With over 2 million American couples opting for this tradition, the coming together of a man and woman in marriage generates niche markets for every service provider, from the photographer who shoots the event to the travel agents who book the wedding or honeymoon. Once the vows are completed, rings exchanged and gifts given, more than $62 billion will have been spent on celebrations of love and marriage.
Once a couple gets engaged, they go on a shopping spree—more than ever before. Engaged couples buy more in six months than a settled household does in five years. In the process, they develop new brand loyalties.
The marriage/honeymoon market is a year-round business, so the opportunity to make money is also there throughout the year.
Today’s brides want their ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons to be different. They are taking the traditions of weddings past and using them as a blueprint to create their own personal day.
With a generation that has grown up with computers heading to the proverbial chapel, it is no surprise to see the surge of wedding websites. Surfing aficionados or not, brides now have free personalized interactive information at their fingertips from budget-makers to etiquette experts, to honeymoon destinations.
Travel Agent’s Role
How does that affect your response to these couples? It is not your traditional holiday-booking. You are now dealing with couples who are in the midst of a life-changing event and expect you to take this trip of a lifetime seriously.
More importantly, today’s couples are tech-savvy and would have searched all print and electronic media to find the latest, best and most affordable. How do you handle this possibility that they are as much part of the research as you are?
1. First and foremost after you receive the call or the visit, you will want to establish the fees. Yes, fees! The few things in life that are now free most require the attention of a doctor. So yes, you want to establish a fee for the information that you will provide. Perhaps you could create an incentive that if the trip is booked with you, you’ll give some discount or a gift.
2. You must come across as a serious professional who knows his or her stuff. The last thing a couple would like to hear is “hold a moment while I look it up”. If you have to look it up you do not know the destination or the property.
3. It is imperative to know the legal process of getting married in a destination, have all the necessary contacts at the hotel of choice or with service providers in the destination.
4. After you’ve asked the right questions, likes, dislikes, budget, number of guests, lifestyle, etc. you can forward this information to your service provider in the recommended destination or hotel.
5. A good hotel that caters to this market (and believe me they all do!) will take over the event, and keep you informed by the written word. Again, the written word. You must at all times get everything in writing. If it is not in writing, it never happened!
Travel agents are a necessary part of the booking process and can influence the selection of the destination/hotel by a newly engaged couple. In addition, an agent can also influence the cost of the honeymoon/destination wedding by the amenities and type of hotel presented/recommended. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that the agent be well-informed about the destination and the hotel, and this lucrative recession-proof industry.
No other niche market offers more commission opportunities than this one once the agent understands the mindset of the couple.
Recommended Service Provider
At the end of each article, I will provide you with the contact and necessary information on a hotel that does it right. That is, make your life easier, streamline the process and have your commission “ready to go.”
My feature recommendation: The Half Moon Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Contact information: 800-339-9728, [email protected]
Myrtle Dwyer, along with her skilled staff, knows how to do it right.
For on-time, safe, clean and dependable transportation, contact Rachel Anderson (876-953-3810, [email protected]).
For queries or comments, visit my website, www.MarryCaribbean.com. In the next feature, I will provide you with tips on how to tap into this market.