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Romance & RevenueMay 12, 2010 By: Jacqueline Johnson Travel Agent
A winning combination for travel agents
The biggest challenge in any company or category is reaching new customers and increasing sales. One event that triggers purchasing more than every before or ever again is becoming engaged: getting married and being newlywed. This event will cause the couple to spend more in six months than any settled household will spend in five years.
Weddings/honeymoons generate niche markets for every service provider and travel agents that specialize in this market will find a constantly regenerating marketplace. No other market provides a constant flow of new opportunities like the bridal market. In addition you have the opportunity to brand them for life so they return to you for all their travel needs, guaranteeing a steady stream of new ‘perfect customers’.
There is a 12–14 month window of opportunity to book this business, so you must always be responsive in fulfilling their requests. Whether it is a destination wedding or honeymoon, the revenue from this one booking will far exceed that of a leisure traveler.
With over 2 million marriages per year, this is a year round market that should provide additional revenue in the ‘soft’ season.
Word of mouth in this market is of extreme importance, as the average number of visitors at a wedding is about 160, and a positive experience with a Service Provider will generate more visitors to your business.
More than the Wedding Itself
The wedding is only one area to generate business. First you will want to find out from the couples you are working with who else in their circle are planning to get married. An engaged couple usually know two or three more friends/associates who are planning to tie the knot.
Again, it is not just the wedding anymore: Think of sending the groom away for a long weekend to celebrate the bachelor party: of course the bride and her friends will want to go someplace else for her bachelorette party: then there is a spa weekend: weddings are stressful.
For a destination wedding, you can earn additional revenues by booking restaurants, activities, post wedding brunch, bridesmaid luncheon, rehearsal dinner and the final breakfast/brunch/luncheon or dinner to thank guests for attending.
Do remember, that a wedding and honeymoon is a lifestage event, and regardless of economic constraints, they simply want the best. You have the responsibility to navigate, advise and inform this new traveler of the choices made, the implications of a poorly planned event, and the lack of knowledge of deciphering the “Free wedding/honeymoon.”
It is after all a once in a lifetime event (even if they are repeaters). Treat it as such and you will be rewarded with a customer for life.