This year the pandemic availability crunch is easing up and couples are being much more targeted in their enquiries, making each one a more valuable lead than ever. While getting enquiries from interested couples is crucial, focusing on converting those queries to bookings is really where you need to shine. Due to an increase in digital awareness and with research into wedding venues being done online, couples are now only visiting three venues or fewer before booking.
According to our 2023 Wedding Industry Report, 71% of couples in the UK and 75% in Ireland follow this trend. Despite how crucial converting enquiries to showround bookings is, our survey also found that less than a quarter of respondents indicated that they were made to feel special at this key touchpoint in the sales process. It is vital for venues to focus on providing a personalised experience to stand out and increase conversion rates.
Our report shows that at the enquiry stage 14-17% of the respondents said they “felt like just a number”, 42-48% said “nothing stood out to them” and only 24-25% said they “felt really special”. This demonstrates that couples are being let down during the venue selection process and they are craving a personal connection to influence their decision-making.
“This year’s statistics make it clear that the venue tour is a crucial moment on the couple’s journey down the aisle. Couples are sending fewer enquiries and booking fewer viewings than ever before. On average, each viewing will give a venue a 1 in 3 chance of making the sale, so personalisation, taking time, and being responsive to a couple’s plans and ideas are vital,” says Ciara Crossan, CEO and Founder of WeddingDates.
READ MORE: KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 2023 UK WEDDING INDUSTRY REPORT
BOOKING SHOWROUNDS ONLINE
In an increasingly digital world, it is no wonder couples are looking for more streamlined ways to communicate with venues. Our survey showed that 47% of couples in Ireland and 54% in the UK now want to book the first showround online, double the number from last year’s survey. Using WedPro’s showround plugin will allow couples to request a date and time for their viewing directly on your website.
Making the online enquiry process simple, delivering brochures immediately, and personalising communications are all pivotal moments for personal connection that will help you increase your conversion rate. Correctly building and nurturing this part of your sales funnel is the key to capturing and converting leads. To find out how WedPro can help you achieve success take a look at our software’s features or book a demo with us.
Convert More Bookings By Hosting A Winning Showround
The Personal Touch
Our team firmly believes a winning showround comes down to personality and establishing a real connection with the couple. They don’t want to be rushed and they want to feel special so be prepared, listen and have heartfelt conversations with them. Come armed and ready, not only with visuals of different decor but also with a notebook. The couple needs to see you’re listening and making those notes.
“As the wedding coordinator, you need to create an emotional connection with the couple during the visit. Present genuine warmth and interest which will help a couple buy into you,” says Carys Duckworth, our Sales Manager and Wedding Venue Expert.
You will be amazed at how far small gestures will go… Make sure from the second they arrive that your venue feels welcoming. Be there ready to receive them and make all staff aware of their visit. Most importantly make sure you know their names beforehand in order to greet them personally. You can also introduce some of the other team members who would be involved in the wedding in order to establish a real relationship.
Carys says after the meet and greet have a quick sit down for 5 minutes to introduce yourself and to check the basics. Be sure to offer them something to drink; not everyone wants a prosecco but a branded bottle of water or a cappuccino with a heart on it are small ways you can impress them straight off the bat.
Dressed To Impress
A showround isn’t all about information and the practicalities, you’re really trying to sell the dream, the romance and the emotion. Before working as a Sales Manager at WeddingDates, Alix worked as a wedding planner and cautions venues not to show a couple around unless the space is available to look at.
“The venue should be dressed for a wedding, at least partially. Never do a showround unless the space looks good. Some couples can’t imagine their perfect day so you have to help them envision their dream,” says Alix.
Outdoor space is key for many couples so when you go outside be sure to point out some key areas for photos. It would also be helpful to have a photo album on hand showing the areas on the grounds during different seasons. It might also be helpful to set up a wedding room where you can have the introductory meeting without being interrupted, filled with imagery, and promotional material.
Jasmin Waller, our Customer Success Specialist and 2023 Bride-To-Be says if the venue isn’t dressed up on the day, you can paint the picture by having photos of it fully decorated and real wedding pictures on an iPad as you walk around.
“I’ve experienced a venue do this and it was very effective to help us see the bigger picture,” says Jasmin.
READ MORE: KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 2023 IRELAND WEDDING INDUSTRY REPORT
While taking the couple on the tour of the venue tell stories and share any interesting or historical facts about your venue that can make it extra memorable. This will help paint a mental picture of previous weddings and how their wedding could be.
According to Carys the worst thing you can do during the showround is to rush the couple. “They are spending a lot of money on their big day and want to feel valued. Take the time to really talk to them and answer their questions.”
During the showround explain the next steps and clearly communicate to them what you need them to do should they be interested in booking the venue. After the tour, give the couple time to wander around the venue and discuss their options in private. This will allow them to make a decision without feeling pressured.
GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND
If your team is already doing all of the above but you would like to go the extra mile, here are 5 ways you can really maximise the showround
- Create a welcome board where you can update the couple’s names before each showround.
- Hand the couple a branded goodie bag with a card saying “congratulations on your engagement”, a physical brochure or printed copy of your packages, and a bottle of water.
- Offer to take a picture of them as they tour for them to share on social media or keep as a memory.
- Create a branded wedding planner – with checklists, supplier lists, real photos, and details. It could be digital too and sent via email after the showround.
- An incentive to seal the deal can go a long way to secure a booking. Offer them something special if they book following the showround – like a leisure club membership or a 1-year anniversary stay.
Discover a wealth of information in our newly released 2023 Wedding Industry Report, including insights gleaned from our Ultimate Survey of over 2500 engaged couples in Ireland and the UK. This essential resource provides valuable insights into the ever-changing landscape of wedding planning and reveals the latest trends and preferences of brides and grooms. As a must-read for those in the wedding industry, it offers an unparalleled glimpse into what couples are seeking and how the current climate has impacted their approach to planning their special day.
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