Destination weddings are a multi-billion dollar industry. Though many hoteliers say “I Do” to going after this niche, many are missing the boat by not offering the right packages and not marketing their hotel strategically.
“There is a lot of competition in the destination wedding market,” said Hilary Lanzer of AskMeWeddings.com, a Miami-based company that develops and markets wedding programs for resorts and hotels, “Hotels that succeed know what to offer couples, how to reach them and how to exceeded their expectations. ”
Lanzer suggests hotels offer three core packages. In each package, hotels need to cover the basics at different price ranges. And then allow each couple to add-on special elements, décor and features. For example, hotels should offer an elopement package that offers the minister, dinner for two and a small wedding cake. The next level should increase the offerings along with the number of guests at the ceremony and reception. And for the third level – go big.
But Lanzer warns not to go big on price. Consumers are savvy and know when a hotel is overcharging. “When done right, weddings can be an incredible source of referrals,” said Lanzer.
Strategic marketing is essential. With hundreds of wedding shows and advertising options, your message can get lost. Knowing the demographics of attendees and having the right materials improve your chances of increasing bookings.
To ensure customer satisfaction, Lanzer says hotels must listen, take impeccable notes, be clear and honest, and never overpromise, simply over-deliver. “Every detail matters.”
With the right approach, Lanzer says that couples can take the plunge without sacrificing savings and hotels increase their revenues by properly targeting this recession-proof niche by creating the right packages, marketing to the right audience and ensuring the details of all weddings are perfect.