The what’s, when’s and why’s of engagement season in the wedding industry…
So it’s December, Christmas festivities are getting under way, the New Year is nearly upon us and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s busy, slightly overwhelming and for many it’s time to pull on the glad rags and pop open a bottle of champagne – it’s party season after all! But for those of us in the wedding industry it’s a slightly different story, it’s no time to be letting our hair down but rather time to hunker down and gear up for engagement season.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again where love is well and truly in the air.
For those unsure or perhaps new to the wedding venue industry, engagement season is generally the period surrounding late November to February in which couples are statistically more likely to get engaged. This is mainly due to the number of holidays in these upcoming months where the intoxicating good spirit places friends and families closer to us, generally making it so there’s no better time to pop the question. It is often suggested within the industry that Engagement Season can make up 50% of your year’s bookings, so it’s definitely time to capitalise on this time of year. With that in mind, there are a few things you as a Welsh wedding venue can do, to prepare for the busy season ahead and maximise bookings.
Improve your Search Engine Optimisation
It’s no secret, or at least it shouldn’t be, that we are living in a technology fuelled society. Many modern day businesses thrive on their online presence and wedding venues are no different. Improving your SEO is a sure start way of targeting those new tech-savvy couples in search of the perfect venue. Although the search engine ladder is a tricky one to climb, there are ways in which you can help yourself, starting with creating a ‘Google My Business’ account. This one simple step into the tech world has the ability to catapult your once unknown venue to the top of Google search pages and it’s free! It’s true that as with everything, your SEO won’t improve overnight but establishing yourself as a business on Google’s pages is a fantastic means to make some headway.
In doing so, you will be actively linking your Google Business page to Google Maps, making it easier for potential clients to search for wedding venues in their desired area. Having done so it’s important you consider the page in the same light as you would your website or any further social media platforms, keeping it fresh and updated. Many businesses create a Google Business account and leave it unattended, meaning prospective clients are forced to actively research you rather than be supplied with adequate information at their fingertips. Combat this through making your website a visible link on your business page, have regularly updated reviews from past clientele and consistent revision of your uploaded photos. For many, the photos you associate with your Google Business account will be the first look at your venue so it’s important that they are representative of you and your brand. To achieve a selection of fantastic, distinctive photographs for your portfolio, read on for my next tip.
To Style or Not to Style?
Photoshoots can be tricky and getting the right shot can be even harder, which is why setting aside some time for a professionally shot, styled photoshoot can make all the difference. In a re-occurring theme, wedding venues often find themselves as the backdrop for someone else’s day and this is how they are often showcased and advertised. As vital as it that your venue has enabled the happy couple’s day, it’s important to remember that their wedding is not your product, your venue is. In keeping your venue at the forefront of your shoots, you will be allowing yourself a fabulous portfolio of cutting-edge images to use across your advertising, social media and your website.
To achieve this, consider employing an expert stylist on the day of the shoot, ensuring that your vision is effectively communicated throughout. Think proactively about how you want to portray your venue, don’t just churn out the same tired styles but instead think about how you can embrace your venue’s identity and relate this to the wedding trends in Wales. What is your USP, the one thing you offer that nobody else can? Are you sustainably run? Do you have a long list of local, reputable suppliers? Perhaps you even have a fantastic feature wall that would look incredible on guests’ Instagram pages. Whatever it is, emphasise it and make sure to convey it in your imagery. In a modern society that is dominated by social media, millennial couples are looking for that stylistic edge that live up to their Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds. So, for most on their venue hunt, imagery and aesthetic is of utmost importance and will be a defining factor in choosing you as their host for their special day.
For more about creating the ultimate styled shoot, have a read of my blog post Simply Stunning Styled Shoots.
Perfecting your Showround
With some luck, those two tips should aid greatly in getting yourselves the showround, it’s your responsibility from here to put your potential clients at ease while helping to demonstrate how you (and only you) can bring their vision to life. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of conducting a seamless showround. Don’t make the mistake of falling short at the last hurdle by mindlessly walking your clients from room to room. Plan a clear logical route, guiding your guests through the venue as they would use it on the day of the wedding.
Engage with your couple all the while, asking questions about them and their relationship, encouraging questions in return. Don’t shy away from difficult questions either, particularly those surrounding other venues they might be considering. It’s important to understand who your competition are to effectively demonstrate how your strengths are stronger while tackling concerns in a professional manner, avoiding criticism or bragging. Above all, the couple has decided to visit your venue because they are truly interested in it so be sure to clue up on interesting historical factors, ways in which you can utilise your land and even make some early suggestions on local suppliers that will really give you that individual edge.
Engagement Season is always a busy time for those of us in the wedding industry so it’s always worthwhile spending a little extra on your preparation and attention to detail to really make your venue shine. As we head into the new year, there’s an undeniable buzz that is likely to capture the hearts of many romantics which can only mean good things for you and your wedding venue.
Zoë Binning Ltd is Wales’ most recognised wedding venue business consultant, helping Welsh wedding venues increase conversions, drive profits and secure positive feedback.
Zoë is an advocate for developing sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical wedding practices within the industry and can provide advice and support to help your venue to become more sustainable and eco-friendly in its endeavours.
Discover more about Zoë’s wedding venue consultancy services here and book a consultation directly with Zoë here.
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