The average wedding couple is likely to digitally research 13 venues in detail, visit three of them, and book one. Statistically speaking, this means beating 77% of venue competition through your digital approach, and 66% of competition in person to be crowned a couple’s chosen wedding venue.
There are many ways of effectively showcasing your wedding spaces to couples, but understanding the current market, their changing expectations and developing trends in the world of weddings is a must to maximise your marketing proposition.
Choosing a wedding venue is the most exciting part of the entire wedding planning process, topped only by the proposal itself, according to 4,000 couples surveyed by Bridebook in 2022. It is therefore imperative that venues capture this magnitude and excitement by nailing their marketing and communications.
Whether you’re a charming country manor or a modern, purpose-built conference centre, effectively showcasing what you can distinctively offer prospective wedding couples is essential.
- Consider your website positioning and transparency – is it clear you’re a wedding venue?
A venue’s website will often be the first point of call for a couple looking to source the dream space. You might be a multi-purpose venue at which weddings are not your primary event type. That being said, if you’re hoping to tap into the wedding market, a prospective couple is going to need to be made to feel that weddings are your speciality.
Ensure the messaging is clear on the home page of the website and consider creating a dedicated sub-site specifically to weddings, which requires a far more elaborate and descriptive tone than the average corporate event venue. It’s essential to consider the fact that 94% of wedding bookers use their phone for venue inspiration, so mobile optimisation is key. If your website isn’t easy to navigate from a phone screen, you will likely lose couples very quickly.
When exploring a potential wedding space online, the first thing a couple is likely to look at if they’re interested in the location and the aesthetic of your venue, is whether or not it sits in their price range. The expectation is that this will be indicated on your website before their hearts get set on something beyond their budget. Therefore, transparency is key.
- Invest in high-quality photography
Venue photography is not the part of the marketing budget to skimp on. Exceptional photography that brings your wedding venue to life and showcases the potential of an empty space is going to hugely help to sell it. Your website/brochure acts as a gallery for prospects to visualise how the venue can be spectacularly transformed to accommodate diverse preferences, and should be invested in accordingly
This can be achieved through dedicated photoshoot days in which the venue is dressed up by partnering suppliers who may be willing to co-fund the shoot if they’re given access to the portfolio of images. There may also be an opportunity to photograph an actual wedding in which the couple is given a discounted photography package to enable you as the venue use of the photos. It is always worth getting in writing during the planning process if the couple is happy to share any shots with you for marketing purposes.
- Get featured in relevant ‘best of’ venue listicles
Wedding publications love to categorise venues to help engaged couples with specific preferences. If you search online for ‘best countryside wedding venues’, or similar, you’ll likely be met with articles such as this one by Country & Town House well before you reach a specific venue website result. This is a well-used SEO tactic to be featured by ‘aggregators’ where you otherwise stand little chance of pushing past the competition to feature at the top of a Google search for these generic search terms, without putting significant spend behind advertising.
You’ll notice that venues with the most impressive wedding photography stand the best chance of being featured. Almost any way you categorise your space, whether an outdoor wedding venue, a historic wedding venue, an unusual wedding venue and many, many more, you will find that multiple articles exist grouping these venue types.
- Consider running competitions
Wedding competitions can be an effective way to showcase your venue and attract the attention of potential bookers. Weddings are notoriously expensive, and any glimmer of a giveaway is often well received.
Beyond mere promotional tactics, competitions can infuse a sense of excitement and increased engagement through social media, events and media partners. They can open doors to meaningful interaction and help forge connections with entrants, regardless of the winners. This can often be your route in to securing media coverage without a significant budget.
- Capture testimonials as soon as possible
If all goes according to plan, your wedding couples will be on a high following the ceremony or reception of their dreams. This is the best time to capture their gratitude through the most authentic type of endorsement.
It’s all very well trying to sell your venue to a couple for the most important day of their lives, but it’s even more effective to hear from previous success stories that validate the picture you’re painting for them. If you’re looking to attract a diverse range of weddings, ensure the testimonials you share are reflective of this and demonstrate your experience in different cultural, religious, inclusive or niche wedding types.
Make these prominent on your website, as well as sharing snippets that are interspersed throughout your social media content.
- Consider your venue’s seasonal charm
While summer weddings continue to lead the charge between April and October, 20% of UK weddings also take place in the winter months and therefore shouldn’t be overlooked. These colder months still have around 56,000 couples searching for the perfect winter venue annually.
Consider what your venue can offer seasonally, and make sure each season is showcased accordingly. By tailoring your venue’s presentations to each season’s unique characteristics, you can demonstrate its versatility and charm throughout the year. Engaging imagery, creative décor, such as harvest-inspired tonal themes and rustic autumn foliage, or twinkling lights and frosty accents to build a winter wonderland, will help couples envisage their dream wedding in any season.
To find out more about building a wedding marketing and PR strategy for your venue, get in touch with the Custard team.