By hosting your own events such as a bridal open house, a basic wedding seminar or a casual wedding related happy hour, you can better build your event business.
Over the past few years I have created some events that I use as an avenue to market our club in hopes of booking more weddings therefore increasing catering revenues.
If your club offers wedding ceremonies and receptions, I suggest that you host your own events such as a bridal open house, a basic wedding seminar or a casual wedding related happy hour to help introduce potential business to the club. Although they do require some planning and a decent amount of your time, these events are all very simply to execute and well worth the investment. Plus they’re easily adaptable to other types of banquet events such as showers and parties.
At Diamond Oaks Country Club, we try to host several of these events each year, with at least one each month.
Let me back up. First, I make it a priority to attend five major Bridal Shows each year and by major I mean at least five hundred brides in attendance plus their guests. (With our country club being located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area it’s not hard to find quality bridal shows.) After each show I invite the brides I just met to the club’s Bridal Open House so they can see our venue first hand and experience what we have to offer. I also have about twenty preferred wedding professionals for the brides to visit with during the open house. Once the brides arrive I have them sign in for door prizes, encourage them to sample our simple buffet, and offer them a glass of complimentary beer, wine or champagne. Of course, I am on hand to answer any questions they have and host tours of the venue during the event. (It’s actually quite fun to host a tour with a couple dozen people all at one time. My record is thirty-nine people! Normally it would take me an entire Saturday to show 39 people around the club if they were in groups of two, three or four.)
The three biggest benefits of a Bridal Open House are:
- Some brides feel a sense of urgency and book their date sooner rather than later because they know the event is about to happen and they do not want to the “loose” their date to some other bride.
- I charge the wedding professionals and vendors who attend a nominal fee which helps to offset the cost of the event.
- Brides get to visit with each other in a more intimate setting and “compare notes” if you will. I have often have brides that I have already booked trying to sell the site to another bride that is still undecided. How awesome is it that my own brides are also my unofficial sales team? It does not get any better than that.
You can also us this type of event to sell another segment such as golf tournaments or Christmas parties. The result of the open house? We usually have about thirty brides plus their guests making the total attendance about eighty people. I am happy if I can book two weddings from this event. (Remember, they may not book that same night, but rather want to meet later in the week to finalize the details of the booking process.)
Moving on to Wedding Seminars. Although I am no expert, I can honestly say that I probably know more about weddings than the average thirty-three year old man and many people have referred to me as the “Martha Stewart of the Fort Worth Wedding Market.” I am not sure that is true but I will accept the compliment all the same. With that said, our club hosts wedding seminars to give the attendees tips and tricks on not only how to save money on their upcoming wedding, but also how to book and execute a successful wedding reception. Of course I add my own comments and show how my club is obliviously the best choice compared to the competition.
I end the event by saying, “Well, while you are here I would be happy to show you around the club and all that we can do for you…” Any chance you have to spend time and build a relationship with a bride is priceless. Again, I am no expert, but if they ask questions about makeup or lighting I try to appear to be and if I do not have the answer they are looking for I can certainly call someone and find out. The goal is to have tem to feel as comfortable as possible in hopes of working with me in the future. The result? We usually have about six brides plus their guests making the total attendance about twenty people at the seminar. I consider it a success if I can book one wedding from this event.
Finally, a casual wedding happy hour is a simple event to execute. I usually set up a buffet with “bar food” and have a cash bar for everyone. I invite brides, grooms and wedding vendors to mix and mingle. Then I welcome them all in and work the room. It’s a pretty straightforward event and you can alter it to meet your club’s individual needs. The result? We usually have about ten brides plus their guests as well as the wedding professionals making the total attendance about thirty people. I typically do not sell any weddings at this event, but rather lay the foundation with new brides and work on fine tuning the plans of the brides we have already booked.
I host all of these events on slower days as to not interrupt our weekend schedule and when you start to host them regularly, you can help make a name for yourself as a top quality event destination. If you have any questions or comments I would be happy to hear them. I hope that helps and until next time, just keep selling!
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