A new prospective client has booked a show round at your Wedding venue, after looking at your website, but how does your show round come up to the mark as part of the customer experience and as part of your overall wedding marketing?
As a possible venue for their Wedding Ceremony and or Wedding Breakfast, how does your prospective client see you. Everything from 'kerb appeal' through the services and facilities you offer, the style of permanent decor you adopt, presentation of any on site accommodation, and even little tips on the best places for photos or a 'pocket history' of your venue may all have a bearing on converting that show round into a definite booking.
But what of your future client? Many will be undertaking the daunting prospect of organising a Wedding for the first time. They will be excited, apprehensive and if the social networking groups are to be believed many are completely lost when it comes to the practicalities of the day. Couples may have been collecting images and inspiration from Pinterest, instagram and a myriad of other sources before they even visit your venue; so when they do, you may have already made the 'short list', but does your visitor experience match their dream?
First impressions count - a few points to consider:
- When agreeing the date for a show round, do you avoid dates and times when external contractors are on site or when rooms are being cleaned and re-set after an event the night before?.
- Once your visitors arrive is it easy for them to identify where to go and where to park? A dedicated named parking space for your visitors may be pushing things a bit too far at this stage, but it would certainly demonstrate attention to detail, and that they are at least expected.
- Do your reception staff know the names of those who are visiting, which staff member to contact and where your visitors should wait while the staff member is contact, if indeed they are not already waiting to greet them. Keeping future clients waiting can already start to sow seeds of doubt about your level of interest in your client.
- Do you offer them tea or coffee on arrival or just point them in the direction of the bar? It's a little touch but one that is often neglected and can set such a good starting point.
Client intentions - what do they want from their visit?
- Your clients may have very firm ideas of what they want from their visit, and have come with a list of questions, on everything from bridal prep and the wedding night suite to disabled access, creche facilities, and WiFi for live links (they may have guests who are unable to attend the wedding) but on the other hand they may be completely open to ideas and suggestions in all areas.
- They may have chosen your venue because it already has a special significance for them, do you try to establish emotional connections, relating to the proposal, place where they first met etc?
- Do you look to establish a few key points that they wish to look at or talk about before the visit?
- Although you shouldn't rush your visitors around the venue; where possible do you give them chance to imagine how their day might look in a particular space? You won't have all day to spend with them and neither will they, but a few extra minutes in the main rooms could secure the booking.
A picture paints a thousand words
- In an ideal world, do you like to show your visitors a wedding ceremony or wedding breakfast set up, but as this can be impractical, time consuming and labour intensive; as a minimum, do you go armed with your trusty ipad full of images of how the rooms can look, so that when you go into the undressed space they can get a sense of how it could look on the day.
- Have you contacted previous photographers to try and get images of the best photo locations in the venue and grounds. It will all help the clients to imagine what their special day could be like.
- If it's a relatively new venue, you've had a redecoration or re-brand, you could consider a stylised photo shoot with your preferred suppliers to get that all important portfolio of images.
Put yourself in their shoes
- Can you 'walk' them on the guest journey. Many couples will be as concerned about whether their guests will enjoy the day as they are about enjoying it themselves. Don't forget that every guest could be a future client for another wedding or other event.
Take a bus man's holiday
- Why not compare and contrast. Have you thought about asking a couple of staff members to play at being 'clients at another local venue. Book a show round at some of your competitors and view them from a client point of view. See how you are treated, which bits do you like, which don't you like. There is nothing wrong with a bit of targeted market research, particularly if you are a new venue trying to establish yourselves. But be wary, if you're visiting them, they may be visiting YOU!
- Be friendly, approachable and try to empathise. If you are already married, try to remember how it felt for you in the planning stages; remember they need to have confidence and trust in you, your staff and your venue.