Ask Good Questions
Wedding Venue Showround & Viewing Advice
Wedding Venue Showround & Viewing Advice
I’m rather a big fan of face-to-face and there’s nothing like winning the opportunity to show couples your wedding venue possibilities via a show round or site visit. There is no greater chance than to leave them in no doubt you are the PERFECT venue for them. I’ve written, Conducting a brilliant venue show round, for some key tips on conducting a really successful show round and I’m continuing that theme by delving deeper into the process of asking good questions during such a site visit.
I can’t stress how important I think it is for your teams to have the knowledge, passion and confidence to be able to put people at ease, to naturally engage them and ask good questions. It’s the key to understanding what they’re looking for so that you can look at suggesting ways you can help them. You’re otherwise stabbing around in the dark and, whilst your venue’s facilities are to some extent fixed, the possibilities of how they can be ‘dressed’ and brought to life are limitless – the quicker you tap into your potential clients needs the better!
So what questions are great to ask at a show round and what do they tell you?
How did the engagement happen? This will tell you lots, there might be a humorous or amusing story here and people generally love telling their engagement tale. It might tell you about their hobbies and interests, places of interest and more. This will also tell you how long they have been engaged, if they have rushed out to look at venues straight away or if they are the laid-back types who’ve been engaged for months and done nothing.
How have you been celebrating your engagement? This might elicit some information on the sort of places they like to go, names of hotels, restaurants, holidays etc which is all useful in you understanding how they like to spend their time, what is important to them, what they prioritise in life and more. It might also involve a casual explanation of family set up which can be very useful to understand.
Are your families going to be involved in the wedding plans? It’s handy to understand this, you’ll get an idea of who will be coming to meetings, when they will be needed, who’s making the decisions etc. It can be useful to ask where key family members are located; if you’re dealing with a lots of couples whose families are distant geographically this will shape when they need to have meetings, visits and an eventual menu tasting – the better you understand them the more you can pre-empt their needs which is a great customer experience to offer.
What kind of feel or vibe are you looking at for the wedding? Some couples might not respond knowingly to this one, others will go all out explaining to you their vision for the day – there’s no right or wrong, but those who are looking for certain styles and designs will be easy to help – this gives you a chance to show them then and there how you can interpret that idea or what you’ve done in the past (with your trusty iPad of photos of past events to hand) it shouldn’t take you long to pull up some past relevant images showing your spaces dressed broadly as they might describe. And don’t be afraid to show things even if you aren’t sure it’s quite what they are looking for – better to have ideas and show excitement and passion than not at all.
Are there any images of the sort of thing you’re aiming for that you have to hand? Do you have a Pinterest board? Celebrity wedding style? Anything from our website you particularly like? This is an extension of the question above – it helps you build a picture beyond your venue spaces of what they might like. Whilst you may not be co-ordinating and designing this directly, by understanding the style and ideas a couple has, you will be in a much better position to refer them to the right suppliers and wedding professional partners from your recommended list – mentioning options at this early stage is really key – couples are often overwhelmed with how they will make it happen – reassuring them that you have X, Y and Z on your list who can handle just that, is hugely beneficial.
What budget have you allocated to the wedding? A lot of venues don’t ask this and I understand why it might seem inappropriate or irrelevant, but (especially if you’re looking to co-ordinate even slightly) being able to understand the scope and scale of what they’re looking for is key. Not least because again you can refer to the most relevant suppliers on your list and you can start to talk about options within what you offer that are the most appropriate – your lighting package? Your cocktail menu? Your festoon dressing option? A useful rule of thumb is that 50% of the wedding budget overall goes on venue hire, food and drink together, the other 50% on everything else.
Where else have you been visiting? Again, a question that some shy away from. Don’t! It’s hugely useful to know who your competition or perceived competition is. I would not recommend pointing out negatives about other wedding venues, but if you know your competition, you can point out your strengths more proactively when you know what other venues are shortlisted and where you match up against them.
There are many more questions of course and I really believe the best show rounds are conducted naturally and in a friendly conversational style; there will be some couples who are reluctant to share and fiercely private and you, of course, need to respect that. But if you have set them at ease, made them welcome (don’t forget to give them a drink on arrival by the way), then you’re well on your way to winning their business.
Image credits: Tree Trunk Etching Blue and Coral Backyard Wedding from Wedding Chicks // Marry Me sign above sofa from Intimate Weddings // Wedding set-up: Principal Hotel Company // Wedding set-up: jj Media // Kate Nielen Photography // Chiswick House & Gardens // Florals: All For Love // Catering: Ampersand // Paper goods: Intricate Creations // Tableware: Couvert // Furniture: Academy Furniture
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