Out of hours brides: How you can communicate with wedding couples 24/7

Ciara Crossan By Ciara Crossan
Uploaded 02 July 2015

Odds are you are reading this article on your phone or tablet. 2014 was the year that internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage (source: ComScore) in fact, more than 50 per cent of web traffic to www.weddingdates.co.uk is coming from brides and grooms surfing on their mobiles and tablets - I'm sure its similar for your website.

In this mobile-driven environment and with "always on" communications, how can your hotel or wedding venue keep up? Today's couples are time-poor and demanding. They want instant access to information and expect speedy response time. Brides are not willing to wait two or three days to get a response to an email - many of them will barely wait two or three hours!

Post-recession, now more than ever, there is an increasing choice of venues on the market. Hotels are competing with unusual venues such as barns, art galleries, restaurants and even sports stadia and zoos to capture a share of the weddings in their area. With so many venues to choose from, couples opt to do their research and information gathering online before selecting a small shortlist of venues.

Engaged couples will typically visit less than five wedding venues for a show-round before making their decision and booking their wedding (source: WeddingDates.co.uk annual wedding survey 2015)

The majority of wedding enquiries are sent between 7pm and 9pm - typically people browsing on the commute home, or couples sitting on the couch after work with the laptop/tablet doing wedding research together.

With events teams working standard nine-to-five hours and couples looking for information outside of those hours, how can your property connect with those couples, deliver superior service and speedy response time?

Three Top Tips
• Automate and personalise: set up a system that allows you to send out automated emails in response to online enquiries or brochure requests.  But beware of the robot! Nobody wants to receive an email that is generic in tone or quite obviously automated. Use a system that allows you to personalise with the person's name. Keep the tone of the email friendly and upbeat - they are planning their wedding day after all not booking a conference.

• Get Social: We all know social media for the hospitality industry is key nowadays and it is not enough to simply slap a Facebook or Twitter icon on your website. An active presence on social media allows you to communicate in a non-corporate way to prospective brides and reach out to them where they are hanging out. Tweets and Facebook Posts can be scheduled to appear out of hours again appearing that you are "always on" and online when your prospective brides and grooms are.

• Image is everything: Images really help sell a wedding venue and any venue serious about their wedding business will invest in professional photography to showcase all of the aspects of their venue.   And please, for the love of god say no to stock images!!  Do not underestimate the power of Pinterest or Instagram to help sell your venue and connect with your audience, these accounts can  linked to from your initial email to brides when you send the wedding brochure. They will feel an instant connection with you and it will really help you stand out from the other venues she is contacting! Viewing your gorgeous images will get her excited about your property as she anticipates the show round before you have even called her.

At WeddingDates we connect online couples with hotels and venues that have availability on their preferred wedding date. Our system allows hotels and venues to drive enquiries for their available inventory as well as automate responses to couples working round the clock as your out-of-hours wedding coordinator. We would love to talk to you about your wedding business and how WeddingDates can turbo-charge your wedding enquiry process.

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