Out of hours brides: How you can communicate with wedding couples 24/7

Odds are you are reading this article on your phone or tablet. According to ComScore, 2014 was the first year that internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage. And in fact, more than 50 per cent of traffic to this website is coming from brides and grooms surfing on their mobiles and tablets – I’m sure its similar for your website.

In this mobile-driven environment and with “always on” communications, how can your hotel or wedding venue keep up? Today’s couples are time-poor and demanding. They want instant access to information and expect speedy response time. Brides are not willing to wait two or three days to get a response to an email – many of them will barely wait two or three hours!

Key Facts:

With so many venues to choose from, couples opt to do their research and information gathering online before selecting a small shortlist of venues to visit. The 2015 WeddingDates Weddings Survey and other research studies show just how responsive hotels and venues need to be to capture a share of weddings in their area:

  • Engaged couples will typically visit less than five wedding venues for a show-round before making their decision and booking their wedding.
  • The majority of wedding enquiries are sent between 7pm and 9pm – typically people browsing on the commute home, or couples sitting on the couch after work with a laptop or tablet, doing wedding research together.
  • 41% of consumers expect an email response within six hours. But only 36 percent of businesses actually respond that quickly, leaving a wide open opportunity for hotels and venues with rapid response times.

With events teams working standard nine-to-five hours and couples looking for information outside of those hours, how can your property connect with those couples, deliver superior service and speedy response time?

Three Top Tips:

  1. Automate and Personalise: Set up a system that allows you to send out automated emails in response to online enquiries or brochure requests. But beware of the robot! Nobody wants to receive an email that is generic in tone or quite obviously automated. Use a system that allows you to personalise with the person’s name. Keep the tone of the email friendly and upbeat – remember that engaged couples are planning a wedding day, not booking a conference!
  2. Get Social: We all know social media for the hospitality industry is key nowadays and it is not enough to simply slap a Facebook or Twitter icon on your website. An active presence on social media allows you to communicate in a non-corporate way to prospective brides and reach out to them where they’re already hanging out. Tweets and Facebook posts can be scheduled to appear out of hours, making it appear you’re “always on” and online when your prospective brides and grooms are.
  3. Image is everything: Images really help sell a wedding venue and any venue serious about their wedding business will invest in professional photography to showcase all of the aspects of their venue. And please, for the love of God say no to stock images! Do not underestimate the power of Pinterest or Instagram to help sell your venue and connect with your audience. These accounts can linked to from your initial email to brides when you send the wedding brochure. They will feel an instant connection with you and it will really help you stand out from the other venues she is contacting! Viewing your gorgeous images will get her excited about your property as she anticipates the show round before you have even called her.

A version of this article first appeared in Boutique Hotel News.