It’s amazing how popular destination weddings have become, even for those getting married for the first time. Many hotel companies have made it very easy to have an amazing ceremony on their beaches or in the ballrooms and the appeal in the marketplace has been long lasting. It’s not just a fad. Destination weddings are here to stay.
To ensure your clients have a fantasy experience, you’ll need to select the right luxury hotel for their dream wedding. Be sure that the venue wants the business and has the infrastructure setup in-house to deal with your clients’ every single need. If you start to get the feeling that the entire wedding is becoming a burden to your contact at the hotel, move on and find a truly luxury establishment that wants the business. Make sure you’ve made the right choice in selecting the hotel before your clients have signed any paperwork or put any money down. This is a lucrative piece of business for a hotel and they need to show you they want it.
When planning the luxury destination wedding, you need to follow all of the rules that apply to arranging an amazing honeymoon, and much, much more. Be sure your consultation rate is on par with the amount of time, intelligence and effort you’re putting into this task, because by the time all is said and done, you’ll feel as if it’s your firstborn who has gotten married. Destination weddings mean you’re now dealing with families and friends who are attending.
Ask to handle their travel arrangements very early on. You’ll have some clients who want to book their own trips, but if you prove that you’re capable of saving them time, and possibly money, you’ll likely get their business. Work with your consortia or the supplier directly to see if you can offer the entire wedding party value-added amenities, such as free breakfasts or transfers, perhaps a spa treatment or two. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to create true value for the attendees, or your consortia may have a hotel program in place that automatically includes such amenities. Be sure you make this information available to your clients very early on; they might even be able to put the information into their wedding invitations or on their wedding website. Ask for attendees’ e-mail addresses so you can contact them directly with what you will be able to do for them.
You’ll need to find out what the family dynamics are from your couple prior to moving too deeply into the process of planning a destination wedding, which is akin to plotting out a family reunion. Who doesn’t speak to whom? Who shouldn’t receive a welcome bottle of wine in their room because they no longer drink? You’ll need to ask candid questions but your betrothed clients will be better off with your pre-planning tactics.
If you’re serious about getting into the destination wedding business, consider hiring someone on your staff who has party planning or event planning experience. Those who have done this are good at asking the right questions and they know the pitfalls one can fall into. Also, consider someone who has worked with moving groups around. After all, you might have a party of 50 that is staying at a hotel for three days, and you’ll need to set up meals and activities that they’ll want to enjoy together. Someone who understands logistics is just the person you’ll want to have on your team, even if it’s on a freelance basis.
How do you keep everyone happy at a destination wedding? Clearly, the bride and groom come first, it’s their event. But who is actually paying the bill for most of the events? It will go a long way if you make sure the parents or grandparents (who may be sharing the cost as well) are especially seen to by the hotel staff. Recognition goes a long way.
Do you have a lot of children attending the wedding? To create a truly luxury experience, don’t just provide information on what the child care center has available; instead, work with hotel staff to customize experiences based on each child’s interests.
That’s a lot of work, but happy children make for happy adults and you may end up with quite a few clients for life if you pull off a number of impressive feats during the destination wedding.
Consider yourself on stage here, auditioning for a part that will bring you major profits for the next 20 years of your career. Be sure you’re shining at your brightest.