How can we meet Couples Expectations in the era of Digital Relationships?

Are you meeting couples expectations?

  • What happens to your wedding enquiries that are received ‘out of hours’?

  • Are you allowing couples to send enquiries easily and in the way they want to?

  • What if they want to make a booking? Can they do this from the comfort of their own home?

We are living in an era of digital relationships. This is especially true for consumers craving personalisation for the most important day of their lives. How are we meeting Couples Expectations when they want more than just technology!

Almost every part of our day to day lives has some element of being online or digital. Many of your couples may have even met online!

Couples are doing extensive research online to create shortlists of venues. That doesn’t stop when it comes to taking the next step and sending enquiries.

The majority of wedding enquiries are sent to venues in the evenings or at weekends, when the office is closed. There is a disconnect between how couples wish to enquire and how a venue invites them to do so.

Unfortunately there are many cases of The Bad & even The Ugly out there when it comes to handling enquiries. Communications considered Bad or Ugly are things that have no personal touch and no way to make the couple feel special.

An enquiry form is helpful as it can be a way of capturing the info you as a venue want, but you must think about how the process feels from the couples point of view.

Are you using the same enquiry form for all forms of events? Weddings/Parties/Conferences?

Think about the differences between a wedding couple and a corporate booker. The emotional side of the purchase is very apparent when it comes to weddings and today’s couples are time poor. They want to be WOWed!

Offering an enquiry email address is common but firstly, how can the couple be sure their enquiry has been received? Secondly, how long are they waiting (and wondering) about the venue’s availability and if they will be able to make their dream day a reality?

Some venue websites offer just a phone number, and no email address. With most enquiries coming in “out of hours” it’s unlikely that if a Bride phones at 7pm there will be someone available for her to speak to.

 Not making it easy for couples to enquire is off putting for them.

WeddingDates solves this problem with an Enquiry Plugin

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The WeddingDates plugin is a simple way for couples to send an enquiry at any time of day or night. They can find out if dates are provisionally available, read recent reviews and they will be automatically sent a personalised reply with your brochure attached. Having enquiries funnelled through the Enquiry Plugin means that couples are getting a great first impression and seamless enquiry experience.

The sales team can also relax knowing that all enquiries are responded to swiftly no matter when they come in.

The Enquiry Plugin allows you to work smarter not harder.

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In 2020 the data from our Industry Report showed that 60% of couples expected a response within 24 hours. However this year, couples are more understanding of the fact that venue staff may be working from home or outside of normal 9-5 hours.

Thus, the expectation of a 24hr response time has dropped, but we mustn’t get complacent.

UK couples expectations continue to set a very high bar for response times, with 82% expecting a reply within 48 hours.

I anticipate that once COVID is behind us these expectations will shift back to the shorter response times we saw last year.

It’s vital to have methodologies for responses and keeping your pipeline moving firmly in place.

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Interestingly, another piece of data from the 2021 Industry Survey shows us that couples expectations are that want to be able to book appointments straight away and the popularity of online booking is rising each year.

You can be ahead of the competition by offering this NOW. The Millennial generation makes up the core of the wedding market and there is a huge desire to be able to do everything instantly online. If we think about ourselves as a consumer, when we need to book an appointment for anything (car service / opticians / hairdresser) we do it online.

Booking platforms allow us to book things in our own time, whenever it suits us and not depending on someone else’s office hours. It is the idea of “being on 24/7”.

Don’t make them work for it – if they are at the stage of their buying journey where they are ready to enquire or book an appointment make it easy for them to do so.

The WeddingDates Show Round Plugin provides this accessibility.

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Once couples enquire through the WeddingDates Show Round Plugin, they can then be considered a HOT LEAD. These people are not tyre kickers, they are serious about your venue and ready to come for a meeting. This plugin allows them to select a preferred date and time of day for an appointment

Link to the plugin across your communication touchpoints such as your Instagram auto reply, your email signature, or on your enquiry auto responder.

If you are curious about the WeddingDates plugins, I’d be happy to have a no obligation chat with you to show you how they work.

Feel free to book a call with me to find out more >>Book A Call<<

I would love to hear your thoughts and experience on how you are meeting couples expectations.

 

This article was inspired by our Lunch & Learn webinar series from March this year, you can watch them back via the links below.

  1. Present to Impress
  2. Capture & Respond
  3. Nurture & Engage

Alix Matania-Allerton

Wedding Industry Expert / Speaker & Webinar Host / UK Sales Manager / Key Account Manager (WeddingDates)

Image credits:Brooke Cagle

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