch of these two new exhibits. Follow them on the following channels:

BODIES…The Exhibition

Bodies...The ExhibitionAt BODIES…The Exhibition, guests come face to face with real, full-body specimens and organs that provide an incredibly detailed, three-dimensional vision of the human form rarely seen outside of an anatomy lab.

Multiple galleries provide an up-close look inside the skeletal, muscular, reproductive, respiratory, circulatory and other systems of the human body…including a smoker’s lung and a healthy lung. Many of the specimens are arranged in vivid athletic poses, allowing the visitors to relate to their own bodies in everyday activities.

“The educational impact of this exhibition is immeasurable,” said Dr. Roy Glover, professor emeritus of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Michigan and chief medical director for BODIES. “For centuries, the medical community has learned about the inner workings of the human body through the study of real human

 About Titanic The Experience

titanic exhibition

From the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, Titanic The Experience revives the epic story of the “Ship of Dreams.” This exhibition has been designed to highlight the legendary RMS Titanic’s compelling human stories as best told through conserved artifacts and extensive staterooms, dining and recreational area re-creations. Visitors can become a passenger and time travel back to a prior century to witness the authentic artifacts recovered from the wreck site of Titanic.

Visitors interact with storytellers in period costumes portraying Titanic notables, such as Captain Smith and the “unsinkable” Molly Brown, allowing you to visit the unforgettable sights, sounds, and emotions of most famous Ship that ever set sail, Titanic. The Experience heightens the senses together with the chill of a real iceberg to touch and feel what it would have been like that fated day.

What are you most excited to check out?

**Congrats to Deb and Mike Moretti for winning the tickets in our giveaway that ended August 2!

Disclosure: I was offered tickets to the exhibits in exchange for this blogpost.

How to Handle Unsatisfied Customers

Complaints are inevitable when you provide products or services to customers, because there is simply no such thing as 100% satisfaction across your entire market. There will always be customers with expectations which you cannot meet, or those who will misunderstand your offerings completely. It is because of this that customer service is a crucial part of any business, and that, in turn, is why customer care call centers are now so common.

But with the boom of social media, handling unsatisfied customers has proven to be a rather big challenge. A few taps and clicks can change the perception of hundreds to thousands of people, and it is every marketing person’s nightmare to be the center of a complaint posted on social media.

Though there is very little you can do about a customer’s posted complaint once it is made public, there are, however, many ways of handling the problem. There even lies the possibility of turning the situation around. So, what are some ways you can serve irate or unsatisfied customers?

1. Apologize for the mistake

Let’s admit it: apologizing and swallowing your pride are two very underrated and underappreciated actions. The more natural response to a complaint would be to get defensive, but that would only lead to fighting fire with fire.

When a person is enraged and unsatisfied, the best way to start off your end of the conversation is to say, “Sorry.”

2. Address the customer right away – publicly

In such situations, the worst thing you can do for your business is to let the situation drag on. Ignoring a person’s negative feedback could only cause more anger to build up, or worse, it could make everyone think that you do not care at all. Remember that social media could work for you too, so do not be afraid to respond to complaints, especially if the mistakes can still be rectified.

Start by showing your customer that you are giving appropriate attention to his or her concern, and that you are publicly taking responsibility for his or her dissatisfaction. Make it clear that you wish to correct the situation.

3.  Offer a precise solution

Without overpromising, try to be clear about the next step. Especially if the solution might require further expenses on the company, or if you (as an administrator of social media accounts) do not have the authority to promise customers whatever they want, be open and transparent about how the situation will proceed.

4.  Offer a re-do or a replacement, along with additional benefits, when possible.

More often than not, the customers simply want to get the best out of what they paid for. If they were not satisfied with your product or service, what you can do is offer them a re-do or a replacement.

If it was a service, assure them that you will be putting them in the hands of your best staff members, who will be doing their best to provide high-quality service. If it was a product, ensure that you will do everything in your power to provide their money’s worth.

5. Take the conversation offline

Although it would be advantageous to show other potential clients how good you are at customer service, try not to discuss the details of your problem and solution in public. It would be best if a representative of your company offered to meet the customer to discuss the issue further. In cases when that would be too much to ask, a management-level representative may also just call the client and present ways by which you can make up for the mistake.

Just remember that, to an irate client, seeing an actual face, or experiencing the actual presence of a company representative will do wonders in letting them know you care.

In the end, the customer is truly king. For as long as their complaints are within reason, and are actually constructive enough for the company to recognize some areas for improvement, there is no reason why negative feedback should be ignored. A simple apology and some effort to make up for a mistake or misunderstanding could go a very long way, and could even develop some good will between clients and your company.

This post was contrbuted by Sheine Austria. Sheine is a professional writer whose passion is digital media, technology and blogging. She also used to do some photography in her college days. Sheine is also a single mother and decided to transfer to California and discover her future there.

Coffee Bean Debuts Ice Blended Truck This Summer

From May 20 – September 2, 2013, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® will keep their customers cool during their landmark 50th anniversary celebration with the introduction of a new Birthday Cake Ice Blended® beverage.

Available nationwide, the drink will be offered alongside the brand’s limited time summer Rocky Road and signature Mocha flavors. The Original Ice Blended® drink from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® pioneered the frozen coffee craze. The innovative handcrafted beverage was created in 1989 when a team member at the Westwood, CA store brought a blender from home, borrowed ice from the store next door, and blended together coffee, chocolate powder, milk, and ice.

Today, over 20,000 Ice Blended® drinks are served daily worldwide and over 7 million annually.

Marking the new Ice Blended® flavors’ debut on Monday, May 20, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® hosts its 50th Birthday Celebration with Buy One Get One Free Birthday Cake, Mocha, and Rocky Road Ice Blended® beverage daily June 3 – 7 from 2pm-6pm at participating stores across California and Arizona.

In addition, the brand will designate Thursday, June 27, 2013 as ‘The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Day’ in Los Angeles, CA.

 “We were ahead of the curve when we first introduced the Ice Blended® beverage, sparking the future of iced coffee drinks” notes President Mel Elias. “In honor of our 50th anniversary and continuing to keep our customers cool and refreshed, we want to tap into our favorite childhood flavors to create new memories with our guests, those young as well as those young-at-heart.”

Treating loyal The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® fans throughout summer 2013, the company’s new Ice Blended® mobile truck will tour Southern California cities including Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego sharing free Birthday Cake, Rocky Road and Mocha Ice Blended® samples.

Coffee Bean Ice Blended Truck Summer Tour

The truck will also participate in various outdoor events including KIIS FM Wango Tango, the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, and the X Games. Fans can track the truck by following @TheCoffeeBean on Twitter and using the hashtag #IceBlendedTruck.

Tying a food truck, and thereby adding mobility, to an already-established brand is an ambitious idea, one that seems fruitful considering the summer tour lineup. Utilizing a hashtag will allow fans to track its whereabouts and streamlined any shared images of the experience.

Will you visit the Ice Blended Truck this summer?

A Beginner’s Guide to Pinterest for Marketing

Pinterest actually launched in 2010, even though it took off the start of last year as users the world over went pin crazy. Just take a look at this impressive growth graph!

Now the website has over 11 million users and is still growing, with some of the most popular pin boards including holiday destinations, interiors inspiration and recipes – perfect for those in the hospitality industry.

While businesses like fashion brands and home decor stockists do do very well on Pinterest, there’s a place for those in the hotel, bed and breakfast and restaurant industry too, provided you go about it strategically.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Pinterest is a very visual social network. Images are the main focus, with just enough room for a clever caption and none at all for status updates and messages to friends. This makes it a fantastic tool for the hospitality sector where beautiful, high quality images of premises, food and surroundings are rife.

Picture says a thousand words
If you’re still uploading lower quality pictures, the best thing to do is invest in a good camera. It doesn’t even have to be an SLR as compact digital cameras are being increasingly manufactured to produce better quality images for less. You’d be surprised by the difference a professional looking photograph can make to a potential customer.

Pinterest users love sharing images that capture not just their eye but their imagination, and are the ones most likely to be shared by their own followers too, therefore being passed on to a much wider audience and increasing the original pinner’s visibility.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Although Pinterest does differ from other social networks in a few ways, the key best practices of not being too salesy and mixing up your content to cater for different visitor tastes still remains, just like Visit Savannah does.

Four Seasons Varied Pinterest Board

For a decent variety, for each board you create to showcase your business, create another that showcases inspiration for the same subject. For example, when creating a board full of images of your beautiful rooms start an additional one named something like ‘Hotel room inspiration.’ The same goes for things like the food you cook and recipe inspiration, and your business’ location or what to do there and your own dream holiday destinations.

You could even create a board that reveals what goes on behind the scenes at your establishment and is full of images of your chefs hard at work, your guests enjoying a mouth-watering breakfast or even a few snaps from a staff day out.

One of the most effective boards to create though – provided you also function as a wedding or reception venue – is for wedding inspiration. It’s one of the most popular categories on Pinterest and, if you mix in lovely pins of what you think the perfect wedding could involve with a few images of your own venue, the board is sure to capture the imagination of users and show them you’ll be able to make their dream day a reality.

Another popular category is ‘DIY & Crafts’ which, if you approach it creatively, is a great one for users in the hospitality industry to exploit. If you’re able to take advantage of the wedding theme you could repin tutorials for DIY bouquet arrangements or even create one yourself! And if not, try tutorials for making your own table arrangements, folding napkins creatively or even how to make your own face masks to leave in guests’ bathrooms.

As a little extra tactic, you could also try to pin images seasonally, posting lovely shots of your Christmas lights and decorations during the festive period, pinning recipes for the perfect autumn meal and even images of spring flowers popping up around your premises. You just need to think outside the box!

Traffic Control

Pinterest is a great source of website traffic, and if you pin according to the previous guidelines and offer equally as interesting and engaging content on your website, the probability of turning that traffic into business becomes even greater.

pinterest traffic graph

Image credit: Shareaholic

But how exactly do you get them to your site from Pinterest? Well, first you need to download the ‘Pin It’ button from the ‘About’ section of your Pinterest homepage.

Once you’ve done that, use it to pin (attractive and relevant) images from your website to your chosen board, and when users click that image on Pinterest they’ll be taken straight to the page that you pinned it from.

Blog posts are perfect, establishing you as an industry authority and creating a sense of trust among potential customers, nurturing them towards making a booking. It’s also good practice to post links, where relevant, in your image captions and profile bio to increase site awareness in a low friction way, letting users make the choice to click through when they feel like it.

Social media users also love contests, and you can really get creative when using Pinterest. Visit Santa Barbara recently ran an effective Pinterst content tying in various aspects of the city.

Sharing is Caring

For all Pinterest’s subtle differences to other social networks, it’s still a social network and requires you to interact with other users for it to really work. You should be liking, repinning and commenting on content regularly to raise awareness of your business and build up relationships with other users, proving to them that you aren’t just about the sale; you’re about the actual customer too.

community pinterest board
Another great way to get involved is by joining community boards. These are boards that multiple users can pin to and can be identified by the little symbol of three people next to where it says ‘[x number] pins’ on the board in question. They’re also a great way to develop relationships with other users as you’ll need to send a nice email or leave a comment requesting to be added, preferably telling the board’s owner that you love the content that’s on there.

Community boards are also a great way for hospitality businesses just starting out on Pinterest to quickly pick up followers, provided you don’t spam the board with irrelevant pins and get kicked off that is!

Pinterest can be an incredibly valuable tool in your marketing efforts for your hotel, restaurant, destination or venue, if you do it right. The key thing to remember is that the businesses that succeed are those who really get involved with what’s going on and use the platform as much more than just another sales pitch.

Remember: show your human side, give something back to users, don’t forget to have fun and, most importantly, bear in mind the simple rules of Pinterest etiquette – be respectful, be authentic, credit your sources and run promotions in the correct manner.

This post was contributed by Michelle Pegg, a true social media advocate who enjoys reading and blogging about the hospitality industry, textiles and linens. She is the Assurance & Compliance Manager at Hilden Linens, UK suppliers of linen to the hospitality industry. Follow her on Twitter: @PeggMichelle

Cirque du Soleil World’s Away

From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has 21 different shows playing around the world in 2012.

The mission of Cirque du Soleil is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world.

This Holiday Season, Cirque du Soleil brings their world to your city!

From the big top to the big screen, visionary filmmaker James Cameron and director Andrew Adamson (Shrek, Narnia) invite you and your family on an all new 3D adventure –Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away!

A young couple who is separated, must journey through the astonishing and dreamlike worlds of Cirque du Soleil to find each other, as audiences experience the immersive 3D technology that will allow them to leap, soar, swim, and dance with the performers.

The brand has always been above the bar with their social media presence. Facebook fans get intimate, behind-the-scenes looks at performances, giveaways and other exciting perks. With several shows including touring ones in the US and Canada as well as many staples in Las Vegas, there is sure to be a spectacle to suit every taste.

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Which show would you go see in Vegas?

Get Wine Educated at Total Wine & More’s Tech-Savvy Stores

Total Wine & More is America‘s largest independent retailer of fine wine. They currently operate over 85 superstores across 14 states and are growing rapidly. The typical store carries more than 8,000 different wines from every wine-producing region in the world.

In addition to a world-class selection of fine wines, the typical Total Wine & More also carries more than 2,500 beers, from America‘s most popular beers to hard-to-find microbrews and imports, and more than 3,000 different spirits from every price range and category.

Total Wine & More

Total Wine & More is committed to having the lowest prices on wine, spirits and beer every day. In addition to associates, their staff includes 600 wine professionals, who must demonstrate comprehensive wine knowledge before joining the team.

After coming on board, all wine team members undergo an extensive initial training program, participate in weekly team wine tastings, attend monthly wine-producer seminars, and many travel to prestigious winegrowing regions on company-sponsored trips.

Earlier this year, Total Wine debuted their “next-generation” retail experience in Southern California. The new Laguna Hills store is centered around the latest technologies to enhance its customers’ experience.

Next-generation elements include iPads which allow customers to interact with an app that recommends wine and food pairings, a fully-equipped education center to facilitate wine, beer, and spirits tastings, and flat panel video screens which provide continuous educational content on wine, beer and spirits makers and their trade.

Their main Facebook page has 35,000 fans, and they also have various pages dedicated to specific regions. Fans can learn more about wine and find other related goodies on their Pinterest page, and they also have a great wine blog that helps educates newbies on various aspects of the beverage.

Which wine is your favorite?

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Rubio’s Debuts Online Merch Store on Cyber Monday

The restaurant chain known for its fish tacos, flavorful seafood dishes, and devotion to the ocean, is now bringing its Southern California flair to clothing, drinkware, lifestyle accessories and more.

Rubio’s Restaurants is debuting its online merchandise store, in honor of Cyber Monday. Featuring a variety of Rubio’s gear for all ages, the items in the new online store represent the brand’s passion for coastal living and dedication to quality.

Created and designed by an in-house team of artists, the Rubio’s online store offers t-shirts, sweatshirts, baby onesies, kids clothes, tanks tops, aprons, reusable shopping bags, canvas totes, water bottles, coffee mugs, phone cases, stickers, key chains, license plate holders, flip flops and much more.

“At Rubio’s, we are dedicated to creating delicious, chef-crafted recipes and memorable experiences,” said Ralph Rubio, founder of Mexican food brand. “There was so much passion and attention to detail that went into the creation of the Original Fish Taco recipe and, once completed, I hoped that Rubio’s guests would see it, taste it and love it as much as I did. Now, after almost 30 years, I’m still in awe of the devotion our guests have for Rubio’s and that’s why we’re thrilled to launch an online store that delivers more of the Rubio’s culture to our guests.”

The online merchandise store is one of the brand’s many initiatives that will be rolling out as the restaurant chain celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Founded in 1983, Rubio’s opened its first store, a walk-up location, in the San Diego community of Mission Bay. Since then, Rubio’s has sold more than 150 million fish tacos and continues to expand its menu with innovative recipes inspired by the sea.

Fans can also join in the conversation and be among the first to hear about upcoming events, including Rubio’s 30th anniversary celebrations, on Facebook at  and Twitter.

Cash Registers vs iPads: Pros and Cons to the Shift to Tech

According to their Facebook bio, Urban Outfitters is the biggest small retailer in the world. Noting that’s a contradiction, the brand says they don’t intend to make sense on paper, and they don’t even have a logo.

It’s no surprise, then, that this out-of-the-box boutique retailer is fine with challenging the status quo.

According to Business Insider, at last week’s brand analyst day, Urban Outfitters revealed that they are going to phase out cash registers in favor of Apple touch-screen products.

Urban Outfitters iPadThe sales people will have iPod touches, similar to the Apple store (known for its wire-free, personal service), and the formerly on-counter registers will be replaced by iPads on swivel devices, allowing for cashiers to be on the same side of the counter as shoppers.

The company’s CIO Calvin Hollinger noted that purchasing iPads are about one-fifth the cost of cash registers, and provide a more diverse array of functionality, such as being turned toward customers, who can view content, put in personal information, create a gift registry, etc.

This seems like it could potentially present pros and cons:

Pros:

  • It’s more efficient. With employees walking around with iPod touches able to authorize transactions, people don’t have to worry about waiting in line.
  • It’s cleaner. There are no wires, no large registers on the counter, etc.
  • Similarly, iPads not-in-use can be easily removed from the counter, allowing for more space for organizing or other projects.
  • It shows a progressive stance on implementing technology. Beverage company Total Wine & More also recently made huge strides in regard to creating a tech-friendly atmosphere for guests.
Cons:
  • Eventually, with complete reliance on advance technology comes the possibility that retailers won’t need to hire as many employees. People will probably be able to ring themselves out via iPad (similar to self check-out options at grocery stores and the like). While this is a money-saver for the stores, it’ll could hurt the economy as well as the younger generations that typically rely on these kinds of jobs.
  • There could be more potential for shoplifting. With people just wandering around and being able to check out wherever, it seems much more easy for someone to claim to have checked out and rang up items (and “lost” their receipt), when they haven’t yet.
  • It’s more difficult to tailor to the cash-preferring crowd. While they’re becoming fewer and far between, kids or those with only cash them won’t have the same accessibility to these options that prefer credit card swiping.
What do you think? Do you like the idea of using iPads at stores, or do you prefer good-ol’-fashioned cash registers?

 

Gogobot: Redefining Social Travel

Gogobot Logo

The web is full of social travel sites, though one in particular that’s setting a high bar is Gogobot. As on other sites, you can read and write reviews of hotels, restaurants and other establishments. And it’s totally free to sign up!

You can also keep tabs on your friends’ outings, find recommendations for destinations you plan to visit, and give advice on any travel topic, such as the best burger in San Francisco or what type of weather to expect in Paris in December.

Earlier this year, I was taking a first-time trip to June Lake and was looking for any must-visit stops on the way. I posted on Gogobot asking if anyone knew of anything worth checking out, and within minutes, received several productive responses.

Another unique component is that users can maintain a “passport” of travels and create digital postcards and scrapbooks of places you’ve been, supplementing nicely the ever-increasing magnetism of visual content.

Gogobot postcard

In May, the company announced it had passed 1 million registered users. Then, just two months later, they revealed they’d topped 2 million users, up 100% in just 60 days.

Gogobot is a San Francisco-based startup founded by MySpace’s former International GM Travis Katz and Ori Zaltzman, the former Chief Architect of Yahoo Search BOSS. The startup opened up its public beta in early December 2010 and its growth has been astonishing, with a new member joining the site every 15 seconds, on average.

After just 18 months since launch, Gogobot announced reaching the milestone of 1 million registered user as well as some additional competitive stats. Recently, Snoop Dogg signed up along with Tom of MySpace fame.

Since launch, more than 5 million places have been shared on the service, with Gogobot’s mobile app and a partnership with Foursquare cited as a major driver of this growth.

Since unveiling the iPhone app in October, the number of reviews submitted by users has doubled each day, the number of trip plans created has doubled each day and the number of photos uploaded by users each day has increased by a magnitude of 5x.

The brand also regularly runs contests to encourage participation. Currently, they’re highlighting the “In the Know Contest,” in which a lucky Gogobot member will win an exclusive Gogbot prize pack for writing a hotel review!

Sign up for Gogobot today!

Storage Startup Hits Home Run with New Blog

The effectiveness of blogging is transparent, no matter what your business. While many hotels are doing an excellent job with the practice, other industries are also setting a great example from which the hospitality industry can learn.

Earlier this year, SpareFoot, the world’s largest online marketplace connecting consumers to self-storage facilities, launched a campaign called “Supply Memories,” which focused on using social media for a school supply drive for a Texas nonprofit focused on dropout-prevention.

Now, the innovative startup has rolled out a new blog design that focuses on providing enhanced readability on any web enabled device. The project was piloted by senior software developer Steve Cherewaty and features a new simplistic layout, designed with optimal user experience in mind.

The SpareFoot Blog is an open-ended, high-quality editorial catchall. They currently publish 1-3 times weekly and promote content through various online channels. The primary focus is on SpareFoot company news, and they’re opening that up to include updates from specific departments (tech, sales, support, etc). They also publish self-storage advice for various types of renters.

SpareFoot Blog

SpareFoot’s plan for the rest of 2012 is to focus on quality over quantity. They publish and promote well-researched articles that effectively broaden the relevance of self-storage to audiences such as wine enthusiasts, home stagers, green building construction professionals- interesting industries that can potentially relate to self-storage. The redesign will lend credibility to the content while reflecting the casual, modern, fun brand.

“Our central design goal was to provide a great reading experience on all web-enabled devices. The layout is responsive—the elements on the page shift around and resize according to the size of your screen. We want our content to be accessible and legible on phones, tablets, desktops, and new devices we don’t even know about yet,” said Cherewaty.

Here is a brief interview between a SpareFoot associate, John, and Steve, in which he explains his rationale behind the recent blog renovation.

John: So what’s up with this blog redesign?
Steve:
Our blog has really reflected our growth as a startup. We started out with something kind of raw, and over time we’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. In our redesign we tried to update the look to match how we’ve evolved the brand. Visually we used fewer gradients and drop shadows, incorporated the latest thinking in web fonts, and boiled our iconic tape measure motif down to its simplest form. I think the end result is a more timeless look that is unquestionably modern without resorting to trite “Web 2.0″ techniques.
John:
Nice, and what would you say was your main goal?
Steve:
Our central design goal was to provide a great reading experience on all web-enabled devices. The layout is responsive—the elements on the page shift around and resize according to the size of your screen. We want our content to be accessible and legible on phones, tablets, desktops, and new devices we don’t even know about yet. Going with a responsive design lets the content take center stage. With more and more of our readership accessing the internet via mobile devices and tablets, I think it was definitely wise to incorporate such a responsive design.

Have you seen any other non-hospitality pros using blogging effectively?

Total Wine & More Introduces Next Generation Retail Experience

Total Wine & More, America’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, spirits and beer, will introduce its new, “next-generation” retail experience in Southern California with the opening of its latest location in Laguna Hills, CA.

Total Wine & More Laguna Hills

Total Wine & More’s Laguna Hills location will offer more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers, including hard-to-find labels and locally produced product.

The beverage superstore has created a unique retail environment centering around the latest technologies to enhance its customers’ experience, according to David Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More.

Next-generation elements include iPads which allow customers to interact with an app that recommends wine and food pairings, a fully-equipped education center to facilitate wine, beer, and spirits tastings, and flat panel video screens which provide continuous educational content on wine, beer and spirits makers and their trade.

Coming soon, QR codes will provide customers with on-demand video content and will include full details of each product’s tasting profile, ratings and price.

Wine Recommendations“Today’s customers are seeking increased information from retailers about the products they see and like, and Total Wine’s new, ‘next-generation’ environment delivers on all of those fronts,” says Trone, who co-owns Total Wine & More with his brother Robert Trone. “While we continue to focus on delivering market-leading prices, selection, and service, we have expanded our objectives to ensure that we are also technology leaders in our industry.”

The new retail experience in the latest Total Wine & More store begins with flat panel screens at the entrance of the store that stream video content on vintners, their wineries and how the wine is made. At the state-of-the-art tasting bar, customers may utilize Total Wine’s proprietary iPad app, which provides recommendations based on pairing beverages with various meals. Coming soon, customers may utilize QR (quick response) codes to surf the web for product information and price comparisons.

“For example, customers are often seeking suggestions for a wine to pair with dinner,” explains Trone. “Using Total Wine’s app, our customers can input the food they are planning to prepare and the app will provide a recipe as well as multiple recommendations for wines which would pair nicely with the meal.”

Recipes and recommendations may be printed in the store or e-mailed for easy reference while browsing the thousands of wine selections available in each Total Wine Superstore, according to Trone. Total Wine and More Food Pairing App

In addition to the unique iPad kiosk, Total Wine & More’s new retail environment features an updated education center, equipped with wireless communications capabilities.

“One of the features that makes Total Wine unique is our educational ‘Meet the Maker’ series. These sessions give local customers a chance to interact with well-known makers of wine, beer and spirits to taste and learn about the rich history of various beverages,” says Trone. “Through our enhanced retail design, we will now be able to offer these classes with updated graphics and information, enriching the educational experience for our customers.”

In addition to enhanced tastings, Total Wine & More offers classes on various types of wines, beers and spirits. The state-of-the-art education center is also available to be booked for use by local non-profits and businesses at no charge.

Throughout the new, next-generation store, customers will also enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, which Trone says is essential in providing price transparency.

“It might surprise people to know that we really want our customers to have the ability to compare prices,” he explains. “By providing customers with connectivity throughout our stores, we are giving them the opportunity to ensure they are getting the best prices in the market when shopping with us.”

Trone adds that “the idea behind each of these enhancements is to provide a fully integrated and enjoyable customer experience.”