Destination weddings have grown substantially in recent years, and the key to attracting a greater market share for your hotel is publicity. Securing coverage in top wedding and travel outlets like Destination Weddings and Honeymoons, Conde Nast Traveler and Elegant Bride will increase exposure, bookings and profits.
Weddings occur year round, so this is an excellent way to boost occupancy in off-seasons. Media exposure is key, so finding top media savvy travel public relations agencies that are connected and selecting one with whom you are compatible is vital.
Couples and their parents spend thousands of dollars at both resorts and nearby properties that offer exclusivity and allure. Destination weddings are an excellent way to put heads on beds, and rack up food and beverage tabs.
Work with travel PR firms that can get maximum exposure for your property and attract more of this lucrative business. It is wise to select an agency that is highly experienced, and don’t hesitate to ask to see clippings that illustrate their track record in this valuable niche market.
Interesting and offbeat places, classic resorts and city hotels are venues where couples want to get married. Wedding planners have often become integral to the process for busy Millennials so they are your market too. Displaying what you offer in coveted blogs like StyleMePretty.com will draw attention and as a result, customers.
Hi-Impact Images Are A Must
Compelling images in prominent media outlets are crucial to garnering the attention you want from couples-to-be as they browse the web. They will also drive traffic to your website, getting you onto page one of Google. Martha Stewart Weddings, Vogue, and Bridal Guide are very selective about what they feature, but they are golden if you can get covered by them.
Here are twelve trends to keep in mind:
1.Long Wedding Weekends
Couples today will plan everything from rehearsal dinners that include everyone who’ll attend the wedding to a lavish reception and formal sit-down dinner following the ceremony. Often, they will include a breakfast the morning after. They are also looking for group activities to add more fun to the whole affair such as bridal party spa treatments or mini golf or tennis tournaments. Weddings are now a long-weekend affair.
2. Millennials Have Imagination When It Comes To Weddings
Stiff, formal weddings are out and couples are looking for unusual, relaxed settings. They are creative and want to make the weekend fun for their guests. Your property’s wedding planner should offer unique aspects such as unusual décor and cuisine. Then the Millennials go wild sharing their experience on Instagram. For instance, my daughter and son-in-law used the hashtag on Instagram #LizandJedWed so everyone could search easily to see what their guests are posting. The resort gets plugged here so that is an added benefit.
3. Cuisine Can Be Family-Style But Elegant
Family-style dining is a big trend today, and couples want to out-do their friends when it comes to the actual dinner. Family-style restaurants which offer wholesome cuisine that looks wonderful on the plate has sparked their imagination. My own daughter had long tables in an antique barn in Vermont where guests dined. Lively conversation and fun was the order of the day. This encourages mingling and a chance for people to meet and greet relatives and friends of the bride and groom. Make sure your wedding planner works with the couple’s photographer so you can promote the wedding in media outlets, with the couple’s permission of course.
4. Spa Days – Time To Relax and Detox
The wedding party will undoubtedly want pampering after they arrive at your property. Your wedding planner should work with the bridal party and their guests to book treatments in advance. This is a necessity, since they will undoubtedly be in high demand. Of course, this is added revenue for your hotel. Guests often crave a massage afterwards or mud-wrap to detox after the night of celebration. If you get your spa covered by outlets like Organic Spa and Cosmopolitan, that will add credibility and demand
5. After Parties – The Night Goes On The now-married couple wants to party-on with the hard-core after the dinner at a local pizza parlor or disco. Make sure your wedding planner can offer suggestions and arrange this. If yours is a resort property, you might offer blankets on the sand and candles where guests can relax after dancing the night away.
6. DIY – Millennials Love the Handmade
When my daughter was married, we made teacup succulent gardens, and a tag was tied with a ribbon showing their assigned table at the reception. I was surprised to see the guests leave with the little gift when they started the journey home. Everyone loves the personal touch. Take pictures and post on your Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram pages for added mileage.
7. Beaches Are In Demand
Beaches offer a romantic ambiance when decorated with elegant torches and ribbons on the chairs for the ceremony. These are relaxed, natural environments where the wedding party and guests can feel secluded and private, in a peaceful venue, far away from the maddening crowd they’re often accustomed to back home.
8. Jungles Are In Too!
Rainforests and eco-friendly resorts are big trends today, and also new and inventive places for a small wedding. Millennials are big on nature and there is nothing better than hearing birdsong in the background during the ceremony. Your property is likely to have a clearing to create a place for guests and the couple to gather. Our boutique PR firm has worked with lodges in Belize and St. Lucia that are creative in offering such locations.
9. Social Media
Instagram and Pinterest are preferred social media for exposure for wedding weekends, so make sure you are posting to your property’s website. This gives the resort instant coverage. Furthermore, Google is indexing social media so it’s a super way to get hits to your website, and future weddings!
10. Wine and Spirits
The foodie culture is huge with Millennials, so they will want to sample your suggestions for wines and spirits that will be served at the reception and dinner. Make sure to respect their budget by offering drinks that are reasonably priced. When it comes to Champagne, French is great, but there’s also Prosecco from Italy and plenty of options from the California vineyards.
11. Important Documents
The hotel property must be fully informed on the mechanics of hosting a legal marriage. Make sure your wedding planner has a checklist of documents the couple must bring with them. Be sure you check with local government on what is necessary.
12. A Wedding Coordinator Is Essential
These days, it is very important to have a staff person who can work throughout the process with the couple and their wedding planner, if they have one. Often the bride and mother-of-the-bride will make a trip to the hotel to plan the details. Your chef should be on-hand to offer suggestions for the menu and provide tastings.
Weddings are huge revenue drivers for your property so it makes sense to dedicate a portion of your PR campaign to this effort. Ask your public relations agency, particularly if they are a NYC PR firm, to arrange visits for your general manager to sit down with editors in the city and brief them about what’s happening in weddings at your hotel.
The bride-to-be, mom, and the maid-of-honor frequently read blogs. So while they take more work, it is wise to reach out to those outlets to write about your hotel and what you offer. Write content for the bloggers which they can run as is, or use as background to write their own posts.
We are experts in promoting hotels and resorts to the wedding market. Give us a call at 212-941-9247.
# # #