BY YOLANDA BENDER
Yolanda Bender formerly served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Revenue Management for HMG Hotels. She was previously with Campbell Lodging where she oversaw sales teams for a portfolio of national brands including Marriott, Hilton, and IHG products. Ms. Bender brings 20 years of experience implementing successful sales, marketing and operations strategies in various industries and brands. She is in charge of day-to-day operations at HMG Hospitality. Yolanda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and post-graduate course work in Business Management at Pepperdine University.
Not everything within the hospitality industry is reliable and constant, but there’s at least one dependable event that happens all year round. A never ending source of hotel revenue, that always has revenue-expanding potential. Weddings are the source of this magic.
Most people who “fall in love” get married, and good thing they do, because that equals big dollar signs for hotels. Weddings not only bring in revenue from the ceremony and party, oh no, these events bring in revenue to the entire asset. Food and beverage, retail, spa, golf, group bookings, and more, are all areas of revenue weddings feed into.
It’s a great situation, but it’s not without challenges. As millennials reach the stage of marriage in their lives, they are rapidly changing the wedding industry. Industrial venues, museums, wineries, breweries, parks, and more are all becoming highly sought after wedding venues. Fret not, though, because there are numerous steps your hotel can take to win back the millennial love birds and capture a greater slice of the wedding cake.
There’s No Need to Handle it All
In fact, avoid telling the bride altogether that anything is “handled.” Have you glanced at Pinterest lately? Brides love to “pin” together bits and pieces of their dream wedding, and are excited to fully participate in preparing for the big day. Giant package deals that include everything are less appealing to the millennial generation. Flexibility and collaboration are highly sought after by millennial couples, and they will choose a venue that enables them to do just that. By no means does this suggest your hotel should do away with wedding packages. Instead, continue to offer wedding packages, while also offering the ability for a la carte wedding services.
Get With the 21st Century
Millennials have zero patience for outdated technology. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, forget it, they will move on to the next hotel venue that is. If it’s complicated and not aesthetically pleasing to book rooms on your website, the bride and groom won’t want to send their guests to your site. Every step from the initial glance at your website, to putting down a deposit, to corresponding with the wedding coordinator, should be seamless and technologically savvy.
Don’t Be Cheesy
Everything from using stock wedding photos, to doilies, to over the top wedding verbiage will cause potential clients to run the other way. Be authentic, be fresh, even consider being subtle. Use photos from real weddings held at your venue. Contact the wedding photographers and the couples to ask permission, but most likely they will be thrilled to be featured, and will easily recommend you to future couples.
Hang Out at the Watering Hole
Want to attract more wedding clients? Participate in the forums millennial clients are participating in. Pinterest is huge. Join Pinterest and create a wedding board for your hotel. Feature authentic images from your wedding experiences. Share wedding stories and moments on Instagram, and other social media sites, with permission from the featured guests of course. Social media and creativity go together like peanut butter and jelly, showcase the unique and interesting details that your hotel creates for weddings.
Weddings can make up a huge chunk of change for your hotel, and if you constantly strive to adjust to the ever-changing desires of the millennial couples, then you will be rewarded. Following the above suggestions will certainly aid your hotel in booking more and more weddings each year.
If your hotel is in need of consultation on increasing wedding revenue, contact Young Yoon, Corporate Director of Development at (858) 673-1534 today.
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BY YOLANDA BENDER Yolanda Bender formerly served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing and ...