Thursday, April 30, 2015

Behind the Smile with Pieter Smits - JSwinetours

An interview for Rezgo touring software with me: Pieter Smits from JSwinetours.:

How did you end up near Alsace?
After a long time of working in publishing and informatics in the Netherlands I wanted something different.  I decided to make my hobby my work.  Apart from the wines, it also gives me the possibility to meet many different kinds of people.
I have built up (and still am) a network of wine producers and for example restaurant owners and chefs.  I have to do with travel agenst and learn(ed) about the tourism industry.

What is it about your location that makes you and your customers smile?
Fifteen years ago I discovered Alsace. I liked it so much that 11 years ago, I decided to move here permanently.  The space, the mountains, the freedom and of course the food and wines made me smile. And they still do!  Every day.  As Burgundy is only a little bit further than for example Strasbourg, I learned that I could go there too.  More great views and wine and food, I am a lucky guy.

Can you tell us more about JS Wine Tours?
I have always been interested in wine. I have been a member of several wine clubs in Holland.  After moving to France, I decided I wanted to make a living out of my hobby.  I studied soil types, I learned about different grapes. I got to know wine makers personally.  They explained me what they were doing and why.  I learned they were passionate about what they were doing. So am I.  I love to meet new people and show customers around. It is great to share my knowledge and passion.  And everybody has a life story too. Interesting.

What is it about your tours that makes your customers smile?
I do one day and more day wine tours in Alsace and Burgundy.  A couple of times per year we also go to Tuscany for a more day tour.  My tours are not standard. I do not do the same thing every day.  I ask my clientele what they would want before we go. And even during the day/tour we can add, skip or change things as we get to know each other and as I understand more what my customers really like.

Can you share an experience with your business that made you smile?
More then once I have had families that got together again for one of our tours. In daily life the children moved out and were living in other states or even other countries.  We have had many wonderful tours where people learned something and most of all had a great time as a family together again.  A big compliment is also that people decide to come back and do another tour in another region the following year.  Needless to say that we got some very generous tips a couple of times.  Wow :)  And last but not least we became friends with quite a few people over the years.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
As I have customers from all over the world, inquiries can come in the whole day and also in the evening. I am always curious about possible demands. So the computer is already on with my morning coffee. And then of course there are the producers, the wine makers and the restaurants. What are they experiencing? Anything new I should know? Anything that is interesting for my (potential) customers? It never stops :)

Can you share something about yourself that others may not know?
I am a great music lover. I even try to play the piano. I invested in some old vintage tube gear and own two old jukeboxes which I (partially) restored myself. I guess I have a lot of passions, but you understood that one already, right?!

If you could share one piece of advice for other tour or activity operators, what would it be?
Remember you are selling fun, a passion. Be open and flexible. You are never selling “just seats” in a mini-van. Do not think 9 to 5 ; think quality of life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New domain "" added

Alsace: Got new domain: "".... fun!

So you can try out
Now what new "email" to make for Alsace?

To be decided later :)


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