5 Things Venues Should Know To Book More Couples
How couples choose their venues and how advertising can help you reach them.
Wondering how to position your venue to attract more clients? Learn how couples find, select and book their venues to crack the code and book more weddings.
As a venue owner and operator, the work you do to attract couples is important in the wedding industry. Sure, all pros need to go the extra mile to get in front of new clients, but venues are unique because they are where the magic happens. Everything and everyone involved in a wedding has to come to your facility, so you’re automatically presented with a specific set of opportunities and challenges that are exclusive to your service category.
To help offset any challenges that may arise when finding new clients, we conducted our first-ever Venue Selection Study. For this study, we surveyed nearly 800 people across the U.S. who either booked or considered booking a venue and are at least in the decision-making phase. With these insights, we uncovered the answers you need surrounding how and where couples research their venue options, along with when they actually book.
In this guide, we will dive deep into the data while sharing actionable tips to optimize your Storefronts so you can cast the widest and most efficient net possible to capture new clients. Keep reading to learn more!
Venues are typically the first vendors couples book
Most couples start their vendor search within two months of getting engaged. And according to our findings, nearly 80% of couples begin researching venues during that timeframe. Additionally, couples book their wedding venues before any of their other vendors (typically between 11-14 months before their events.) Because of this, it’s important for your venue to have a consistent and robust presence online and in its local market.
Couples are much more flexible than you’d expect
It’s easy to think that couples have a lot of specifics in mind when they’re researching venues, but in actuality, many of them keep their search relatively broad. For example, 79% of our respondents cited that they did not have a “must-have” date when looking for venues, and only 45% had a specific time of year in mind (which is, unsurprisingly, Autumn).
Another thing that some couples are flexible on is location. We found that 1 in 2 couples are open to looking for venues as broadly as the state and/or regional level.
Given these insights, don’t be surprised if you get interest from people who aren’t located in your direct market. Couples are looking in a lot of places for their ideal venue, and they are willing to travel to get it.
Lastly, some couples are also flexible on overall venue aesthetics and specifics. Things like the type of venue, food and beverage options, and the setting of the venue aren’t on many couples’ short list of must-haves.
Couples make their final booking decisions based on price, location and availability
Couples consider a lot of factors about a venue before reaching out. And, when they initially contact one, they’re typically on a fact-finding mission to get more information about a number of things that, depending on the answer, will make them more interested or scratch your venue off of their shortlist.
Ultimately, however, the decision of whether or not a couple will book your space will likely come down to price, location and availability. So, whenever you do get those initial inquiries, lead with information that will immediately answer their questions about these more rigid requests.
Speaking of messaging your leads, be sure to follow our tips on how optimize your lead replies so you can get couples to reply and book you!
When pricing does come up, use the baseline information you know about their wedding that you receive through The Knot and WeddingWire’s inquiry forms—like approximate guest count and which day of the week they want to host their event—to personalize your communication and give them an idea of whether your space will fit their budget. Then, as you enter proposal-writing territory, you can use all of the information you’ve gathered throughout your conversation to give them a personalized quote.
Couples use 3-4 resources to look for venues
As couples are researching their venues, they typically rely on a few resources to nail down which ones they want to learn more about. Among these resources are wedding planning websites.
Couples use wedding-planning websites/apps nearly twice as often as social media channels throughout the venue selection process. They’re the first place many turn to for things like pricing and personalized recommendations. In fact, 73% of couples rely on wedding planning sites for guidance, and 1 in 2 are using them specifically to research their venue. These sites, like The Knot and WeddingWire, allow couples to read reviews, find pricing information and get trustworthy, personalized recommendations, which are all things they rely on to make those final booking decisions.
And once couples have created a shortlist based on their research, we found that they will contact five venues on average and tour four in person before making the final decision. So, how do you stand out? Invest in marketing and advertising, especially on wedding planning websites like The Knot and WeddingWire.
Marketing and advertising tips to put your best foot forward
Having a top-of-the-line marketing and advertising plan will set you apart from other venues because it will help you find new audiences that you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. It also helps to make every other action you take, like collecting reviews and stunning photos of your space, work harder to attract new clients.
Use the tips below to ensure you’re doing everything you can to build your digital footprint to bring more couples to your venue.
Spruce up your website
Think of your website as the central hub of your business’ internet presence. When people search for your wedding business, your website will likely be one of the very first results on the page. So, once someone clicks into your website, ensure they’ll like what they see. After all, there’s only one first impression, so make it a good one.
Here’s a short list of things to keep in mind while designing or revamping your website:
- Craft your website so it’s accessible to all members of your audience. One way to do that is to ensure your copy (aka the text on the page) is displayed in an easy-to-read font and color
- Place calls-to-action at multiple points of your pages, so it’s clear what you want someone to do (reach out to learn more information)
- Use pictures that are high quality and high resolution to showcase your venue
- Highlight reviews and testimonials from past couples (with The Knot and WeddingWire, you can embed reviews directly to your site!)
- Post FAQs so you can anticipate any questions a couple would have
Additionally, make sure that your website is a visual representation of your business. You want couples to be drawn in by what your venue can offer them, but make sure your digital presence will leave them wanting to learn more.
Make your social channels even savvier
Social media is a great place to highlight some of your most recent weddings and to build a community with your existing audience. It’s also one of the first places couples look when researching your venue. So, it’s important that you grab their attention straight away with your content.
Share a wide array of photos and videos to show how versatile your venue can be.
It’s also important to highlight the team they’d work with once they book your venue, so don’t be afraid to get in front of the camera. Couples love content like behind-the-scenes videos or live Q&A sessions because they can get to know the vendor behind the business. This is a great way to set your venue apart from others in your area.
You can learn more about how you can use social media to your advantage from our Social Media Guide for Small Businesses.
Advertise on wedding planning websites
While updating your website and social media is important, ultimately the best solution is to advertise with The Knot and WeddingWire. Advertising on wedding planning websites like The Knot and WeddingWire can revolutionize how you can get in front of your clientele. That’s because they are designed to showcase your reviews and photos, answer important questions couples may have about your venue and widen your digital footprint so you can get in front of even more couples without putting in a ton of time.
Nearly half of the couples we surveyed used wedding planning websites for their venue search, with the specific intent of finding their vendors. Couples who are actively searching for their venues are much more likely to seriously reach out and book than others who are late-night scrolling on social media or performing a cursory Google search. Additionally, one of the top reasons why couples turn to The Knot and WeddingWire because of the helpfulness the platforms provide to them.
Linking your business to wedding websites—The Knot and WeddingWire, specifically—automatically gives your venue more credibility among couples because they are two of the most trusted online wedding planning marketplaces. Your Storefronts will work overtime to build trust with future couples and boost your business’ credibility–all with minimal maintenance. This also means that your website and social media platforms won’t need to work as hard for your brand. Instead, you can use these channels to give your potential couples additional places to research your business so they can have a full picture of your venue.
Your Storefront will also help your digital footprint because, along with your website, it will show up as a top search result on Google (sometimes ranking higher than your own website because of our combined brand power and years of SEO experience!)
Lastly, you can track how your advertising investment is performing with built-in analytics tools provided within the platform. So, you never have to guess how far your advertising dollars are reaching—you’ll know everything happening on your Storefronts, down to exactly who, when, and how couples are interacting with them.
Basically, advertising with wedding planning websites, specifically The Knot and WeddingWire, is a win-win-win-win-win.
Your venue deserves to get in front of as many couples as possible. And with the data from the Venue Selection Study and the tips we’ve given to help you invest in your marketing and advertising, it will be well on its way to doing just that.
Rachel Havel Photography | C Lazy U Ranch
The Venue Selection Study is a quantitative survey that captured responses from 781 US couples who were engaged or married within the last two years. Respondents must have booked/considered booking a venue and are at least at the decision-making phase. Respondents represent couples from all over the country with various ethnicities, income levels, race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.