In 2020, it was estimated that the global wine tourism market was worth $8.7 billion. And while this industry was hindered by the pandemic, some are predicting that it will grow exponentially over the next ten years.
Winery properties have long been available on vacation booking sites. But recently, Airbnb added new searchable categories that help travelers book more unconventional lodgings. It is now easier than ever to find a “windmill,” “treehouse,” or “castle” for your next trip. And, if you search “vineyards,” you can choose from roughly 120,000 properties across the globe.
While this feature is only a month old, it does appear to be a win-win-win-win for wine lovers, vineyards, wine regions, and Airbnb.
Staying on-property at a winery is not a new concept by any means, and some swear it is the only way to truly appreciate a terroir. In Tuscany, for example, you have your choice of vineyard hotels. But, oftentimes these accommodations are less traditional–for example, a cabin or estate house–and therefore harder to book unless you know where to look. Until now.
For vineyard owners, having guests stay onsite can be lucrative. Last year, the average vineyard property host on Airbnb earned more than $12,500 from their listings. And, as climate change and extreme weather makes grape growing increasingly unpredictable, a more steady revenue could help alleviate the strain.
This also gives wineries an opportunity to create a deeper relationship with–and more robust experience for–their guests. Let’s say, for example, a group on a girls trip is staying at a vineyard estate. Their extended time on property allows them to interact more with staff, learn about and sample more wines, and explore the grounds. These travelers could enjoy it so much that they join the wine club, buy bottles as gifts, book future stays, or spread the word to their friends and families.
The benefits apply to the vineyard’s local wine region–as guests on one property may be more likely to visit others in the area.
It also opens up the opportunity for lesser known wine regions to attract tourists who may be visiting nearby. Take Crete, Greece, for example, which is best known for its breathtaking ruins and beaches. The island has also been making wine since 2600 BC but did not begin its entry into more commercial production until 30 years ago. With plentiful available Airbnbs, and many familiar and local varietals to choose from, a wine loving historian could create the perfect getaway.
While Airbnb certainly didn’t invent wine tourism, this new feature will likely help it to grow, both in attracting new tourists and expanding the horizons of existing ones. However, I reserve the right to change my mind–at least until I have had the opportunity to try it out for myself.
Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.