Whether or not you offer wedding packages already as a part of your repertoire, we are looking into how introducing them could place you in an entirely different category in the eyes of a consumer. This means reaching broader audiences and getting the most out of your offerings.

The venue. Undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any wedding day.

When searching for ‘the one’, hotels are an extremely appealing choice for a consumer. Not only do they often have licensed spaces for a ceremony, they provide stunning backdrops for sentimental photos, they’re experienced in hosting events on a grand scale and guests don’t have to worry about finding their way home as there will be an array of beds on site for those who want to stay the night… bonus.

We believe it’s the offering of beautiful bedrooms with comfortable beds that really set hotel wedding venues apart from what else is on the market. For the couple in question and their friends and family, opting for a wedding at an overnight venue allows them to extend the celebrations for an extra day or two. You may even have extra features on site such as a spa or a quality restaurant which already makes you top of the hit-list for a first-class venue.

Yishay Malkov, Chief Executive Office of Coppa Club, sees that due to hotels being a perfect wedding venue because of the added benefit of accommodation on-site, this contributes hugely to the boosted footfall and revenue of a business.

Yishay said: “While giving the couple the wedding day of their dreams, weddings are an excellent ‘showcase’ to introduce future customers to the property. Wedding guests can be from all over the country, sometimes the world – which opens up the property to new customer bases in the future.

“Guests will take a big portion of the accommodation, sometimes multiple nights, resulting in breakfasts and dinners being booked, increasing revenue in the restaurant around the wedding date.”

With that being said, combining the long lasting celebrations of a wedding, of course, makes them costly events. Hotels offering a range of packages at different price points could help to appeal to a wider audience and Yishay agrees:

“Different packages are important, but the key is flexibility, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of this more than ever.

“Weddings are not ‘one size fits all’, and we aim to understand the needs of the couple and give them the best experience we can by working closely with them on this journey.”

Ensuring your venue is present across the leading wedding platforms – such as Hitched, Bridebook, Guides for Brides – in the opinion of Yishay, is crucial in driving traffic to your wedding packages: “Organising bi-annual wedding showcases alongside regional publications to promote your offerings to a wider, local audience is also important for attracting a wider range of people.

“Finally digital marketing tactics, such as promoting the property via seasonal and targeted PPC, SEO and social advertisements. This is especially key during the peak engagement season (Dec-Mar) and during the summer months.” Added Yishay.

Before introducing the wedding aspect to your business, understanding the market, both customer and competition, is important.

The Mitre’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Carolina Smith, agrees that hosting weddings are a great opportunity to showcase your wonderful hotel to a wider audience. The team at The Mitre have found this boosts the footfall and revenue of their business because wedding guests often end up extending their stay, returning to the hotel to stay and dine and enquiring about hosting their own  private party or events because they so enjoyed their initial experience at the wedding.

At The Mitre, they offer a range of packages for more intimate weddings (9 to 40 people), as well as bigger weddings (40 to 70 people), at different price points. Each package is tailored depending on the couple’s specific needs on their special day: “We think it is important for couples to be able to make their day bespoke no matter what their budget and we feel this does make The Mitre appeal to a wider audience.” Added Carolina.

The Mitre not only focuses on the wedding celebrations, but also making sure the couple and their guests have a great experience. For example, guests receive complimentary tickets to explore Hampton Court Palace and can book a boat trip upon the River Thames, capitalising upon their riverside location. The Mitre also offers a fabulous wedding package which includes added extras such as a stunning suite for the wedding couple for the night of the wedding and a complimentary overnight stay with dinner for the wedding couple on their first anniversary to name a few. These added ‘experience’ extras are what will make a venue a more attractive choice for couples.

We asked Carolina, from experience, for venues who don’t currently offer weddings, are there any specific features they must have in order to qualify? She answered: “Location, location, location! Our hotel is located in a historical spot right next to Hampton Court Palace and the backdrop of Bushy Park and its herds of deer. The Mitre itself is housed in a Grade II-listed building dating back to 1665, it was originally used as accommodation for guests of King Charles II. The wedding couple can arrive by boat and be dropped off on our lower deck, have arrival drinks and canapés on our main terrace and have a magnificent meal in the Orangery which has glass ceiling and is a unique room with over 120 live plants.”

With the trend of micro-weddings and smaller scaled social events, The Lanesborough, London have benefited from their size as they have had an influx of more residential weddings due to the pandemic.

Antoinette Lettieri, Head of Events at The Lanesborough, sees that packages are an easy way for potential wedding couples to quickly calculate their wedding costs: “Tiering your packages does broaden the reach of potential wedding events, and our range of event spaces, from exclusive hire of our award-winning restaurant to the Grand Ballroom The Belgravia, or some of our smaller event spaces, means we can offer different price points based on which room the event is held in to suit a range of budgets.

“However, while packages are very useful selling tools, they do not allow the client to tailor make their wedding day as they are ‘tied’ to the package. From experience, prospective clients tend to tweak the packages to suit their exact requirements.”

We asked Antoinette, in her opinion, for venues which don’t currently offer weddings, which specific features should they ensure they have in order to qualify, to which she added: “Becoming a licenced venue hugely helps, as a one-stop shop venue for ceremonies and wedding breakfasts is highly sought-after. Offering an on-site wedding specialist to assist with all of your planning needs is also very appealing to prospective clients, to aid them with all of the detailed wedding planning and just be there to mentally ‘hold their hand’.”

When wedding couples are booking a wedding venue, they look for a smooth and seamless experience for themselves, but also for their guests. By being able to offer somewhere to stay, this automatically eliminates a potential woe for the wedding party.

Aureline Thompson, Social Event Sales Manager at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, knows that when a venue enters the wedding market, showcasing its event space is the first step. Since it is at the centre of the couple’s celebrations, it must appeal to prospective clients. In terms of marketing your product successfully, Aureline believes that strong photography and a clear message about the versatility of the space will help the couples decide on the suitability of the venue, and potentially encourage them to book a site visit: “Venues should also look at securing key partnerships that will help put the space on couples’ radar and reach out to new audiences. Having a wedding planner on site is also a strong plus, as couples feel that they are in safe hands and that it will take the stress away from all the planning.”

Capitalising on wedding season and peak months is important for hotels, and Aureline notices that London is a highly competitive market: “In order to stand out, venues should highlight their unique selling points and what sets them apart from the competition.

“Whether it be an outdoor space or a unique backdrop for wedding photos, it is the perfect time to shout about it and become the venue of choice for the client. Equally, having a team who is recognised and known to deliver impeccable service is one of the best assets a venue has to set them apart from the competition.”

The average couple spends about half their wedding budget on their venue — and with good reason. For hoteliers, successfully hosting weddings can be a great avenue to drive footfall and revenue for the business due to a number of factors. Firstly, providing guests with accommodation all in one venue adds up to a richer, more sociable experience. Secondly, hotels can offer in-house catering, not only for the wedding day itself, but also for the traditional next-day brunch or lunch, giving both the hosts and the guests a more relaxed and refreshing experience. These considerations also eliminate any potentially complicated logistical considerations for guests.

Lilly Krupa, Lead Events and Sales Executive at Burgh Island, agrees that hosting regular weddings can be a fantastic way to foster relationships and transform wedding parties into returning guests: “If the bride and groom have a truly memorable experience it will ensure that they come back to celebrate their anniversaries. For weddings, Burgh offers exclusive hire of the entire hotel and its private island to give a feeling of sanctuary and luxury laced with romance.”

From Lilly’s perspective, in such a competitive sector it’s vitally important to market your hotel’s assets as effectively as possible to help maximise bookings:

“One of Burgh’s greatest assets is its one-of-a-kind location, secluded on its own tidal island and offering panoramic views of Bigbury-on-Sea and the Jurassic Coastline all year round. We have therefore made sure this is one of the focal points of both our marketing to wedding planners and the weddings we deliver – be proud of what you offer!

“It’s also very important to showcase on the hotel’s website, and in other marketing collateral, the extensive experience you have of both hosting and organising weddings, making sure the material is illustrated with captivating images and glowing testimonials.”

With weddings, hotels have the opportunity to offer a broad variety of added extras. Some can be costed as part of the overall programme while others can be complementary, showcasing the hotel’s generosity on the bride and groom’s big day. Extras can range from a ‘signature cocktail’ on the wedding day, spa and beauty treatments, a bottle of chilled champagne in the room and personalised gifts from the hotel to the newlyweds.

Lilly explained: “This is one approach; however, we would also suggest that added extras can be a hindrance. Indeed, at Burgh our weddings are all inclusive, including exclusive hire of the hotel and island, wedding breakfast, rooms, the wedding ceremony, and breakfast the following day. Many establishments require additional payment for chairs, tables, linen, etc. – we simply do not do this and it is a practice that has generated overwhelmingly positive reviews.”

To round off, Lilly added: “Assessing your establishment’s capabilities and suitability to host weddings should be the first consideration. The next priority should be to ensure that all the red tape (licenses, safety procedures, staff training, etc.) have been completed.”

We hope that you feel the experts have lent a hand in ironing out some of the finer details surrounding weddings at your venue. If you’ll excuse the pun, ultimately it all comes down to getting a good reception and we have no doubt that by taking this advice on board, your business will tie the knot with boosted profits by capitalising on wedding season.