In thIS ARTICLE OF “A Practical Guide to Wedding Fairs and Open Days“, Michelle Greene outlined some considerations and recommendations for hosting a Wedding Fair at your venue.
Some things covered were:
- Understanding Your Why for hosting a Wedding Fair
- Determining your goals & objectives for the event
- Pro & Cons of hosting a Weekend vs Weekday Event
This article entails the details of how to promote your event and ensure it becomes a success.
“Getting couples through the door is more than half the battle”
In our research conducted over the past few years here at WeddingDates, when we asked Venues about conversion rates, many of them said “Getting couples through the door is more than half the battle” or words to that effect. The point being, that once they were on property it was easier to sell.
If we were to ask wedding couples whether they visited a wedding venue before they made their final choice, what percentage do you think would say Yes? I’m betting most if not all of them. Seeing is believing after all. And we want them to imagine themselves having their wedding reception at our venue.
If you followed my last article you already know your goals for your event. Any promotion you do will be tailored specifically to these goals however, I want to run through some options that you could consider to get those couples to visit you on event day.
With any luck, your Wedding Fair is now an annual event, and it’s planned for and included in your Sales & Marketing Budget. It’s great news if you have some money for paid advertising, however you will want to ensure you get the best return.
If you had an event last year, and were savvy enough to have debriefed afterwards, then grab your notes and start there. When I was on property, I tracked all my expenditures from an event and then I was better able to pinpoint & manage budgets and costs. This made convincing the GM to sign those POs just that little bit easier.
I would encourage you to do a complete debrief after each event and have your notes carry forward as a starting point for next year’s events. This way if you truly analyse your results you will be able to better plan your event next time around and knowing where to spend will give you even better ROI.
Sticks and Carrots
You want to drive couples to attend your Open Day, by creating a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out).
Using even a little budget can go a long way to capturing attention, if you know the right place to advertise. Here’s some ideas of where to spend your money promoting your event, that may just nudge the couple along:
- Local press, Community Newsletters
- National press
- Wedding magazines
- Public Wedding Trade Show Brochures or Magazines
- Printing: leaflets, posters, brochures
- Distribution of leaflets: door to door, press or post inserts
- Outdoor advertising: Billboards, Community notices
- In house advertising: leaflets, posters, signage, sandwich boards
- Facebook, Instagram or Google ads campaigns
- Geo targeted Pop up Ads with WeddingDates
- Paid partnerships with suppliers and or influencers
- Content – write articles about real couples who married at your venue for the WeddingDatesBlog.
You also want to give them many reasons to attend. They might be slightly interested in your venue so it would be great to give them more reasons to visit. Here are some of my ideas on how to get people through the door without spending money.
- A great value B&B overnight stay package for Couples attending your event.
- A “Win an Overnight Stay” by attending the Fair.
- A discount on packages if you book at the Fair and pay your deposit with a certain timeframe.
- Seeing the Venue fully dressed and ready to go (very powerful for couples)
- Invite your couples that are provisionally booked, and incentivise them to book and pay a deposit on the day.
- Attend a Wedding Trade Show* and promote your event there. Incentivising people to attend. *(Some spend will be required but can be very effective)
- Free glass of prosecco and a goodie bag on the day.
These initiatives will depend on your available time, and it’s even better if you can rope some events and marketing colleagues into supporting you on this. It’s really important that your whole team understands the objectives for the event and by what results will be measured.
The idea is to elevate that sense of FOMO to encourage couples to attend. Ideally, they want to see your event everywhere. When coupled with paid advertising this organic activity can be really effective:
- Set up your event registration on a platform like eventbrite or ti.to (this allows you to keep track of registrations and email them reminders etc)
- Change your team’s signature on emails to promote the event
- Put your event on your website
- Set up an event on the venue’s Facebook page
- Promote the event on the Venue Newsletter
- Leaflets at Reception, Spa and Leisure Centre
- Social Media Promotion on Facebook, Twitter: of the event itself, and the incentives listed above.
- Add your event to your WeddingDates Listing
- Promotions on Instagram Grid and Stories.
- Content campaign: Real Wedding Stories, Infographics
- PR Campaign: send the event to community radio stations, seek out opportunities to guest on podcasts etc.
- Use Linkedin to ask your peers to share the event
- Tell your friends and family to share it in their WhatsApp groups
So, there you have it – my thoughts on promoting your wedding fair event. All of this will be bound by the constraints of time, resources and budget, but hopefully you have picked up a couple of things that you can use to help your event become a really big success. Let me know if I’ve forgotten anything and as ever, I’m happy to speak to you at any time about weddings and your venue.
Good luck with your wedding fair, I hope you really WOW your couples.