As many of us in the wedding venue industry know, wedding viewings or showrounds have always played a crucial role in acquiring the all-important bookings that wedding venues need to succeed as a business. Let’s talk statistics for a second – couples generally contact five venues and then go on to visit on average two, maybe three. Therefore if they visit your venue, there’s a good chance yours is in their top two. If you’re not converting at least 50% of the showrounds that you’re doing, then there’s something going wrong.
I fully appreciate though, that conducting a killer showround that guarantees those conversions, is not always an easy task. Over the past few months, we have seen a drastic change in the way showrounds have been delivered and continue to be conducted. With a little help from technology, the wedding venue industry has been able to succeed in a time that many others may not have. Because of this, I have decided to dedicate a blogpost to explain some of my top tips for mastering both a successful Virtual Showround and Face-to-face Showround, proving that no matter what circumstance the Welsh wedding venue industry finds itself in, the ability to succeed is always possible.
The Virtual Showround: A Modern Approach
The Virtual Showround has become not only an essential tool in the wedding venue industry over these past few months but a newly acquainted favourite of mine and many others when conducting showrounds. An idea that may have seemed somewhat ludicrous this time last year has truly established itself as a game-changer in the world of wedding venue bookings. Even at our most distant, the Virtual Showround, when done right, has proved its ability to capture the essence of a fabulous venue without ever having to step foot inside. Technology, hey?! So, even though doors are beginning to open once more, I truly believe that the permanence of the Virtual Showround within the wedding community is undeniable. I, for one, know of countless Welsh wedding venues that have thrived with the aid of Virtual Showrounds, so why let it end there? So, here are some of my top tips for running a seamless, point-perfect Virtual Showround – awkward connection glitches and all!
Top Tip No. 1 – Invest in your process
Now, I understand that some of you reading this might be feeling a little taken aback by the continuation of a technology led showround beyond our socially distanced society. Perhaps you’re not as comfortable in this environment as you feel you ought to be and your conversion rate is dipping because of this? Or, maybe you haven’t been able to invest the time into utilising the Virtual Showround as more than just a quick compromise in a time of change? Whatever the reason may be, any showround, be it virtual or in-person has to be done to the highest standard imaginable to ensure your conversion rate is reputable and worthwhile. This is why, investing some time, energy and creativity into your Virtual Showround will prove absolutely invaluable for the foreseeable future. Thinking beyond our current climate, the economical, sustainable and time-saving benefits of continuing your showrounds virtually could even lead to acquiring new prospective clients with the fast paced, eco-conscious lives of millennials driving many bookings.
Top Tip No. 2 – Give us some personality!
To succeed in delivering an engaging showround that matches the quality of a Face-to-face Showround it is vital that you share some personality with your clients. When delivering any form of presentation virtually you will always face the additional difficulties of adequately conveying tone and emotion through a computer screen, especially with any added bonuses of connectivity issues! To combat this, and a trick many successful YouTubers and influencers use, try amplifying your personality slightly so as to guarantee that your conviction and delivery translates. This isn’t to say that you need to change your personality or alter your level of professionalism in any way, it is simply to be yourself on your absolute best work day!
The Traditional Showround: Face-to-face
Now that you’ve got your Virtual Showround perfected, it’s probably time you polished up on your classic, Face-to-face Showround. For most in the wedding venue industry, it’s been a long time since an in-person showround has been possible and for that reason alone it’s definitely worth getting to grips with the basics again. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with this, it’s all about fine-tuning your delivery to ensure no couple walks away without wanting to book your venue. So, how do you do that? For the majority, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Even if you’ve been in the wedding venue industry for as many years, showrounds can still be a daunting final hurdle that many find themselves falling short on. Having both delivered and witnessed my fair share of showrounds, these are some of the best ways I believe to guarantee a seamless Face-to-face Showround that ultimately lands you that booking.
Top Tip No. 1 – Plan your route perfectly
This might seem like a given but you’d be surprised at how many venues give little to no thought on the layout of the showround. Often couples get aimlessly led from one room to the next with no real structure or logical thinking behind the route taken. It’s important you place yourself in the shoes of your couple and envision your venue from their perspective. If your couple begins their showround feeling underwhelmed or confused, it’s difficult to recover and highlight your venue for its true worth, however charming it may be. Ideally, if the structure of your venue allows for it, guide your couple through your venue as they would use it on their big day. Doing so will allow them the opportunity to clearly picture themselves and their guests celebrating in each room. However, if this doesn’t seem sensible when applied to your unique venue, be sure to inject bursts of life into each room! This could be done by encouraging your couples to visualise a particular photo opportunity or perhaps through the use of visual aids from an iPad or tablet, enabling your couple to see the room at its most lively and vibrant.
Top Tip No. 2 – Engage, engage, engage!
That’s right, engagement isn’t just for the happy couple – it is an absolute necessity for the success of your showround! When I speak about injecting some life into each room, this is where much of that energy will come from. If you aren’t actively listening and discussing ideas with your couple, you’re going to find it incredibly difficult to establish that certain level of trust many couples are looking for when booking a venue. What’s more, if you don’t appear genuinely invested in the desires and personality of your clientele, they won’t be left feeling confident you will be all that invested on the day of their wedding either. So, make sure you’re asking questions, addressing any uncertainties and conveying why your venue is the one for them.
Top Tip No. 3 – Share a little, Give a lot
With those tips noted, it’s now important to fine-tune these techniques through striking the perfect blend of precision and engagement. Sadly, this is where so many showrounds falter – in the inability to find the suitable balance between professionalism and friendliness or delivery and over-sharing. So, how do you know where you stand? Picture this; you’ve got your showround route absolutely nailed. It’s perfect! You know each room, each photo opportunity, each piece of intriguing history so well you could recite it word for word, backwards. So, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, quite a lot.
I will never forget a coordinator showing a gay couple ‘the bridal suite’!!! She didn’t even realise that she had just completely alienated a couple where there was clearly no bride involved! Unsurprisingly, she lost that booking in one fell swoop!
And don’t forget, that when you find yourself overly reliant on the venue speaking for itself, you risk losing that all important sense of personality that couples, particularly your target-market of millennial couples, crave.
Or, maybe this image is difficult for you to relate to, that there’s no risk of you darting from one room to the next, and this is great – but only to a certain extent. If you’ve caught yourself thinking of the times you’ve spent endlessly discussing intricate details and humorous stories relating to each room, then perhaps you’ve missed the mark too. As fantastic as it is that you love your venue, you risk overcompensating when you cross the boundary from professional into personal.
Fortunately, these issues are easily solved once you are aware of them. Be mindful of the information you share, treat each couple individually and you’re well on your way to delivering an incredible, killer showround!