Ask The Experts – PT. 3: Enhancing your wedding enquiry process

Enhancing Wedding Enquiry Process At Your Wedding Venue with WedPro

Wedding Industry Experts in Ireland and the UK Seek Advice on Enhancing the Enquiry Process. Insights from Alix Matania-Allerton, Sales Manager and Former Wedding Planner

 

In the latest segment of our “Ask the Expert” series, we answer more pressing questions from wedding professionals in Ireland and the UK who are eager to refine and improve their enquiry processes. We turn to Alix Matania-Allerton, our Sales Manager and a former wedding planner, for her expert insights.

Alix draws from her extensive experience planning weddings at various venues, including hotels, country houses, and event catering services. With seven years at WeddingDates, she deeply understands the challenges and frustrations venues and wed pros face when interacting with couples daily. Her expertise and industry knowledge offer practical advice for venues looking to improve their enquiry handling.

In case you missed part one on elevating the enquiry experience with Alix, take a look at her expert advice here. In part two, we explore the intricacies of wedding pricing with Carys Duckworth, a seasoned Wedding Industry Expert.

Alix’s dual perspective as a wedding planner and sales manager provides venues with valuable strategies to enhance their enquiry experience. Her guidance is set to transform how you approach and manage enquiries, ensuring you stand out in the competitive wedding market.

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Discover the expert advice that will elevate your enquiry process and help you achieve success in the wedding industry:

How important is the enquiry stage for wedding couples? 

The enquiry stage is crucial for wedding couples as it sets the tone for their entire planning experience. This initial interaction is their first impression of your venue or service, and it can significantly influence their decision-making process. Here are several reasons why the enquiry stage is so important:

  • First impressions matter: The way you handle enquiries reflects your professionalism, responsiveness, and commitment to customer service. A positive first impression can build trust and confidence in your ability to deliver on their big day.
  • Establishing expectations: This stage allows couples to gauge what they can expect from you. Clear, prompt, and detailed responses help set realistic expectations and demonstrate that you are organised and attentive to their needs.
  • Building relationships: Personalising your responses and showing genuine interest in their vision and needs helps build rapport. This relationship can make couples feel valued and more inclined to choose your services over competitors.
  • Providing information: Couples often have numerous questions about services, pricing, availability, and custom options. Providing thorough and clear information at this stage can alleviate their concerns and help them make informed decisions.
  • Setting the stage for planning: A smooth and efficient enquiry process can ease the stress of wedding planning. Couples will appreciate a hassle-free experience, which can lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews.
  • Competitive edge: In a competitive industry, how you handle enquiries can set you apart from others. Prompt, helpful, and friendly responses can make a significant difference in winning over potential clients.

By providing exceptional service during this phase, you can create a strong foundation for a successful and memorable partnership with wedding couples. 

Alix Matania-Allerton Sales Advice for wedding venues

The enquiry stage also significantly influences your enquiry-to-showround conversion rate. According to our 2024 UK Wedding Report, 84% of UK couples enquire with 10 venues or fewer, and 68% visit only 1-3 venues before making a decision. A memorable response during the enquiry stage can increase the likelihood of securing a showround, as couples are more likely to visit venues that sell the dream, make them feel special and demonstrate exceptional customer service.

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.

How long do you typically leave it to follow up on an email? How many times would you contact them before deciding they may have ghosted?

It’s generally advised to follow up on an email within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the urgency of the enquiry. If there’s no response after the initial follow-up, you might send a couple more follow-up emails over a week or two. However, if there’s still no response after multiple attempts, it’s reasonable to assume they may have lost interest or moved on.

Research indicates that couples expect a response within 48 hours. For optimal chances of securing their business, a prompt response is crucial to avoid leaving them waiting. At WedPro, you can use our automated enquiry response feature, ensuring a swift reply to their initial enquiry.

We recently addressed the topic of ghosting in a blog post – take a look! If you’re unsure how long to pursue an enquiry before considering it lost, check out my recommendation here.

WedPro Best Practice For Responding To Wedding Enquiries

How would you recommend new venues make couples trust that they will deliver an excellent wedding?

New venues can build trust with couples by showcasing their staff’s expertise, attention to detail, and their commitment to customer satisfaction. Offer personalised tours of the venue, showcases or open days, providing ample opportunities for couples to ask questions and envision their wedding day. Share testimonials and reviews on your website and social media from past clients to demonstrate your venue’s track record of success. 

“Remember, you’re selling yourself and your experience, you’re not just selling the venue. People buy from people!”

Social media and blogging are fantastic ways to convey that experience and build trust – don’t be scared or hesitant to share your advice publicly. Additionally, consider offering incentives or special packages for early bookings to instil confidence in your venue’s ability to deliver an excellent wedding experience.

How can we entice more couples to enquire about our venue?

To encourage more couples to enquire about your wedding venue, you can implement various strategies to enhance your appeal and attract their interest. Firstly you should ensure that your online presence, including your website, directory listings and social media profiles, effectively showcases the unique features and offerings of your venue. Using a combination of methods like including high-quality photos, videos, virtual tours, and detailed descriptions can help capture couples’ attention and prompt them to enquire further. 

  • Streamlined enquiry form: Make your enquiry form easy to find and fill out. Ask for only essential information to avoid overwhelming potential clients. With WedPro we offer a range of customisable plugins for your website. Take a look!
  • Engaging website and social media: Ensure your website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and provides all the necessary information. Use social media platforms to showcase your venue and past weddings, engaging with followers through regular posts, stories, and interactive content.
  • High-quality visuals: You need to sell the dream! Invest in professional photography and videography to highlight your venue’s best features. Beautiful images and videos can make a strong impression and attract more enquiries.

Additionally, offering incentives such as special promotions, discounts, or complimentary add-ons for couples who enquire can help incentivise them to reach out. Providing clear pricing and packages on your website will also encourage your ideal couples to contact you for more information. 

Content Ideas For Wedding Venues

What steps can we take to deliver the best possible enquiry experience for couples?

Firstly, it’s important to make the enquiry process straightforward and accessible. Clearly outline how couples can reach out to your venue – whether it’s through an email, a lead capture form, or direct messages on platforms like Instagram. Simplifying this initial contact step can encourage more enquiries.

Next, strive to deliver prompt and personalised responses to every enquiry. Tailor your replies to address their specific needs and preferences, demonstrating attentiveness and professionalism. Providing detailed information about your venue, such as pricing, packages, and amenities, helps couples make informed decisions.

“Consistent communication is key throughout the enquiry process. Maintain clarity and responsiveness, promptly addressing any follow-up questions or concerns they may have. By prioritising the couple’s needs and offering exceptional service from the first enquiry to the final booking stage, you can create a positive and memorable experience that distinguishes your venue in a competitive market,” says Alix.

And lastly, make them feel special! When couples are wowed by your response and feel genuinely excited about the prospect of getting married at your venue, you significantly increase your chances of winning them over. Take the opportunity to establish a genuine connection and avoid making them feel like just another number. Show sincere enthusiasm for their wedding plans, ensuring they feel valued and appreciated right from the start. This personalised approach can leave a lasting impression and help you stand out in their decision-making process.

For more detailed insights and best practices on delivering an outstanding enquiry experience for couples, be sure to check out our latest blog post on the topic.

Alix Matania-Allerton Sales Advice Elevating the Enquiry Experience

How can we convert an enquiry to showround?

Converting an enquiry into a showround requires effective communication, responsiveness, and a compelling value proposition. Promptly respond to enquiries with personalised messages, addressing any questions or concerns the couple may have. Highlight the unique features and benefits of your venue, and offer to schedule a showround to give the couple a firsthand experience of what you have to offer. 

Find a way to let the couple see your face/hear your voice – you are more than just a name at the bottom of an email. Your experience and friendliness will come through and help couples see you in a more trustworthy way. Nurture them rather than “chase” them by sharing helpful planning tips and inspiration.

Make them feel as though they couldn’t plan their wedding without you and your knowledge. 

Here are my tips for getting couples through the door after they’ve enquired:
  • Prompt and personalised responses: Respond to enquiries quickly and tailor your responses to each couple’s specific needs and preferences. This shows that you value their interest and are attentive to their requirements. We recommend using an automated system like WedPro for immediate brochure delivery. 
  • Virtual tours and 3D walkthroughs: Offer virtual tours and 3D walkthroughs on your website or WeddingDates directory listing. This allows couples to explore your venue from the comfort of their home, increasing their interest and the likelihood of scheduling an in-person visit.
  • Special offers and open days: Promote special offers, discounts, or open days where couples can visit your venue without an appointment. These events can draw in potential clients who might not have considered your venue otherwise.
  • Testimonials and reviews: Showcase positive testimonials and reviews from previous couples. Social proof can build trust and encourage new enquiries.
  • Follow-up: Nurture, nurture, nurture! After receiving an enquiry, follow up with a phone call or personalised email to discuss their needs further and invite them for a showround. This extra step shows your dedication and helps build a connection. Better yet consider using video/voice notes to further build rapport

By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your enquiry process, attract more couples, and increase the number of showrounds, ultimately boosting your bookings.

I’d highly recommend downloading our FREE Wedding Lifecycle eBook and workbook to review your current efforts and identify areas for improvement. 

Incentives to prompt wedding venue bookings WedPro expert advice

How to streamline your venue’s enquiry management and stay on top of everything 

What if we told you there is a better way to keep a record of all your enquiries and track your performance without using complicated spreadsheets? Enter WedPro by WeddingDates, a dedicated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system designed specifically for managing enquiries from prospective couples. Say goodbye to manual admin tasks as WedPro takes the reins, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – creating unforgettable wedding experiences.

Contact us today to discover how WedPro can revolutionise your venue’s enquiry management process and elevate the enquiry experience for your couples. Let’s discuss the challenges you’re facing and see how WedPro can empower your team to excel (no pun intended) in delivering exceptional service to every couple.

For more advice on how to elevate the enquiry experience take a look at our latest blog post on best practices for responding to wedding leads here. Keep an eye out for more instalments of this series coming soon! 

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