Arranging a hotel wedding in a pandemic can be a challenge, but there are alternative ways to do it.
The last year or so has dealt a significant blow to the hospitality industry. The COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to remain at home, limiting their contact with others to maintain their own safety and that of everyone around them. It was a necessary response, but the resulting cancelation of travel plans and postponement of events meant many hotels and restaurants saw a serious drop in revenue.
Thankfully, this year’s vaccine rollout and lower infection numbers have seen the industry steadily start to gain traction again. It’s a given your business, like many in the hospitality industry, is keenly looking out for opportunities to maximize public engagement so you can get back on your feet. One of the primary areas you can focus on to gain the most revenue at the moment is the wedding industry.
This sector is highly competitive, particularly for hotels and events venues. So, let’s review a few of the areas you should be focusing on to maximize your ability to capture wedding revenue this year.
Consumers are generally more conscious about safety than they were before COVID. While most people are keen to get back to attending events and parties, there is still an expectation that hosts should maintain a high level of health consideration. This means you can help capture wedding revenue in 2021 by demonstrating a safe, clean venue.
This begins with designing your spaces to allow for a range of COVID-considerate measures. Work on pod-based seating plans and layouts that allow for social distancing while also being aesthetically pleasing. While the CDC doesn’t specify maximum numbers of guests, you should still ensure parties with unvaccinated members can stand 6 feet apart. Therefore, it can be wise to also provide suitable outdoor spaces to accommodate weddings planning to have larger numbers of guests. Even the small touches can make a difference. For parties with guests too anxious to attend in person, provide facilities to live stream the wedding.
However, to utilize safety to attract wedding bookings, you need to take the time to talk about it publicly. Make a dedicated page on your website outlining the steps you are taking to keep wedding guests safe. Posting quality photos has always been a good method to capitalize on weddings, and it’s no different here. Show visual representations of how your spaces look with distancing measures on your site and social media channels. Aside from anything else, your approach here should reassure couples their wedding can be both health-conscious and beautiful.
Work with the Trends
In this year or so of a pandemic, the world has seemed to have ground to a halt. But that’s not quite the case. People’s opinions, needs, and desires have continued to actively develop. As such, the fashions relevant before COVID have moved on. You can best capture the wedding revenue of 2021 by being cognizant of current social and matrimonial trends.
A big one to consider is the demand for sustainable events. Alongside a rising awareness of climate change, a year without commuting and long-haul travel has highlighted to people just how much of a negative impact their daily actions can have on the environment. As such, your ability to offer a dream wedding that is also geared around eco-friendly protocols is an attractive prospect. Building connections with suppliers of elements like organically produced wedding cakes, biodegradable decorations, and seed-based wedding favors can help you to provide green offerings to couples. Even working with your in-house chef or caterers to produce fair trade and vegan menus is a key tool.
Alongside the attraction of eco-friendly policies, one of the primary trends this year is weekday weddings. This is an excellent opportunity in a post-COVID comeback to maximize the use of your hotel or restaurant for events. Make your availability for weekday bookings clear on your website and social media. Indeed, you can further capitalize on trends by coupling this with another rise in demand — brunch weddings. Show you can provide a relaxed environment and a simple but elegant brunch menu for parties.
Hone Your Marketing
Make no mistake, every hotel and hospitality business will be looking to capitalize on lucrative opportunities as we recover from COVID-19. This means there will be no shortage of competition vying for the same wedding parties you’ll be pitching to. To rise above other venues you have to place significant focus on creating a solid marketing plan.
Your most powerful tool here is creating the right team to take responsibility for a wedding-focused campaign. When hiring, you are looking for those who possess skills in marketing management. These are professionals whose primary role is to provide the best insights on promoting your services and selling them to your target consumers.
They need to possess analytical abilities to assess your business, the market, and your goals. They’ll also have to demonstrate the ability to build and capitalize on relevant relationships. Alongside deploying marketing tactics to promote your business as the premier wedding venue for 2021, they also must be able to assess campaigns throughout the execution process and make changes when needed.
That said, if you’re a small venue you may not have the budget to build a full-time marketing team. You can still make a difference by leveraging the marketing tools already at your disposal. Redesign your website to make it more attractive to couples. Team up with wedding-themed social media influencers to promote your business on their channels. Work with your local tourism board to feature your wedding services in their literature.
Weddings can be a lucrative source of income for your hospitality business. As event booking starts to rise following the pandemic, it’s important to take steps to best attract this year’s wedding parties. Make sure your venue prioritizes safety and leverages the current trends. While a professional marketing team can have a big impact on your revenue, don’t neglect the budget-friendly ways to engage in a promotion. People are keen to celebrate the positives in their lives; make sure you’re best positioned to help them do so.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to the hospitality industry, business productivity, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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