It’s been a stressful time for those planning a wedding! Many couples in the UK are already scrambling to reschedule their big days until after June 21st following the lockdown roadmap announcement.
NB: This is an article from Net Affinity
Traditionally, May to October is peak wedding season, however due to Covid circumstances, it looks like wedding season in 2021 will span from now until the end of the year.
According to Wedding Dates, some good news for Irish hotels is that they are up 5% as chosen wedding venues this year, after dropping slightly from 2018 to 2020, and weddings in Ireland have never been more popular.
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One thing to consider is how complex the last year or so has been for couples trying to plan their weddings. For those couples, and all the couples beyond, it’s important to try and simplify their experience, creating no extra hassle for them to deal with – your goal is to make things easy. Here are a few more tips on how to up your wedding game when it comes to your strategy, packages, and how you manage them.
How can you promote your hotel as a wedding venue?
Updating your website
- Continue to update your wedding venue pages with new, bright & relevant content
- Your visual representation is so important. Create a wedding gallery of previous weddings held at your hotel to enhance your profile as a wedding venue
- Make sure your copy is written to be inclusive of LGBTQ+ weddings and not focused only on the traditional bride & groom terms
- Same goes for your visuals – try and represent more than just the traditional couple
- Create a wedding testimonials page – reviews always play a key part in a customer’s decision on a product, and weddings are no different. Testimonials are a smart way of showcasing what your hotel has to offer in the words of someone else. Couples are likely to base their final booking decisions on recommendations. If possible, reach out to previous couples and ask for a review, and permission to use their picture too
- Double check all your hyperlinks, make sure they are active
- According to Wedding Dates, 70% of of engaged couples were new to virtual tours in 2020, and 41% of them said the tours were a great idea. It’s something you might want to consider looking into going forward – even though we might be exiting lockdown, people will continue to look for hassle-free, digital options across all aspects of life
Social media activity
As part of your organic social media strategy, consider the following content:
- Testimonials and reviews from previous couples
- Beautiful, eye-catching wedding-themed visuals that show off the space and grounds you have
- Food and drinks – what kind of cocktails can you offer? What kind of menus are you capable of creating? What are your champagne options? Who are your local food/drink suppliers?
- If you can use photography from previous weddings, take advantage of this
- Instagram – create a story highlights section for ‘Weddings’ and add to this regularly
- Facebook – upload wedding images to a wedding album
- Virtual tours of your venue’s space
When it comes to Instagram, don’t just use the story highlights section. Instagram has overtaken Pinterest as the number 1 source for wedding inspiration – think about how you can involve yourself in this inspiration process by using the right visuals and hashtags.
Taking the smaller wedding into account
- While we are exiting lockdown and wedding guest numbers will increase, they won’t skyrocket overnight. Continue offering and promoting smaller wedding packages
Sourcing the right booking engine that will enhance the performance of your wedding packages
In case you weren’t convinced as to the benefits of promoting your hotel as a wedding venue, consider this:
- 30% of all hotel bookings made via our booking engine between January and May 2021 were wedding bookings*
- Wedding rate plans generated 20% of total room nights booked in this period*
- Wedding rate plans generated 10% of total revenue in this period*
(*Source: NA clients who use wedding rate plans actively)
As part of our booking engine, you can set up the packages module in relation to weddings to be automated, which will save you a lot of time.
The module allows you to create a code to give to your customer which will bring them to a page dedicated entirely to their wedding with their images, description and dates, meaning you don’t need to create a separate rate plan for every wedding.
This benefits your wedding party because:
- The rates are personalised to their requirements
- Their wedding guests can book whenever they want
This benefits your hotel because:
- It stops wedding guests making their booking through any 3rd party sites
- It’s less administration work for your reservations team (which means the team will have more time to please guests!)
- It allows you to control your wedding bookings separately from other general bookings
- It helps to close out specific dates within your booking engine
- It means your rates can be controlled within the booking engine
- It helps to track your bookings and the reports that will be generated