Study: In-Person Alcohol Activations Come Roaring Back


Image above by Ildar Sagdejev: Tour of Lonerider Brewery in Raleigh, North Carolina 

After a two-year hiatus, Coors on Friday reopened its brewery tour in Golden, Colorado -- further evidence that in-person activations in the alcoholic beverage industry are back, big time.

Those experiences, which also take place in distilleries and tasting rooms, now make up 99% of all alcohol experiential interactions vis a vis online ones, up from 68% in May 2021 and just 4% in May 2020, according to the “2022 Brand Home Trends Report” from experience relationship platform AnyRoad.

For consumers still booking online experiences, AnyRoad added that “Zoom fatigue” has set in, with just 33% actually attending digital events, whether free or paid. 

AnyRoad defines a “brand home” as any way a consumer interacts with a brand -- either digitally or in-person -- including tours, classes, marketing activations and other events.



Analyzing more than 15 million consumer visits worldwide over three-years to the “homes” of more than 200 alcohol brands -- including Diageo, Anheuser-Busch and Sierra Nevada -- AnyRoad’s new report comes as in-person experiential visits are soon to enter their peak season of May and June.

“Immersive experiences such as tours and tastings are an extremely powerful tool for driving loyalty,” explained Daniel Yaffe, co-founder and chief operating officer of AnyRoad. “They are often transformative, helping to capture the hearts of customers and make them feel deeply connected to a brand.”

Yaffe said that alcohol brands are increasingly using technology and data to personalize experiences at scale. For example, he said, “Johnnie Walker has its guests fill out flavor profiles before arriving to enhance their experiences -- and collect feedback throughout the process to constantly improve how they are connecting with consumers.” 

Indeed, the report states that brands that offer personalized experiences and “add-ons” score 10% more in AnyRoad’s sophisticated ROI measurement of Net Promoter Score (NPS), which in essence subtracts the percentage of consumer detractors (those who actively spread "negative word of mouth") from the percentage of consumer promoters (those who actively refer friends).

Coors has taken up the personalization and add-on mantle with such enhanced tour amenities as a new lounge, personal tour guides, free samples throughout the tour and complimentary branded aluminum cups.

In general, AnyRoad reported, in-person experiences averaged a 78 NPS in 2021 and online experiences a 71.

But staffing and capacity planning challenges led to a significant drop in NPS during November and December, leading AnyRoad to warn that failure of brands to plan ahead adequately for peak season could create “reputational risk.”

That would also mean dropping the ball on new customers and increased “Lifetime Value,” since the report found that half the visitors to brand homes are not frequent buyers of the brand -- and, indeed, that 23% of them don’t consume the brand’s products at all.

And, with consumers traveling further for in-person experiences year-over-year, brands should make sure to target tourists and out-of-town visitors, since they were found to spend $10 more per visit that locals and to also have higher NPS. “Identify where the biggest spenders are coming from, and launch ad campaigns that focus on these groups,” the report recommends.

AnyRoad also found that 21-to 40-year-olds comprise half of all brand home visitors, with 31-to 40-year-olds 10% more likely to make repeat purchases than 21-to 30-year-olds.

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