Back to Basics – it really is simple | Making Money Hosting Weddings
12 September 2016
I’m regularly asked by journalists, researchers, clients, friends and the generally wedding-curious, what is your favourite venue? Where do you love to work?
My answer is never what they expect. I am lucky to have inside access to some breathtaking and utterly unique locations, yet no matter how beautiful the venue looks, it’s the staff and the team that make it tick and who deliver the amazing experience. What makes the best venue is the service and how me and, most importantly, my clients are made to feel; it might sound cliché and obvious and it should be quite straight forward, but I see it all too often how customers are treated and it just doesn’t quite hit the spot. When I recommend venues to my clients, it’s the full experience I’m recommending. So what areas of service do you need to pay attention to as a successful and highly regarded wedding venue?
1. The right person in the right role – not everyone is cut out for the wedding market. In fact, not many are – weddings are all about detail, emotion (some of it irrational) and frankly wedding events are very time-consuming. A wedding coordinator should not be expected to handle half as many equivalent corporate events – fact. This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ and to that bride and those families, the role your venue plays on their special day is absolutely vital. The bricks and mortar can go so far, but it’s the enthusiasm, helpfulness, hard work and ‘make it happen’ attitude that make all the difference. Be sure that you hire team members who are genuinely passionate and well-read/informed about the modern wedding market – a savvy bride can spot a mile off if this is lacking and your venue will be overlooked.
2. Can do attitude – it sounds obvious but I am shocked by the amount of stock and standard answers I am sometimes given by venue staff. Packages are great and lots of couples want them but if you are in any way looking to enter the luxury market or want to increase your spend or revenue on bookings, then your staff need to be able to think creatively and listen to opportunities presented by couples ideas and how they can help make those happen. Yes, it’s more work and more admin (without a doubt) but it is generally more profitable, not to mention more inspiring (which will often be shown in the resulting images of the day). The trend for personalisation and making things bespoke is stronger than ever and it’s no wonder that couples are embracing locations which give them flexibility and carte blanche. If you want to keep your place in the wedding market, then every venue needs to listen to and be open to trends and individual ideas, whilst of course using professional judgement as to the suitability, or not, of those ideas.
3. Office based versus Ops team – service is delivered by all departments in an events function and the bigger the venue, the more likelihood of service slipping somewhere or with someone. One practice I never feel works is the handover in large hotels from Wedding Coordinator (who does the paperwork and planning in advance) to Ops Team (Conference & Banqueting) to run the wedding on the day. Yes, a good function sheet correctly completed tells a story and should be accurate but there is no substitute for the minute detail that is built up over the relationship in planning an event – that knowledge the coordinator has in her head more than in her file and it has a very marked effect on the success of an event when that is missing. Savvy venues work a system where their coordinator is present for at least part of the wedding day (during set up) and this is a vital component for delivering exceptional, intuitive, tailored service to that couple, so vital in the wedding world. It’s certainly something I look for when looking to repeat book for future clients.
In summary, I believe it’s all about the people, having the right team doing the right things. I’ve written about this from a different angle over on my wedding planning business blog here.
Are you keen to move your venue to the next level in hosting weddings? My one-day ‘Site Inspect & Call to Action’ service could be just the thing to help look closely at your venue and where you can improve and increase bookings? Or perhaps you’d like to join a group training day in London?
My next training day will take place on 30th September and, as before, is sure to be full of forward-thinking venues looking to up their game.
free guide: 5 WAYS TO MORE WEDDING BOOKINGS FOR YOUR VENUE
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