After years of battling ever-evolving COVID-related travel restrictions, social distancing regulation changes, product shortages, and venue closures, engaged couples everywhere are racing to get their wedding day back on the books. This has led to the 2022 wedding boom, with The Wedding Report estimating that approximately 2.5 million weddings will take place this year — the most we've seen in decades.
But although we’re seeing an explosion in demand for event space and wedding services, many wedding venues are still facing obstacles and limitations resulting from the pandemic. Having dealt with closures, staffing shortages, revenue losses, and much more, many venues find themselves in an unprecedented position. That's where this blog post comes in.
In this post, we explore strategies to help wedding venues outsell their competitors and seize the opportunities created by the record-breaking 2022 wedding boom, setting themselves up for success in the months — and years — to come. Because projections don't have this trend magically stopping once we flip the calendars to 2023.
Explore 8 ways to take advantage of the 2022 wedding boom
1. Benchmark against the competition.
It's one thing to know how your venue compares to itself month over month and year over year. It's another thing entirely to know how your venue stacks up to other venues throughout the industry during such a unique time.
With the 2022 wedding boom front and center, Cvent created a new interactive wedding venue assessment designed to do just that: help venues see where they stand.
Quick but comprehensive, this assessment consists of 11 questions and takes approximately three minutes to complete. After providing a few details about your venue, recent bookings, staffing levels, and operating procedures, you will unlock a personalized report consisting of your answers compared to the rest of the industry respondents. In addition to customized comparison results, participating wedding venues receive a handful of resources to assist them in planning for the future.
2. Widen your audience reach through increased venue visibility.
If engaged couples are going to book your wedding venue for their big day, they need to be able to find it first. In the early planning stages, many future newlyweds find themselves weeding through page after page of irrelevant advertising and unhelpful blog content in the hopes of uncovering a nugget of useful information. Capture more 2022 wedding boom business by listing your property in a venue-only directory like Wedding Spot.
It’s all too easy for engaged couples to get distracted while wedding planning, and even the most seasoned wedding planners can struggle to keep track of their tasks during this busy time. By sourcing through Wedding Spot, however, interested parties are able to stay focused and free from distractions. Better yet, you know they're viewing the directory for one reason, and one reason only: to find a wedding venue.
Wedding Spot helps venues navigate every step of the lead lifecycle to make sure they increase bookings and offer competitive rates. On the flip side, Wedding Spot gives couples the tools to successfully find the right venue. It's a win-win.
3. Show off the flexibility of your event space.
Cast a wide net to capture the attention of dynamic duos with varying styles, requests, and preferences by showcasing the flexibility of your event space. Venues that use Cvent can connect with wedding planners and event coordinators through engaging, interactive tools that give users the ability to visualize weddings in your space without even having to schedule a site tour — and so much more.
- Market your space with Photo-Realistic 3D. Beat the competition in today’s remote sales environment with 3D that shows clients how their events will look, down to the finest detail.
- Sell your space with Interactive Floorplans. Allow planners to envision their event at your venue with interactive floorplans on both the Cvent Supplier Network and your website.
- Deliver successful meetings with Cvent Event Diagramming. Show prospects you can deliver on their vision – and satisfy safety guidelines – by using a flexible diagramming tool that allows you to update layouts and save new templates. Leverage real-time and to-scale diagramming software with visual seating solutions for in-the-moment collaboration between planners, vendors, and event staff.
4. Step up in-person venue tours.
While event diagramming software is providing site tours to prospective bookers online, you can put more time and effort into knocking in-person site tours out of the park. Because of the 2022 wedding boom, couples may be more inclined to book back-to-back venue tours in the hopes of securing a preferable wedding date and locking in their reservation fast. If your venue is going to secure the best business, it needs to leave a lasting impression on touring couples.
Show off the best your venue has to offer. Treat guests like royalty from the moment they arrive and strive to make your wedding venue stand out during site tours. To impress visiting couples and planners, consider:
- Greeting couples with valet or door service upon arrival
- Offering freshly made cocktails prepared by a skilled venue bartender
- Setting up satellite stations of delectable hors d'oeuvres
- Showcasing different setups and wedding styles in various spaces
- Arranging a stunning dinner display complete with fresh floral arrangements
- Planning an outdoor picnic or snack break in one of your finest wedding tents
If your site tour skills feel a little rusty after so much downtime, don’t worry; many of us are in the same boat. Brush up by giving practice tours regularly. Refresh your team on key facts, figures, and policies, and rehearse guiding couples through the entire venue. Practice answering questions, overcoming objections, and pointing out your venue’s best features.
5. Qualify wedding business early in a detailed budget discussion.
When you encounter couples planning a wedding on a tight budget, do your best to be flexible and work with them, but don’t sell yourself short. During the 2022 wedding boom, venues may have a unique opportunity to accept only the best pieces of wedding business, letting less profitable events book elsewhere. Stress the importance of having an honest conversation about their budget early so that you're aware of their limitations.
The excitement of wedding planning can cloud even the most level-headed person’s judgment, and venues commonly encounter couples attempting to plan a champagne wedding on a beer budget. Once you have an idea of how much wiggle room a couple may or may not have, you will be able to offer budget-friendly alternatives to expensive requests when possible. Should you find that you will not be able to accommodate their budget, you can inform the couple in the earliest stages and offer venue recommendations better suited to their needs.
6. Offer planning assistance to couples who need it.
Strike a balance between giving couples freedom to plan their wedding details, but be prepared to offer help when needed. Offer couples vendor resources, guide them through setup options, or even offer to help them make a grand entrance. Make yourself available to hands-on couples who are planning their own weddings, but try not to step on their toes.
7. Be open and honest.
LendingTree conducted a survey of 900 engaged couples in the US and found that 56% of couples who had to change their wedding plans due to COVID lost money in the process. Even now, in the midst of the 2022 wedding boom, with wedding venues and services in high demand, many soon-to-be newlyweds are hesitant to lose more money or book with an inflexible venue. For many engaged couples and wedding planners, transparency is a key factor in venue choice.
Having faced years of uncertainty and changing restrictions, couples are looking for honest hosts. Discuss expectations, restrictions, fees, cancellation policies, refund conditions, and other contractual details with couples up front. When all parties have a clear understanding of rules, regulations, and the booking guidelines, the likelihood of future misunderstandings is minimized, and couples feel more secure.
8. Embrace adaptability.
If there's one thing we learned about weddings during the pandemic, it’s that the entire industry can shift in an instant. After a multi-year shutdown, the wedding industry is experiencing a rebirth, and things have changed. Venues everywhere are shifting strategies to meet evolving guest expectations, guidelines, and figure out how to increase wedding bookings in a new era. Work to accept change, roll with the punches, and become a more adaptable wedding venue.
Now that you have the know-how, it’s time to put your knowledge into action and make the most of all the 2022 wedding boom has to offer. As you implement new policies and marketing strategies, keep a close eye on industry trends. Watch how your competitors react to the wedding boom and pay attention to changes in customer expectations. With high demand likely to extend into next year or later, venues will need to remain alert in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Don’t let the 2022 wedding boom pass you by
Embrace the wedding boom as an opportunity to make up for lost time, drive revenue, and put your wedding venue back on the map. Create marketing campaigns that highlight what makes your venue the venue.
Up next, we explore tips and strategies for marketing your wedding venue around what couples want.