What happens when you reach out to wedding experts from more than 70 countries and ask for tips and expert opinion – you get a blog article that can serve as a wedding bible for the current times. When we launched the campaign “#Inittogether” we understood that the industry has initiated so many virtual platforms to support each other – it is commendable to see the way the wedding community has acted and reacted for virtual support! So it was natural to launch an initiative where all these different voices can come together and share their ideologies. This is what we intend to do with this – join these powerful voices and provide a collective platform to connect them all under one roof – very similar to our Congress! This is what this article serves to do! As long as it looks it has come straight from our heart and yours!
“The wedding Industry thrives on human contact and emotion. The need for social distancing imposed by the nature of the epidemic is perhaps the worst thing that has happened to the sector in modern times. While war and economic woes have been always challenging, there were always ways to circumvent the danger and obstacles and to grow more. Now that we are all confined to our houses, the only thing we can do is maintain hope to weather the storm until we reach clear skies.” -Elie Azar, CEO & Owner of ParAzar Productions, Lebanon
“Now is the time to think of ourselves more like the Wedding Community and not the wedding industry”, adds Elie. As a community, We are all #InItTogether! “Let’s use this time to not only support one another but teach one another to elevate the standards within the industry, collectively, to make it as strong as it can be,” says Matthew Oliver, Founder of Matthew Oliver Weddings.
So here are the top 19 tips collectively gathering with the world of weddings.
1.Crisis Communication: Honesty Is The Best Policy
“Be honest, honest with your staff, honest with your couples and honest with your suppliers. Tell them what you and they need to do to ensure that your company is going to be functioning at the end of this, whether it be asking your staff to reduce their hours, asking your couples to stick to their original payment structure or even pay an additional fee for postponing and finally to your suppliers to be there to support you on an emotional level. Don’t be silent or pretend everything is fine when it isn’t, that will just make things worse, trust in people’s good nature and it will see you through.” Emphasizes Matthew Oliver, Founder of Matthew Oliver Weddings, UK based destination wedding planner.
2. Think Long Term
Remember how you handle your customers now will have lasting effects for years, so think long term, not just in the moment, no matter how painful that feels.
My son’s company has a saying: “Do the right thing, and if you can’t then do the hard thing.”
Recommends Alan Berg, the Leading International Speaker, Sales Author, Trainer & Expert on the Business of Weddings & Events.
3. Get Your Business House In Order
“Use this time to organize your systems, sort paperwork, create canned emails, or review your client experience. Look at where things have fallen through the cracks at previous weddings or where the client experience has been a little lackluster and get creative about touchpoints or solutions that will make your business stand out from the crowd.” Shares Mwai Yeboah, Zambian born luxury wedding planner, Founder of Love from Mwai, based in the UK.
4. Keep Your Team Motivated
“Engage them with video calls at least twice in a week to just brainstorm on any topic. Conduct short pieces of training on skill development. Reflect on past projects to see what could have been done better. Ask them to utilize the time to create templates for presentations, internal detailing, new themes, concepts, designs, etc.” Shares Aarti Manocha, India based Luxury Wedding Planner, Founder of Milestones to Memories (MtoM).
5. Research New Destinations And Build Your Supplier Network
“Use this difficult time to research new destinations, get in touch with suppliers and create attractive ideas for your couples. Create a strong community network with suppliers from all over the world and position yourself as an expert for weddings abroad. Couples will want to travel again.” Says Guendalina Rampazzi, Product manager destination weddings from Switzerland Tourism. You will have an enhanced portfolio with more destinations and better incentives to offer when we revive.
6. Creating A Nostalgia
“To be now more than ever, present on social media, as clients will be spending their time thinking of fulfilling their nuptial dreams and where. To present destinations one will want to push starting from now, creating a nostalgia/longing to experience. Not to forget one’s clients also in these times, to make them feel sought after and present although business is not happening now.” Shares Veronica Pinna, Director of Sales chez Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden, Austria.
7. PR Process: Shining Diamonds In The Rough
“Remain true to yourself, your ethos and your personality. Think of this entire thing as a huge PR process for your business, if you handle this poorly, send the wrong messages out on your social media channels or treat your fellow suppliers poorly, it will be remembered. Likewise, if you offer strong communication, show leadership, and organization and let the best parts of your own persona and brand personality shine through, you will be remembered. Now is our time to be shining diamonds in the rough.” Says Emma Matthew, Founder & Director of Timeless White Wedding Planning, Scotland Based Luxury Wedding Planner.
8. Don’t Stop Sharing And Supporting
“Don’t stop, we have to continue sharing our knowledge. We must continue being inspirational. After this crisis, we need to be there and even more strong. We have to be very close to all the stakeholders asking them how we can help them. As a community, we need to support each other, and we fully trust to be connected and in touch is a must.” Says Mireia Tubau, Barcelona Weddings Product Manager from Barcelona Tourism Board.
9. Migrate To A New Organisation System
“Stay Positive in knowing this will not last and when it comes back it will be busier than ever since we will have events postponed from this season and next seasons too, so if you didn’t have time to migrate to a new organization system like Todoist or Monday.com now is the time to do it.” Shares Alejandra Poupel, luxury wedding planner from Paris, France, Founder of Alejandra Poupel Events.
10. More Value For Money
“Keep your competitive offers coming and make sure they are 150% value for money, all additions will help the couple better afford the wedding. Weddings are going to be smaller and budgets may be a key driver. Do not try and capitalize on the comeback and charge exorbitant prices aim for a win-win situation where the hotel and couples do not lose out. THIS DOES NOT MEAN JUST SELL CHEAP! Emphasizes Noreen Rocque, Weddings Director, Atlantis, The Palm.
11. Stay Connected And Keep The Referrals Going
“Find ways to stay connected virtually with your industry peers. Zoom is a great platform that can be used for one-on-one chats, group meetings, and webinars. Set up informal get-togethers where you can exchange ideas and help one another through referrals.” Adds Meghan Ely, Wedding Publicist, OFD Consulting, USA.
12. Consider Partnerships
“Especially in Destination wedding, It will be essential for the survival of many companies around the globe to be joining forces with the Main Planner managing events on another territory.
Don’t go and plan alone, even if you can…help local events planner to get through this crisis. If things get worse and you will be running out of cash, maybe it’s time for a partnership with your close colleagues that might be in the same situation.” Says Fabrice Orlando, Morocco-based Event and Wedding Planner, Founder of Cocoon Events.
13. Collaboration Over Competition
“As a community, we are #InItTogether but know you will also run into folks during this time who don’t see that and want this to be all about them. I think it is so important for all of us big or small vendors to focus on collaboration over competition. The only way we will all get through this is if we lend out our hands to help our other event partners globally on where we can pick up for them. We have all lost business, we have all postponed revenue, but in the end, it is not about all of that. Money is a mode for survival, but not something that defines you as a leader in the industry. We all must lead by example and it’s important we remember where we started and how far we have come and the journey that has come with it and the people we have met along the way. It’s time to give back ourselves to support & rebuild our peers, proteges and most of our industry.” Says Nirjary Desai from KIS (cubed) Events, USA based luxury wedding, and event planning firm.
14. Prolong The Wedding Season With New Unconventional Packaging
“Create new Wedding Packages in order that we will prolong the wedding season, at least for European countries like Greece, where for instance November still can be considered a prosperous month for weddings and events in Mediterranean countries.” Highlights Aikaterini Ntini, Rocabella Santorini Hotel & Spa, Greece.
“Listen to the needs of your couples and let them dream about their destination wedding in a new unexpected season: autumn and winter are a wonderful time to get married.” further adds Guendalina Rampazzi from Switzerland Tourism.
15. Selling Should Not Be The Main Objective
“Do not try to get new sales during this season. It’s not impossible, but it could be a little bit harder. Nevertheless, there are people already selling for winter or for next year. But if it is your main objective right now, you might get anxious if you don’t get results fast.” – Evelyn Paz from Event Flow, Wedding and Event Planner from Mexico.
16. Diversify Your Income
“Learn how to pivot. This has shown us that we can’t rely on that “one thing” to be a pot of gold for us. Start diversifying your income and revenue streams. Brainstorm new ways to get your brand noticed and hired.” Points Terrica Skaggs, Wedding Planner and Wedding Industry Educator, Founder of Cocktails & Details from the USA.
17. Go Over your Finances
“If you have not already done so, go over your finances and budget today. Evaluate where you can save money right away. Also check with your government, bank, and accountant on what financial assistance is available to you and what financial assistance might become available in the days or weeks to come. Get ready to apply for assistance or loans.” Shares Patrick Biehle, CEO of BY BIEHLE, Switzerland.
18. Strengthen Your Back-end System
Use this time to do things we didn’t have time to implement.
a. Strengthen our back end systems (For instance, Warehouse, Inventory)
b. Work on Freshening your branding guidelines (Logo, Social Media, Formatting)
c. Create look books for the upcoming season
d. Research new vendors and products
“I do believe that once this cycle is over, the markets will open up with a large inflow of weddings and events. At that time, having everything ready would help.” Highlights Krupa Khimji, Founder and Event Planner for Mosaic Events Oman.
“Challenging times offer unprecedented opportunity to improve. Take the time when you #stayhome and dive into topics and tutorials you’ve been unable to learn before. I myself am looking to work on my craft of filmmaking and also learning a new language to better serve my international clientele.” Adds Estonia based Wedding Videographer, Innar Hunt, Founder of Innar Hunt Films.
Stay tuned for part 2… To be published tomorrow…
All Image Credit: @shutterstock