A blog about all things rural and agritourism related

Providing Excellent and Customer-Centric Design

Categories: Agritourism, farm design

Good design is good business!

A customer who has a great experience will share that great experience! So how do you create a great experience? I firmly believe it starts with thoughtful design of the property, the buildings, the product, the branding, and the story. All this is designed; it can’t just happen, it has to be thought about, and it has to be cohesive.

People use the visual cues on your farm to determine how to behave, where they can go, and where they should go next.  You need to use these cues to help make people feel comfortable on your property, guide them to where they can be engaged, and give them the best experience possible!

A Grand Estate Winery Entrance

A Well-Designed Entry

First impressions are important; we all know that, so don’t underestimate the importance of property entrance! A well-designed entry is the difference between your customer feeling welcome or wondering if they are in the right place. We recommend making the first lane where most visitors approach the main entrance. This will help them not drive in the private farm entrance by accident. The clarity of entry will tell your visitors what’s private and what is for them to explore. This is essential to protecting your personal privacy! It immediately shows your customer where to drive, park, and walk before they even leave their car.

The following tools are all cues visitors will react to: 

  • Signage at the lane
  • Fences
  • Clear views of the yard vs. an obstructed view of a residence.
  • Clear parking areas
  • Clearly marked building entrances (marked not only with signage but architectural features like canopies, glass doors, etc.)
  • Hedges
  • Paths
  • Order of the lanes

Thoughtful Circulation and Flow

After arriving, you want to make the circulation and flow around your site clear, easy, and comfortable. The site should have a good flow so the customer doesn’t miss any of the great things your site offers! If your property requires a site map, then it probably isn’t working very well. Use these cues:

  • Clearly maintained paths 
  • Benches 
  • Fences 
  • Landscaping 
  • Porches 
  • Public outbuildings 
  • Signage and sitemaps should be used where site layout and architecture fail.  

Create Connection Spaces

Visitors who go from simply coming to participating in the farm will be more connected to a place and will want to come back and tell their friends. Consider moments and locations where visitors can join in your farm activities.

Make sure you have places for them to enjoy and reflect. When customers have a place to be, they will stay longer, reflect, and connect with the experience and business. These kinds of places can be created using the following:

  • Fireplaces and fire pits 
  • Picnic tables 
  • Shade 
  • Pavilions 
  • Animals 
  • Selfie Spots 
  • Lookouts 

Create places and spaces with a WOW factor. Buildings and spaces that leave an impression on your visitors that they will remember and share. How do these spaces tell your farm story? How are they different from other farm stories?

Some examples of WOW moments: 

  • Sunset view 
  • Barn conversions 
  • Modern or unique buildings 
  • Food and drink in the orchard 

“There is something about quality customer service that you often can’t put your finger on — but you know it’s there. And it’s a critical factor for tourism success, both as a means of satisfying ever-increasing customer expectations and as a way to achieve business profitability”

Erdly & Kesterson-Townes, 2002.

VELD architect helps agritourism operators create functional AND memorable farm experiences! Go from offering good but unspectacular farm experiences to a remarkable farm experience that people can’t help but talk about using VELD’s AgVisioning Process. Tell us about your project to get started!

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