55 Billion Reasons Hotel Marketers Aren’t Spending Enough To Sell Weddings

The wedding industry is booming. There were more than 2.2 million weddings in the U.S. last year, each averaging $25K. That’s a staggering $55 billion spent on what brides and grooms consider a spare-no-expense celebration. Yet hotel marketers continue to balk at the idea of dedicating additional resources and marketing dollars to the weddings segment.

Before you finalize your annual budget, consider these stats from our friends at Wedding Wire:

  • On average, brides and grooms spent $230 per guest.
  • The average spend on a wedding venue was $9,000.
  • The average spend on wedding catering was $6,700.
  • The average spend on a rehearsal dinner was between $1,800-2,200.
  • The combined average spend on post-wedding brunch and after-party was $2,828.

And these figures only scratch the surface. Brides magazine reports that roughly half of couples surveyed spent more than they initially planned.

Bottom Line: Hotel marketers who aren’t directing money into marketing weddings are missing out on their slice of the $55 billion pie.

Here are four things you need to know:

1. Modern couples spend more

Modern couples care about creating a great guest experience and investing in things that add a highly personal touch. In fact, 28% of couples report that they increased their budget because they “discovered things they needed to have during the planning process.”

Seize on this to

  • Upsell everything from signature wedding cocktails to interactive food stations.
  • Improve their guests’ stay through room upgrades and thoughtful in-room amenities.
  • Incorporate meaningful cultural references.
  • Deliver an end-to-end experience.

2. Weddings are predictable

Nearly 80% of couples get married between May and October, with seven out of ten weddings taking place on a Saturday — but weddings (and wedding planning) happen year-round.

Seize on this to

  • Help fill gaps in occupancy. According to Cvent, overall group business is on the decline. Shore up your occupancy by tapping into a group segment that’s locking in room blocks 13-18 months out.
  • Fill your hotel on weekends, if your hotel skews toward weekday business travel.
  • Deliver much-needed revenue during off-peak periods. Price-sensitive couples may be swayed by a competitive rate during your off-season.

3. Inclusivity and cultural diversity create greater opportunities

Younger generations are shifting their interpretation of marriage and, by extension, the way they celebrate their weddings.

Seize on this to

  • Make it easy for couples to incorporate their partner’s ethnic or cultural traditions into the ceremony. Worth noting: The average cost of an Indian wedding in the U.S. is $65K, more than double the national average.
  • Create a more diverse vendor list that addresses the needs of LGBTQ couples. Worth noting: Since 2013, the average size of the guest list at same-sex weddings has nearly doubled, creating a higher overall spend.
  • Review and update your marketing materials to use more inclusive language and highlight culturally diverse celebrations.

4. Weddings inspire return stays

Turn the happy couple into lifelong customers. After all, their wedding day is one of the most cherished days of their lives, and they’ll forever associate your hotel with their happiest memories.

Seize on this to

  • Invite them back with a special offer to celebrate their first anniversary.
  • Get to know their friends. If the wedding events are adults-only but the guest list includes young families, show them why they should return for a family or multi-generational vacation.
  • Don’t overlook the chance to get in front of new audiences. Make sure the wedding guests see your hotel as a perfect setting not only for weddings, but also for business meetings, incentive programs, and other group functions.

About Tambourine

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 34th year, is located in New York City, Carlsbad and Fort Lauderdale. Please visit: www.Tambourine.com.