When it comes to weddings, we’re in an age of unabashed, customized-to-the-last-detail one-upmanship. From offbeat event spaces (think barns, breweries, aquariums, and even Airbnbs) to quirky cocktail hours and artisan culinary options, it can be tricky for hotels to stand out as the ideal spot to say “I do.”
But instead of feeling like you can’t compete, it’s important to flaunt what you have that other venues can’t offer.
Remember, while brides can seek out incredible, unconventional experiences at every price point, they’ll pay a heavy price in terms of wedding day stress. It’s no wonder why about half of couples still choose a conventional space, such as a hotel, as their wedding day venue.
So how, exactly, can you make your hotel a desirable and sought-after wedding venue in today’s market?
1. Keep the party moving.
Brides love to give a special time and place to each moment of their day so consider ways you can cater to this sense of a fluid, all-inclusive experience. Your hotel may not have a chapel or a beachfront gazebo onsite, but you can still maximize the experience by moving the wedding through several different areas of the property.
Help them plan their ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception in three unique spaces on property.
First, take stock of your available venues and consider how they can be transformed. A wine cellar might make a delightful setting for a cocktail hour, while a penthouse suite with a skyline view could make a breathtaking backdrop for a small wedding ceremony.
Maximizing your offerings may require some out-of-the-box thinking but the effort will be well worth it.
2. Turn a wedding into a whole weekend.
If there’s one advantage hotels have over other venues, it’s the built-in ease of doing everything – and housing everyone – in one place. It starts with a rehearsal dinner in your restaurant or a private dining room and ends with the now obligatory farewell brunch.
In between, the bride can enjoy her final solo slumber in one of your suites, primp with her wedding party in your salon, and capture the day with a photoshoot in your gardens. Then comes the whirlwind: the ceremony, cocktail reception, followed by dinner and dancing, and the after-party.
Just like that, one occasion becomes a memorable weekend getaway for everyone involved.
Attracting this kind of multi-day event ensures maximum revenue. In fact, couples spend about 45% of their entire wedding budget on the reception venue alone.
3. Make it easy.
The convenience of a one-stop-shop isn’t enough these days. To seal the deal, it may boil down to how easy and effortless you can make the experience. This is where a dedicated wedding planner (or simply a caring and well-connected point person from your sales team) really sets you apart.
Armed with the full picture and a complete understanding of the couple’s wedding day wishes, this person will coordinate all the details between the couple, the hotel, and any outside vendors. The point person should embrace the role and be easy to reach, so the bride can stay in regular contact and/or loop in her own wedding planner for a seamless experience.
Of course, hotels can’t provide an army of specialists, so your designated point person should be able to make recommendations for photographers, florists, and more. So keep a fat Rolodex to impress those brides.
Local partnerships can be mutually beneficial through negotiated rates and referrals that go both ways. (Hint: Keep in mind that couples hire 14 vendors on average for their wedding day. Your hotel’s wedding coordinator will make that feel manageable.)
4. Make it intimate and personal.
When the dearly beloved are gathered together, memories are bound to be made. As the host venue, you’re able to give everyone three important provisions: a bar, a bed, and breakfast.
Everything you offer over the course of the wedding weekend can be personalized for the event. And if there’s one thing the modern bride loves, it’s customization.
From craft cocktails to personalized room layouts, hotels should be able to adapt in ways that a barn or brewery can’t.
Transform large spaces to be more intimate, welcome each and every guest, give the group room to mingle, and make it effortless, intimate and personal.
5. Tie it all together in an easy, digestible package.
Packages help the bride imagine all of the different scenarios we’ve described – and more. If you’re waiting for her to come to you with a dream itinerary, you’re missing an opportunity. Brides may be afraid to ask about your pricing. That’s another missed opportunity. When you’re prepared to present the options, everyone wins.
Create tiered and customizable packages: standard, premium, upgrades, and add-ons. Make it easy to mix and match offerings at various price points.
By providing basic package and pricing information upfront, brides can relax and move into customizing their day. They may be surprised to learn that they can accomplish their objective – a unique, offbeat, or unconventional celebration – with a lot more certainty and far less stress.
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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.