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Capturing Your Share of the Bridal MarketMay 9, 2011 By: Jacqueline Johnson
The Royal Wedding, which captivated American audiences, will most likely encourage more couples to tie the knot. This has been a tremendous boost to the bridal industry and once again it shows what great lengths families and couples will go to, to remember that ‘special’ day.
And how do you, the travel professional, fare in all of this? What can I do to capitalize on this and add much needed revenue to the bottom line? First look at what is happening in the travel arena: A recent article in Hotel Marketing.com revealed the following:
“Not only are customers confused and frustrated by new airline fees and events, but they are bombarded by social media,” said John Clifford, president of the luxury travel consultancy InternationalTravelManagement.com. “Everyone is trying to tell you where you should stay, where you should eat, what you should do.”
A study by Forrester Research found that the number of leisure travelers who enjoyed using the web to plan and book their vacations dropped from 53 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2010. And in an American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) survey, 44 percent of agents said that they had more clients in 2010 than they’d had the previous year, with the strongest rebound in rail and hotel reservations.
Travelers “don’t have hours to spend on research to compare multiple flights, multiple cruises, multiple packages,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Forrester Research. “It’s not unlike doing your taxes. Depending on who you are, what your priorities are, there are some people who will choose to do it themselves or to use a professional.”
Engaged couples planning a destination wedding or a honeymoon, have a higher incidence of using you the agent vs. booking online.
1. Make sure your website is updated and with the necessary information.
2. Get testimonials from other couples that have used your services and prominently display this.
3. Make sure it is easy to find the information on your website.
4. Work with destinations and hotels to help promote your business and be upfront about your expertise.
5. Become a household name in your community: write for the local paper, work with jewelers, churches, synagogues and colleges.
6. Attend bridal shows.
7. Populate chat rooms with your URL
8. Join like minded groups on the internet
9. Use social networks
10. Utilize the benefits of membership in organizations
My destination of choice is Aruba. Having just returned from this beautiful island it is the perfect place to send your clients for a destination wedding or honeymoon. This destination offers it all, and with a smile. You will find some of the friendliest people here, and they are always willing to go that extra mile to make sure your stay is a memorable one.
It begins when you depart the aircraft and enter immigration. There you will get your first ‘welcome’ to the island. Want to rent a car or take a taxi – either way it is a smooth and hassle free experience.
Recommended Hotel: Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. This is a beautiful resort and no waiting in long lines at the front desk. Rooms are clean – bed quite comfortable. The staff is very well trained staff and always service with a smile.
For your honeymoon or destination wedding couple/family this is the perfect environment. There are many wedding packages to choose from, but the beauty of all this for you the agent is that with one phone call to Abigail van der Linden, the coordinator. Van der Linden may be reached by phone at 297-520-6646 and by email at [email protected] She will connect all the dots so this becomes a seamless and hassle free event for you.
I would strongly suggest that you request the 8th floor for your bride & groom or the honeymoon couple. On this floor (concierge floor) it requires a special pass key to enter and you must be 18 years and older to be on this floor. You can have your breakfast, etc. on this floor in a smaller more elegant setting with dramatic views of the ocean. A great way to start the day! Of course you can also go to the main dining room on the lobby level where you can dine closer to the beach or the pool.
While the hotel offers all amenities you will want to recommend a visit to some local places. Do recommend Linda’s for the Dutch pancakes or lunch at Zeerover where the fish is caught daily or stop at a neighborhood bar/café 080 and mix with the friendly locals. Then of course you will want to make sure after all this, your clients will head to the Mandara Spa for a much needed massage. This is the largest professional spa on the island and they are experts at what they do. Aruba offers excellent service and always with a smile, thereby providing memories to last a lifetime, and in paradise.
Jacqueline Johnson is President/CEO of Global Bridal Group, LLC, a media marketing company that provides comprehensive bridal and honeymoon guidance through interactive-target marketing utilizing the following websites: www.MarryCaribbean.com, www.CaribbeanWeddingAssociation.com, www.GlobalWeddingResource.com. For more information on the bridal market, write to her at [email protected].