|Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero|
So you’ve heard selling honeymoons is recession proof. Who’s not going to take a romantic getaway after a wedding, if even for a few days? Here are some tips to cash in on the business.
Cultivate your client list before the engagement. Find your millennial customers prior to December 24, the most popular day of the year for engagements. Promote activity-filled girlfriend and guy-friend getaways in places they frequent. Bars, nightclubs, the Apple store, juice bars, coffee bistros and local colleges. Highlight the amenities and services that you can deliver to them as opposed to an OTA.
Consult, consult, consult. The millennial generation is all about sharing and they’ll likely have plenty of ideas on where to go, based on what their friends have planned. They’ll also have received plenty of input from strangers online that they’ll actually be seriously considering. Andrea Williams of Exquisite Vacations, who focuses on the destination weddings and honeymoon market, recommends having an in-person meeting with the couple that lasts at least a half an hour, so you can really dig into why they want to go to a specific place. Just because their friends went there doesn’t mean it’s ideal for them. You don’t want your honeymooners calling you up to complain once they are there. As Williams says, “Who has time for complaints?” Ensure you’ve done your due diligence in determining the bride and groom’s needs up front.
Don’t forget the groom. He is exposed to just as many wedding and honeymoon experiences via his Facebook and Instagram friends as his fiancée is, and there’s no doubt something has caught his eye for his big-day getaway. Give him his fair share of attention and be ready to help him plan some lovely surprises for his betrothed to make the trip even more romantic and memorable.
Make sure the guests are happy. A destination wedding has to be palatable to those who are being invited. The allure has to go beyond just watching their cousin getting married barefoot on the sand and staying in a pricey resort they didn’t select for themselves. After all, they’re being asked to give up valuable vacation time and spend big bucks out of their budget to attend. Help your clients make their invitations more attractive by preparing a list of activities guests can participate in on their own. Then get the contact information for each guest so you can reach out to them to book their trip and activities. Better yet, ensure your contact information is listed on the destination wedding invitation alongside the announcement that you’re at-the-ready to book air and accommodations for all, tender loving care included. Have it listed on the couple’s wedding website as well. Be that third wheel every step of the way.
Hire an assistant. If you are handling a large wedding with a lot of attendee bookings, you can’t do it all alone. Reach out to the hotel and airlines you’re working with to see if there is a desk dedicated to helping you coordinate. In your own office, consider hiring someone part time to help you go over every detail of the event. If you succeed with this huge endeavor by giving everyone a seamless vacation experience, you have the potential to grow your business tenfold. That’s well worth the investment.