Ask The Experts – PT. 2: Pricing Transparency

Ask the WedPro experts - wedding pricing transparency

Wedding Professionals in Ireland and the UK are Seeking Expert Advice on Wedding Pricing and Pricing Transparency. Carys Duckworth, our Sales Manager and Wedding Venue Expert gives insights.

 

In part one of this series, we tapped into the expertise of Alix Matania-Allerton, Sales Manager and former wedding planner. We explored best practices for elevating the enquiry experience. Alix’s unique perspective, gained from years of planning weddings at various venues, provided valuable guidance for venues seeking to enhance their approach to enquiries.

In this second part of our “Ask the Expert” series, we explore the intricacies of wedding pricing with Carys Duckworth, a seasoned Wedding Industry Expert. Carys brings a wealth of experience and knowledge on the best pricing strategy and why transparency must be part of the policy.  Here, Carys shares insights and practical tips to navigate pricing transparency and ensure your wedding venue stands out in a competitive market.

Expert Advice: Navigating Pricing and Packages in the Wedding Industry

What’s the most important decision factor – location or price?

When choosing a wedding venue, location and price are two of the most critical factors for couples. As a former venue finder, I know that these two considerations often top the list when couples start searching. As well as location and budget, a factor like capacity plays a significant role in the initial shortlisting process.

In the UK and Ireland, our data shows that location and value are key priorities for couples in both countries. Interestingly, in the UK, location and value are equally the most important factors, with 79% of couples emphasising their significance. In Ireland, while value is slightly higher at 78%, location remains close at 76%.

The current economic climate has impacted couples’ budgets, and it’s important to recognise that. Under these circumstances, while price remains a top decision factor, couples increasingly prioritise value. To attract couples, therefore, venues must highlight and effectively market the value associated with their pricing.

For a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and insights into the wedding industry, download your free copy of the 2024 Wedding Industry Report. You will gain valuable insights to help you make better-informed decisions for your venue’s success.

Increase your wedding business with transparent wedding pricing

Should we put our wedding packages and pricing on our website?

Placing prices on your website can enhance transparency and attract potential clients with specific budget ranges. However, keep in mind the balance between providing transparency and maintaining flexibility in negotiations and package customisation. Understanding the preferences of your target market and assessing the competitive landscape in your area are crucial factors to consider when making this decision.

Ensure that your website addresses the key information that couples are looking for quickly. Clarity regarding location, price point, and capacity can help filter better-qualified leads and streamline the enquiry process. With clear pricing information, your venue may be able to convert more enquiries into bookings. For instance, recently I encountered a venue that received high volumes of direct enquiries but needed help as they had low conversion rates. Upon investigation, it became evident that potential clients were put off when they discovered that the venue price was outside their budget. By providing, pricing upfront, venues can ensure a smoother experience for the enquirer, and avoid wasting everyone’s valuable time.

“When a couple finds out your venue is completely out of their budget, they might be too embarrassed to come back to you to tell you that they can’t afford that and nobody wants to feel embarrassed when they’re looking for their perfect venue,” says Carys.

What about changes to pricing, such as special offers or promotions? 

It’s common to see promotions and special deals when trying to shift unused inventory. If possible, add value to deals rather than reducing your price. 

There are good reasons not to reduce the price.  Firstly, you likely have couples already booked for that period who will not be in a position to avail of the discount. Secondly, it devalues your product and people’s perception of it. Instead, try to add value to already existing packages or prices.

Offer value-added services instead of relying solely on reductions.  This approach reinforces the value of your venue and avoids the impression that you’re constantly cutting prices. By knowing the cost prices of additional services, you can provide valuable add-ons at minimal expense to you, yet they can greatly enhance the experience for the couples.

For example, things like adding a complimentary dressing room, or early check-in options, or complimentary arrival drinks can be highly appealing to couples. These add-ons may have minimal cost to you but can significantly enhance the overall value of the package to your couple.

“If you’re constantly discounting because somebody else is selling at a cheaper rate you’re showing that that’s all you’re worth, you’re showing that you’re worth these constant discounts. You need to acknowledge and stand by your value!”

If, you absolutely must have a reduced-price offer, then, clear communication with your already-booked couples is key. Again, add value to their package rather than reducing the price. 

Ultimately, prioritising value-added services over price reductions allows you to maintain the integrity of your venue’s value proposition while providing an exceptional experience for your couples.

How do we avoid misleading packages or hidden costs?

To avoid packages being perceived as misleading, clearly outline what is included in each package and provide detailed breakdowns of costs to ensure couples understand what they are paying for. Avoid using vague language or ambiguous terms that could lead to confusion. Be open to answering any questions or concerns about pricing to build trust and confidence with your couples.

Be upfront with a conversation about any “hidden fees” or rather additional costs not included in the original package or price. Disclose all potential additional charges upfront and provide explanations for where and why they may occur. Consider offering package options that include all-inclusive pricing to minimise the risk of hidden fees. You can make the booking process more straightforward for couples when they can compare “like for like”. 

Wedding Prices Hidden Fees

How accessible should our wedding pricing be?

Make pricing information easily accessible on your website and brochure, ideally on a dedicated page or within each package description. Use clear and concise language to outline pricing details, and provide contact information for enquiries or further clarification. Update the pricing regularly to reflect any changes or promotions accurately.

“I think the mindset we need to be getting into is everybody’s time-poor these days, and the only way that you’re venue is going to get shortlisted properly and qualified is by having your price on your website – in a transparent and easy-to-understand way.”

The best way to communicate prices to win enquiries is by highlighting the value and benefits of your offerings rather than just the cost. Emphasise the unique features of your venue and the exceptional services you provide. Tailor your communication to address couples’ specific needs and preferences, demonstrating how your venue can fulfil their vision for their special day. 

Advice on devising more attractive packages for couples, emphasising value:

When creating packages for couples, prioritise showcasing the value they will receive rather than solely focusing on cost. Bundle services and amenities together, and offer comprehensive packages that provide convenience and savings. Allow these packages to cater to different budgets and preferences, and regularly review and update them to remain competitive.

WIN MORE ENQUIRIES WITH TRANSPARENT PRICING 

I recommend establishing a base price, similar to the analogy of a Margherita pizza. This base price represents the essential offerings that meet couples’ needs but may not necessarily fulfil all their desires. It serves as a non-negotiable starting point for your packages.

Next, consider crafting attractive packages that showcase everything your ideal client desires. Highlight these offerings in your marketing materials to attract the right clientele – remember, you attract what you show! By focusing on the value and unique features of the packages, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors and appeal to couples seeking an exceptional wedding experience.

“When it comes to upselling, flexibility helps. Understanding the cost price of each item allows for informed decision-making. Rather than simply removing an unwanted item from a package, consider offering alternatives. Building flexibility into your packages ensures that you can accommodate varying preferences and needs while maintaining profitability,” says Carys.

When establishing your base price, leave room for additional items in the form of a wish list. Gather pricing for extras from local suppliers for ‘nice-to-have’ elements, which can be included in your upsells. Your role is to serve as an expert for couples, guiding them in the right direction while listening to their needs. For more insights into upselling opportunities read our article here. 

2024 Wedding Industry Pricing Transparency UK Wedding Budgets

WIN MORE ENQUIRIES WITH TRANSPARENT PRICING 

Transparent pricing is not just about numbers; it’s about fostering clear communication and building trust with couples. By being upfront about fees and costs, venues demonstrate their commitment to honesty and integrity, laying a solid foundation for a trusting relationship. This transparency enhances the overall experience for couples and also increases the likelihood of converting enquiries into bookings. Ultimately, prioritising transparency in pricing leads to a stronger reputation, increased customer satisfaction, and greater success in winning more business.

We hope our expert advice has provided valuable guidance for your venue’s success. In case you missed it, Carys presented a webinar specifically on this topic – you can watch the replay here. 

Ready to revolutionise your sales pipeline management and elevate your venue’s performance? Book a demo with our team today to discover how WedPro can streamline your processes, enhance efficiency, and drive growth for your business. Let us help you unlock the full potential of your venue with WedPro by WeddingDates.

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