Help with the Romance Market

Our friend Jacqueline Johnson shares her expert advice in selling wedding travel in her first column of the year. Enjoy.

Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

I am also delighted to help you understand in the coming months a bit more about the wedding and honeymoon markets and the positive impact they can have on your “bottom line.” As we embark upon a new year, most of us have made some sort of a resolution, whether it is for business or pleasure. If it is to develop an additional revenue stream for your business, there is no better avenue than the romance market.

First, let me provide you with a brief overview of statistics from the Wedding Report.

2010 Wedding Market Forecast

Estimated number of weddings: 2.16 to 2.18 million
Estimated average spending per wedding: $20,000 to $22,000
Estimated number of guests: 135 to 145

Weddings occur year round—there is no seasonality. It is a great way to have guaranteed income throughout the year. Some of you may think there is too much drama associated with this event. I am here to tell you it can be the most rewarding aspect of the travel industry and, with the right hotel or independent partner, a breeze to handle.

Hence, my column will take a single topic each time and provide you with the  “how to guide” in becoming part of this process. I will also provide you with the necessary connection to help you understand how you can streamline this process and not get involved in the emotion or drama that surrounds this life-stage event.

First and foremost, you must remember this is one of the most important milestones in a couple’s life. It is not a vacation and should never be treated as such—the language you use, the ability to put an emotional person at ease (yes, one party or the other will be emotional). They are embarking on a journey that will change their lives forever, and during this process they will have countless interference from family and friends.

By the time they call you to select a destination or hotel, they would have fought with the in-laws/family over the location over the dress, number of people attending the wedding, cost and a host of other things. Your job is to be the professional. Know your product, know your product. Know your hotel or destination partner. Develop relationships, do fam trips, know your product, but most importantly listen to and understand the needs of your client.

Today’s couples are savvy online purchasers and you want to make sure you do not waste your time providing valuable information and then lose the sale to the internet. Think of yourself as a doctor. Can you make an appointment without the receptionist at the end providing you with details of what the proposed visit will cost? You are a professional, set fees and charge for your services. Perhaps you can offer to refund a portion of the fees if they book with you.

The honeymoon and wedding are not the only avenues to increase your financial portfolio. Think bachelor/bachelorette parties, weekend getaways, special events, spas, the development of line extensions.

I look forward to taking this journey with you and would be delighted to answer any questions you may have.

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