Learn how to reach out to newly-engaged couples with some innovative ways to capture more of the lucrative weddings market. David Barrett, managing director of Pic PR, shares some best practice ideas to help guests say ‘I do’ to you.Learn how to reach out to newly-engaged couples with some innovative ways to capture more of the lucrative weddings market
As a wedding venue, you have a relatively small window of opportunity in which to engage with prospective brides and grooms.
Choosing the venue is one of the first things that a couple is likely to look at, with everything else falling in to place around it, and it’s because it’s such a core component that you need to attract couples at the very early stages of their engagement. What can you do, then, to make your venue stand out in their mind?
The majority of couples out there have no pre-conception of where they want to go and are ripe for persuasion. In this scenario then, where are they looking?
Online is the obvious go to. The amount of people who simply search ‘wedding venues in <insert location>’ on Google is enormous. This means, to take advantage, it’s essential you’re easily found in the search engines for your location.
Being found in the searches involves all sorts of SEO requirements, which would involve an article focused on that alone (check my article a couple months back on ‘how to get found on google’ for that!). At a basic level though, you need to ensure your website is properly optimised and has fresh, wedding related content (actively talking about your wedding offering), while other elements such as the inclusion of video on your website and having active social media profiles should also be taken into account. One key thing that relates to both SEO requirements and to that of getting in front of soon-to-be-married couples is that of press coverage.
Newly engaged couples – and, again, brides in particular – often turn to the key wedding titles such as Wedding Ideas magazine, You and Your Wedding or even regional specific ones such as the Scottish Wedding Directory. Featuring in these not only gets you seen in the initial article talking about your offering, it also helps you to be found in search engines if the article subsequently appears online. If respected wedding titles are talking about your hotel, then you’ll receive a legitimacy boost in the eyes of engaged couples and in the eyes of Google. People trust well-known publications and so do the search engines.
Another key area is social media. Not only is being active here also recognised by Google, but it’s also becoming a core media for all sorts of businesses. Social media has billions of interactions every day, particularly on the likes of Facebook and Twitter, which need no introduction. However, a key platform for engaged couples is Pinterest. Brides and grooms- to-be often turn to here for inspiration thanks to its ability for users to ‘pin’ images that they like to ‘boards’. Many brides-to-be turn to Pinterest once they’re engaged regardless as to whether or not they’ve used it before. Setting up a specific wedding board for inspiration allows them to collate all the elements of wedding planning that they’ve come across and like. Hotels and hoteliers need to do the same – if you have your own dedicated wedding board, then you can showcase your wedding offering to soon-to-be-married couples.
Talking of inspiration, video can also play a huge part in this. Not everyone is easily able to visualise how their day will look, and a video is the perfect medium for you to convey how a wedding will unfold at your venue. If you showcase a wedding on your hotel website, engaged couples are able to see instantly what the set up will be and can put themselves in place of those in the video in their mind’s eye. As a venue, you can even look to host a series of videos to showcase a range of options – from intimate weddings, to large gatherings; whatever your facilities happen to allow.
The good thing is, you’re often able to utilise the wedding videos of past couples. They’re usually keen for all and sundry to see their big day, so permission doesn’t tend to be a problem. Venues often have recommended photographers and videographers that have worked there in the past, so asking them for appropriate footage and imagery is another fairly straightforward option.
To capture everything you want though, it’s often worth investing in a wedding video regardless. This is something we’ve recently facilitated for a hotel client, which has arranged to film a couple’s wedding with that specific purpose in mind. By offering to provide the wedding video for the couple, the hotel can capture the elements it wants to, and use the subsequent footage as it sees fit.
Wedding fayres are another great way to showcase what you offer. Host your own, with canapes and drinks provided. Invite suppliers to come and showcase their services, and encourage them to shout about the event on their social channels as well as your own.
Another element to consider is awards. A lot of people put stock in awards and if your venue is an award-winning one, then it can really enhance your venue’s standing. After all, who wouldn’t like to get married at an award-winning venue? It’s something you can shout about via the press, social media, and even via your video edits. Awards tend to be well publicised, so friends and family are more likely to recommend an award-winning venue as a possible option for the newly-engaged.
To summarise then, there are plenty of things you can be doing to put yourself in the sights of the newly engaged. The most important thing though is to make sure the fact that you’re a wedding venue is a prominent aspect of your offering. Don’t just presume that people will know it’s an option. You need to shout about it loudly and often, on blogs, social media and via the press. By housing your wedding brochure and a wedding video conspicuously on your website, you’ll be leaving visitors in no doubt. Rival wedding venues in your vicinity will be doing what they can to attract engaged couples and you need to make sure you’re doing all you can too.