Avoiding the ‘conveyor belt wedding’ effect while maximising profit, with advice from Kelly Chandler
Let’s be realistic, your venue needs to host a number of weddings in order to make the business model work financially, pay your bills, pay your team and make a profit. That number of weddings will vary depending on the property size, style and much more, but one thing that all locations need to ensure is that they don’t fall into the trap of the conveyor belt effect or the factory-production line wedding.
With each year that goes on, the modern bride (and/or groom) moves further away from identikit weddings in their desire to create their own magical day. The term ‘cookie-cutter wedding’ is in every 20 something’s lexicon and it’s not a positive.
The larger the venue, and the greater the number of weddings hosted, the easier this trap is to fall into, so here are some tips to help you overcome this tag while still maintaining a healthy level of bookings and great profitability:
Packages are successful and make things crystal clear for all concerned on what is included but use them sparingly, particularly if you are targeting the premium and/or luxury market – I define these as spending over £22,000 and over £60,000 respectively as a total wedding budget. Bring to the fore (alongside your packages if you are tapping into different markets) how things can be tailored/made bespoke depending on requirements, and ensure that you have the team available and knowledgeable enough to deliver that, including your external team of supplier partners.
If you do choose to package things up, make the packages personal and friendly in the way they are described and make it clear that couples don’t need to take all elements that are included.
Be careful with the naming of your packages too, avoiding anything that makes your customer feel less special if they are spending less. The example bronze, silver and gold doesn’t make anyone feel good; we all know that gold is totally what you want to be, bronze doesn’t cut it. Try to use words that don’t evoke a ladder or hierarchy emphasising difference over “better”. This is more in tune with millennial customer expectation.
We do it this way…
It’s temping to fall into the trap of saying “we always do it this way” or “the dance floor goes here” and “the speeches happen there”. As an events manager I completely understand how some things are tried and tested and really do work well in the way you suggest, however if you don’t want to be tarnished with the conveyor belt brush, you need to allow your potential customers time to explain their dream day and how they envisage it. Invariably in some areas that will evolve into using most of your “tried and trusted” advice but try to ask them what they want first and go from there, of course using your professional knowledge to guide, rather than a ‘we do it this way’ from the off.
Don’t mention the other bride
It’s easy to mention lots about other weddings either historically or currently happening – I’ve fallen into this trap before myself. Try not to. Couples marrying quite simply don’t care about your other weddings and mainly tend to see this as a negative. They are interested in the visuals and images but only so that they can imagine themselves in those images. They aren’t interested in the dynamics of your workload with other couples or the people that those other people are – sounds harsh but it’s true.
There may well be times when you can’t meet their requirements because of another wedding commitment so try to use alternative words to describe how you can’t help them at that time without referring to your wedding workload in too much detail – difficult I know!
Pay particular attention to areas where bridal parties might overlap on the event day. If you hire your venue for a 24 hour/overnight period for example ensure there is sufficient time for one bridal party to leave before another arrives – allow for the first party to be delayed leaving (this will always be the case) before the next checks-in. And if you do host more than one wedding in a day (never my preference but in large venues it is often essential), ensure that all facilities are entirely separate from each other – parking, toilets, bridal changing areas, bar and more. Each year, I see more and more couples at all price points demanding exclusivity for their wedding venue so the closer you can get to this the better.
About the Author
Kelly Chandler is a long-term preferred service provider for exclusive venues such as Syon Park, Highclere Castle, Spencer House and Stone Park Club. Kelly’s consulting services to wedding venues draw on prior experience in international conference and event planning, over 13 years of business management, and working directly with discerning couples planning their weddings in diverse locations and forging successful relationships with all components of the wedding industry. A former director or trade body The Alliance of Wedding Planners, Kelly is a well-regarded innovator, mentor, trainer and industry spokesperson on and in the wedding business. www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk
Do you want to know more about the modern wedding market and the demands of modern couples so you can best serve them? Come and join one of my training programmes. All the dates and information can be found at www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk/consulting-services