Is 2020 just a better year to get married? Why are some Venues struggling to fill available dates in 2019?
You’re not alone.
We’ve noticed a trend and we are pretty sure that many of you are experiencing the same thing. The number of booked weddings for many Wedding Venues across the UK and Ireland is down in 2019 against plans for 2020. Our Sales Managers are coming back from road trips regaling stories that venues are struggling with filling remaining availability for 2019. We have hoteliers asking us are others experiencing this also and what can they do?
So, why has 2019 been a harder sell than other years, Well there could by any myriad of reasons for these starting with….
1. It’s all in the Year!
The obvious fact that 2020 simply sounds nicer than 2019. Couples like the ring, if you pardon the pun, of a ‘Twentytwenty Wedding’. The same phenomenon also occurred in 2013. With 2019 closing in, Venues need to be creative now about packaging any available dates into last minute deals to entice couples into booking their wedding before year end. Video marketing is one of the best ways to get your message out there and we would encourage all Venues to get on Facebook and Instagram in particular to promote any special offers. Put your best person on camera, talking about what you have to offer and make it easy for them to contact you.
This is particularly relevant to the Border Counties in Ireland but may also be a contributing factor for mainland UK Wedding Venues. When we surveyed over 1,200 newly engaged UK couples in late 2017, some 11% were delaying their wedding due to Brexit and undoubtedly some of that uncertainty still remains. Check out my previous blog post on Seven Tips for wedding venues to Combat Brexit
3. House Prices
Of those delaying their Wedding, some 71% cite rising house prices here in Ireland as the main factor when we surveyed over 1,100 newly engaged couples earlier this year. Couples are making the more practical decision to focus on getting on the property ladder before getting married. Putting savings ahead of wedding spend for many has become a reality. This is where value offerings and last minute deals can come into play. Supported by a strong Wedding Coordinator to help the couple plan a wedding in a shorter time frame and you could be on to a winning formula!
4. Stronger Competition
We can see from our road trips and client visits across the UK and Ireland that competition is fierce and new venues are popping up all the time. There is more money now for refurbishments and many Venues are taking the time to improve their offering. This means some Venues are losing out to others and will need to look hard at their own resources and service offering.
5. Support your Wedding Sales Team
The reality is that not all years are bumper wedding years and some are just better than others. Supporting your Wedding Sales Team is far better for your business in the long run than going on the attack. What can you as a General Manager or Director of Sales & Marketing do to help your wedding coordinator or sales team do this year. Give them a hearing about ideas they have, take ownership of things you need to follow through on your end and give them the support they need to do their jobs.
As always, the team here at WeddingDates would love to help. Our Sales Team are award winning former hoteliers who are at the cold face on a daily basis and can help you formulate plans to get your wedding venue bookings up.
Until next time,
Ciara Crossan is Founder and CEO of WeddingDates – celebrating 10 years in business in 2018.