The highly competitive arena that is now the wedding and honeymoon industry is brimming with excitement. Bridal shows across the country have seen a surge in the number of attendees. And they are willing to spend! Yes, the spending might be a bit restrained in some categories, but overall, the planning that goes into this major life-stage event and the fantasy associated with it will always guarantee year-round business and income.
How to Be a Part
1. Sign up and attend bridal fairs in your region.
2. Smart planning and alliances can get you at the door and in front of this “must buy” group.
3. Find out from your hotel or destination partner if they plan to attend and ask to be the booking agent at their booth.
4. Share a booth with another partner.
5. Ask the promoter of the event how you can help promote their events in exchange for attendance/booth space.
Working the Event
1. Make sure your assigned space/booth is attractively laid out.
2. Have a sweepstakes promotion at your booth. Prospective bride/groom must fill out card with name, date of wedding, phone/e-mail and whatever pertinent information you desire. You are building your database and should get in touch with these couples within 48 hours.
3. Get the promotion from one of your partners (hotel, jeweler, travel specialist, etc.). Once you have a promotion, start promoting at least a month before the event on air, online, social networks, church bulletin, your local shopping center/mall, or just about everywhere. This is to draw traffic to your booth on the day of the event.
Finding the Bridal Shows
1. If all else fails you can use Google or Bing to find out what is happening in your area.
2. Bridal shows on the circuit that you should attend: The Great Bridal Expo is the largest with over 50 shows a year.
3. Destination Wedding Expos is a new show, but seems to be attracting a good crowd. The Wedding Salon delivers packed room. Ask your competitors and clients what show works for them.
Recommended Service Provider
To keep your database updated and provide you with a destination or hotel that goes above the norm to work with you and accommodate your guests for this memorable event, I would highly recommend the Bolongo Bay Hotel on St. Thomas.
The U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport (it is an American territory) and you have three islands to visit or choose from: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. St. Thomas is a “happening” place—great food, diverse lodging and a shopping mecca (don’t forget to visit Cardow and see the brilliant array of baubles at competitive prices).
Your clients will love Bolongo. It is on the beach, informal and run by a family of hoteliers who were born with the hospitality gene (Richard and Colleen Doumeng). Your clients will love Iggy’s, the very relaxed bar where you can hit the stage and serenade your love (karaoke) and the famous Carnival on the beach every Wednesday night. Contact Romance Director Lorie Leonard (866-933-3298, Lleonard@bolongobay.com) with queries.