Wedding venues seem to be popping up everywhere! With a rise in micro weddings and non-traditional options, everything from historic mansions to cemeteries (yes, cemeteries!) are potential wedding venues these days. As a venue owner, you might be wondering how to stand out. What can you do to gain your share of the billion-dollar wedding industry?
Despite the stiff competition, there are a few things you can do to stand out from the crowd. Providing spectacular wedding communications, giving stellar service, and staying flexible are just a few ways you can succeed in this ever-changing industry.
Keep reading for how to make your wedding venue stand out from the competition. Enact all of these tips at your venue, and be prepared for a full event calendar!
A stand-out wedding venue provides exceptional wedding communications. This includes everything from marketing brochures to day-of signage. The better a venue is able to communicate, the more they’ll stand out from their competitors.
The best wedding venues have stunning marketing pieces, including brochures, wedding photo albums, and websites. These marketing pieces aren’t just pretty; they’re also informative. They should include information that couples are looking for, like general pricing, room capacities, and example menu choices.
Many venues make the mistake of providing vague marketing materials. They have pretty pictures but minimal information, and in today’s world, that doesn’t always work well. Venues often do this in hopes of creating custom sales packages. They believe that by being vague, they’ll bring more questioning couples in for a tour. If you can get a couple to meet with a salesperson, they’re more likely to book with your venue.
The strategy can work, but it can also backfire. Many couples want information before they tour a property. If they get frustrated by vague marketing materials and a lack of answers to their questions, they may choose to book elsewhere.
After a couple books your venue, the communication needs to continue. The wedding coordinator or event manager should reach out with a friendly hello to introduce themselves. They should outline the process, as well, including when payments, final counts, and menu choices are due. Consider utilizing handwritten notes to make a lasting impression. Even though the couple went through all this when they booked, having it laid out again never hurts. Couples planning a wedding are often busy and overwhelmed, so making communications clear and referenceable really helps.
It’s also a good idea for the coordinator or manager to inform the couple about their role. Do they help with wedding planning? Or do they suggest a professional wedding planner?
When the big day finally arrives, the best venues introduce the happy couple, as well as their wedding planner (if they have one), to a point person. That way, the couple or planner knows who to go to should a concern arise or should they need a special accommodation.
Top-notch venues also ensure wedding guests know where to go. Providing signage for parking, ceremony, and reception sites ensures guests don’t end up frustrated. Given that many wedding guests are future prospects for weddings and other events, it’s essential to make a good impression.
Beyond providing good communication from booking to the wedding day, stand-out wedding venues always provide exceptional service. High-end service means more than having enough servers, bartenders, and valet attendants on the day of the event. Stellar service starts with the attitude of the staff.
If staff have a “can do” attitude, your venue is almost guaranteed to stand out. Staff should want to go above and beyond to make each couple feel special. Things like using the couple’s new name or helping them unload their car might seem small, but can make a big impression.
Exceptional service can also include more tangible items like providing champagne in the bridal suite or bringing the hungry wedding party appetizers while they wait for pictures.
A service culture doesn’t end when the event is over either. The best wedding venues send a thank you and ask for feedback wherever possible.
There is even the potential to reach out to wedding attendees and offer them services, like writing wedding well wishes cards for the bride and groom from the attendees.
The best wedding venues send a thank you and ask for feedback wherever possible.
No two weddings are exactly the same, and venues that want to stand out keep that in mind. Lots of venues that focus on weddings use a formulaic approach. It’s this one-size-fits-all mentality, though, that couple’s often veer away from.
Boring packages that aren’t customizable and an event manager that always says no are surefire ways to keep your venue so-so. Instead, premier venues give choices and flexibility wherever they can. They offer exciting package choices with customizable options, and their staff tries to say yes to requests as much as possible.
This doesn’t mean you can’t upcharge for the extra touches. Most couples are willing to pay a little extra for special treatment. But if they feel like they’re just another wedding on your venue calendar, the couple probably won’t recommend you to friends, if they book at all.
This sort of goes along with providing excellent wedding communications, but it’s so important that it deserves its own section here. It’s shocking how many wedding venues still fail at providing a functional website. If you’re expecting couples to call for information, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
In fact, 62% of responders in this SkiftX survey said they used Google to find a venue for their wedding. That means your website needs SEO content as well as an easy-to-use interface. Sending an inquiry should be as simple as listing a name and a preferred wedding date. Photos of past weddings should also be easy to look through.
Ideally, your venue will show up on the first page of Google when someone searches for a venue in your area. That means learning SEO or hiring an SEO expert. Though this may cost a little time and money upfront, the results are assuredly worth the cost.
The same SkiftX survey we mentioned above found that 56% of couples used social media to help them find a wedding venue. They also use social media to inspire what they should do for decor and food, rather than turning to an old-fashioned bridal magazine.
That means wedding venues would do well to have a strong social media presence. Carving out a place on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Facebook are all good ideas. To do so, make sure your venue contract includes permission to post videos and pictures from each wedding to social media.
Then, ensure you take compelling photos and videos, focusing on weddings that feature creative decor. You should also post helpful tips and tricks from the experts. Interviewing your on-site wedding coordinators, featured vendors, and even the chef can all be beneficial in building a strong social media presence.
One of the best ways to stand out as a wedding venue is to offer wedding planning classes. In an effort to save expenses, many couples choose to take a DIY approach to wedding planning and coordination. So, offering wedding planning classes through your venue has several advantages.
For one thing, the couple will feel like they’re getting extra value from your venue. Where else will they get a free class on how to plan a wedding?
For another, it allows the venue to have a little more control over the wedding planning process. You won’t have to field as many out-there requests if you provide a class that lays out best practices. In a class, you can explain the trouble with live animals, toddler-aged ring bearers, and not having a seating chart without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Plus, a class is a chance to upsell certain features. You can talk about how providing beer and wine with dinner for guests makes the wedding more enjoyable. Or, you can bring up how silk and sateen linens upgrade the look of the entire venue.
It takes a little equipment and reliable WiFi, but hybrid weddings are the latest trend and they’re probably not going away. A hybrid wedding allows couples to have a certain number of guests at the venue in person. The rest of the guests, either due to geographic location or capacity restrictions, watch and participate in the wedding via a live stream.
To do this correctly, a venue may need an on-site tech team. You also need to configure your venue’s wedding and reception locations so that they look good on video. Paying attention to lighting and sound is crucial, as is speedy internet.
As a wedding venue, competition is fierce, which is why it’s important to stand out wherever you can. Ensuring your team excels at wedding communications, service, and flexibility are a good start. You also need a strong presence on Google and social media.
With all of that in place, add a few extras like wedding planning classes and hybrid wedding options, and there’s no doubt your wedding venue will stand out from the competition.
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