10 mistakes wedding venues are making

Show Notes:

Today I am addressing the 10 mistakes wedding venues are making and how to fix them. Whether you work in a venue, own a venue or are working as a wedding pro, this episode is for you. I cover a wide range of topics from pricing to show rounds and everything in between.

Want a training session for your venue team? Get in touch.

Time Stamps:

Not being transparent on pricing (00:00:00) Becca discusses the importance of transparent pricing on venue websites and the impact on couples’ decision-making.

Hidden costs (00:02:40) Becca emphasizes the negative impact of hidden costs and the importance of upfront pricing to avoid surprising couples.

Complicated booking or inquiry processes (00:08:59) Becca highlights the need to simplify and streamline booking and inquiry processes for better customer experience.

Poor customer service interactions on reception (00:11:05) Becca discusses the impact of front desk staff on couples’ first impressions and suggests ways to improve customer service.

Signage or poor arrival instructions (00:12:46) Becca emphasizes the importance of clear arrival instructions and signage for a stress-free experience for couples visiting the venue.

Negative culture amongst staff (00:17:08) Becca discusses the impact of a negative staff culture on customer experience and suggests ways to address it.

Recommended supplier list (00:18:52) Becca talks about the importance of regularly updating and refreshing recommended supplier lists for venues.

Refreshing Your Supplier List (00:19:54) Importance of regularly reviewing and updating the recommended supplier list for venues.

Proactively Engaging with Local Wedding Professionals (00:20:46) The significance of building positive relationships with local wedding professionals and organizing events to engage with them.

Creating Opportunities for Local Wedding Professionals (00:22:41) Hosting networking events and photo shoots at the venue to engage with the local community and professionals.

Selling the Dream Experience (00:24:36) Emphasizing the importance of providing a positive and memorable experience during venue tours, similar to the wedding day.

Visualizing the Dream Venue Setup (00:27:11) Strategies for helping couples visualize the wedding setup, including open events and using visual boards in each room.

Avoiding Over-Apologizing (00:29:01) The impact of over-apologizing and how to focus on positive features rather than highlighting the venue’s shortcomings.

Emphasizing the Positives (00:32:35) Turning potential negatives into positives and proactively addressing any objections during venue tours.

Recap of Venue Mistakes (00:33:25) A summary of the key mistakes venues should avoid, including transparency in pricing, customer service, signage, and supplier list management.

Transcript:

Becca: Have you ever had an experience at a wedding venue where you thought, why are you doing that? But you’ve had to bite your tongue because it’s not really your place at the time to say anything. I have this experience all of the time when I go to venues. So I’ve been taking some notes in my phone and today I’m going to be releasing them and sharing them with you.

Whether you work in a venue or not, there’s going to be something in this episode for you as I share 10 mistakes I see wedding venues making. I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you’re listening to the Wedding Pros Who Are Ready to Grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level.

If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business, doing what you love, then you’re in the right place. Let’s get going with today’s episode. As we start this episode, it’s important that I say that none of these are directed at any particular venue.

I’ve visited venues up and down the country and across the world, and these are just some of the common experiences that I’ve encountered and I want to share with you today. Now, you may think that this doesn’t apply to your particular venue. That’s absolutely fine, but hopefully there’s some things in here that might just make you as a wedding venue owner or worker a twice before you do it next time.

Even if you don’t work in a venue, I think there’s something in here that’s going to help you as well. So number one mistake I see venues making all of the time is not being transparent on pricing. Now I’m going right in at the deep end here because I know it can be controversial to talk about pricing on your website, especially in the venue space.

But I always say, I’m hanging my hat on the fact that you should have some kind of pricing. Now when I go into venues and do days with their team, quite often I’ll do a sales or marketing training day with a venue team. One of the exercises I sometimes get them to do is to go and price up a wedding at their own venue using just the venue website.

Because even if you work in a venue, it’s surprising that when you try and do these things with just using the website alone, like a couple would, it Well, the numbers don’t always add up. I’ve been in venue teams where almost every different person has come up with a different figure for a wedding on the same date of the year, which shows us that our pricing isn’t clear, consistent, or transparent.

Now, when couples are planning their wedding, it’s hard to know. And the venue is usually the biggest expense and one of the most complicated things, because every venue displays their prices differently. Sometimes you might have a dry hire price. Some people, it may include food. food packages, different beverage packages.

It can be so complicated. So the clearer and simpler you can make it for your couples when they are looking at your website, the better. So why not try and get your team to do this exercise themselves. And even if you’re not a venue, this is a great exercise to do. So get date and then work out, okay, if I was getting married on the 20th of July 2025, how much would it cost me?

And see if you can get that number, not from anything you know previously or from your, the back of your mind, but actually from your website. Or get a friend to do it, someone who knows nothing about your business, and get them to go onto your website and see if they can come back with a rough estimate or guide price.

This will tell you how clear your pricing is. We get lost in our own websites because we go on them all of the time and we understand our businesses. So getting someone outside of that to go through and let you know what they find is really important. This is where example pricing and packages can really come into their own as well because you can detail everything that’s included for the price rather than just giving a random price.

I love it when venues have pricing guides for different years or they explain this is the price for the hire and then you’ll pay for the food on top. Here’s some example food packages but I just I urge you to be transparent. If you’ve got no prices on your website at all, I guarantee you are losing people who aren’t even speaking with you because they probably don’t think that they can afford to work with you.

Now, if that’s the vibe you’re going for, if you’re trying to put people off, then stick with it. But on the whole, I believe that today’s couples want some idea on pricing before they spend their time coming to visit you or getting on the phone with you or asking for more information. So how transparent is your pricing?

That’s the first question I want you to think about. And trust me, there are so many venues where the pricing is not transparent, or it’s so complicated that no one’s ever going to be able to work out how much it costs. Okay, mistake number two, and this is a real bugbear of mine, and I know it is for a lot of couples as well, having hidden costs.

This kind of moves on from the transparent pricing thing into a new category. I hate it when there are hidden costs that you’re not expecting that just pop up. It is much better to be clear and upfront about any additional costs right from the get go rather than surprise your couples with them. down the line.

It may be that they have to book certain amount of rooms in your venue, for example, as part of the deal. Well, make sure that’s either included in the price that you give them, or you’re really upfront about that from the start. Now, this is top of my mind because I recently stayed in a hotel and the lack of transparent pricing and the hidden costs.

Let’s just say it was a little bit frustrating to me. So I booked the room. I paid a lot of money for the room for myself and the kids. I agreed the price with them and then they contact me to say, Oh, sorry, we forgot to tell you have to pay extra fees for having children. Well, that’s going to frustrate me anyway, because you’ve given me a room price.

Why am I paying extra for my children? Now that was the first hidden cost. I then had to fork out the extra to have the kids in the room. Well, they also said the breakfast was included in the price. Now we are very used to in 2024 looking because we don’t always expect breakfast to be included.

Sometimes when you book a room, it’s not included. Sometimes you pay extra for breakfast to be included. So, you know, we’re savvy customers. We know to look for it. But they were very clear that breakfast was included. And so I was like, great, that price includes breakfast. Now we went down for breakfast on our first day at said hotel and they pandered us a breakfast menu.

Now I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels, a lot of them. And my kids have stayed in quite a few as well. And one of the things they love about having breakfast at a hotel is the big buffet and the fried rice. Breakfast. The full English breakfast. So we sat down, we looked at the menu. I noticed there were pancakes on the menu.

I noticed there was a full English on the menu. I thought we’re all going to be happy this morning. This is great. Breakfast is done and paid for. Then I noticed that at the top of the menu, it said if you choose any items from this menu, you incur a 5 surcharge. I didn’t get it. Why are we doing a 5 surcharge for something standard like a full English breakfast?

Now, if you flip to the other side, you could see things that you could get included for your free breakfast. But again, this just left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. This isn’t a great way to do business. Now, if they had never given me the side of the menu that said there was a 5 surcharge and they just gave me the free menu, I wouldn’t have even questioned it.

I’d have just ordered something. off there, but they’re dangling it in front of you to try and make an extra 5. But for the extra 5, I really don’t think it’s worth it because of all the negative conversations that your customers are going to be having over breakfast, like we were. You know, if costs of going up, I get that, but why not include it?

as part of the deal. Just put the room price up by five pounds, even 20 pounds to cover it so that people can have whatever they want for breakfast. It’s a bit like that old example with delivery. You know, it’s something psychological about something being included rather than feeling like you have to pay extra for it.

So you can go online to say eBay and someone might be selling an item and you can get the item for 10 pounds, but then you need to pay five pounds delivery and something in our brain says, I don’t want to pay 5 for delivery. However, if we come across exactly the same item for 15 but the delivery is free, suddenly that feels more appealing.

We don’t like paying the extra. Obviously, it’s exactly the same amount of money, but there’s something about it being included that makes us feel better. So, if you’ve got these complicated, hidden costs, extra things that you’re charging people for, question why that is. Is it worthwhile? Are you being clear about when that is and why that is?

Or is it something you could actually just buy? Bump your package prices by and include it. in there. People don’t like hidden costs. Keep it all transparent. Okay, the third mistake that I see venues making, and quite honestly, quite a lot of suppliers as well, is having really complicated booking or inquiry processes.

Now, I think that this is a particular problem in a lot of venues, because what happens in venues is staff turnover. I get it. It’s hard. You’ve got new staff coming in, new staff going out. And what happens is these inquiry systems and booking procedures get added to and amended over time. Maybe you’ve inherited.

them from a past employee, and we don’t actually take the time to step back and review them. This is again, something that I do often if I go into a venue team and do a training day, we actually review the funnel process, we review the inquiry process and we look at how we can streamline it. Because quite often I’ll go to a venue where you’re getting them to fill out a form online, they fill out the form and then what happens is the venue team get that form and then immediately send them an email with another form to fill in.

It’s all things that have been historically happening over time actually are just not the most convenient. We know that today’s couples want efficiency, they want things quickly and easily, they don’t want all the back and forth, they want answers and they want it now. So if you realize that maybe you’re booking Procedure is a bit complicated.

Maybe you’ve inherited it for someone else. Maybe it’s time to look at streamlining it. Now, the best way to do this, I think, is to get a piece of paper and literally physically write out step by step, everything that that couple has to do from finding you online through to actually booking with you and see how many steps there are and are.

Are there ones you can combine? Are there ones you can remove? Are there pointless steps where you’re making people have to do something when they don’t actually need to? Because the more steps you have, the more chances you’ve got of losing them on that customer journey. We want to make it streamlined.

We want to make it efficient. And as I said before, venues can often be the ones with the biggest problems with their processes. So have a look at your process. Can you simplify it? Can you automate any of it? And can you streamline it? Okay, number four on my list of mistakes that venues are making, poor customer service interactions on reception.

Okay, let me explain this in a bit more detail. I’ve met a lot of wedding and events coordinators, wedding teams, and on the whole, you’re all super lovely, you’re super friendly, you’re really interested in talking about weddings, and I’m sure your couples have an amazing experience. with you. However, sometimes it’s not you that’s letting the team down because imagine a couple, they’ve booked a tour with you, they’ve booked to come and talk to you about the venue, they’re coming into your venue and the first person they speak to might not actually be you or one of your wedding team.

It may be the person on the reception desk. And I have had my fair share Fair share of people being rude to me at the front desk. And this is not the experience you want to show your couples. These people are letting you down immediately because they’re giving the couples a bad example. They’re giving them a bad vibe about the hotel before they’ve even managed to have a conversation with you.

you. So how can we overcome this? Now, the best thing that can happen is if you know, they’re coming at a certain time is for you to actually be there ready in reception to greet them. That way you’re skipping out the front desk staff and going straight for them. They’re getting the most amazing welcome.

You’re giving them the wow factor and you’re expecting them. Now, I know this isn’t always possible, but where it is possible, I really recommend doing this. Be there ready to greet them. If not, why not have a conversation with your front desk staff about how you want your couples to be greeted. Give them some ideas, talk to them about how important it is for the sale, and get them on board.

Because when all the team members are on board with the same things, we’re much more likely to have a good result. So if you know you’ve got three or four couples coming in for a tour that day, Go find out who’s on the front desk. Go chat to them, explain to them, we’ve got these couples. It’s really important.

We need to make sure that they’re really welcome. So as soon as they come in, give them a big, warm welcome, talk to them about the hotel, give them a drink, whatever it is that you want them to do. So are you finding that customer service on the front desk is letting you down? Implement some of the things I’ve suggested.

Whilst we are on the discussion of people and couples coming to tour the venue, let’s talk about mistake number five. Now, this is actually taken from a real experience of a couple that I knew, and I wanted to share it with you. And that is this, poor signage or poor arrival instructions. When you drive to your venue, you drive there all of the time, you know exactly where it is, you know where to park, you know where the front desk is.

However, again, having been to multiple venues in multiple countries and places around the UK, I can tell you not all places are created equal. A lot of our wedding venues are in the middle of nowhere, quite often the parking is not near the front desk, sometimes it’s not easy to find the front desk. And the easier we can make this experience for the couples, the better.

Now, have you ever had an experience where you’re going to meet someone or you’re going somewhere new, maybe you’re running a bit late, you feel a little bit stressed, you feel a bit anxious, and when you can’t work out where to park or where to go, what happens is our stress and anxiety levels go up. Go up.

And this is not how we want our couples to arrive. We want them to arrive relaxed, excited, looking forward to looking around your venue. So, how can we overcome this feeling? Because it is important. My friends that I mentioned, they went to tour a venue and they were They couldn’t find where they were going, the signage was terrible, they were so stressed that they basically wrote the venue off before they’d even had the tour.

And it wasn’t because the venue wasn’t good enough, it was because of the how they were feeling when they entered that venue. So what are we going to do to overcome it? Well, the first thing is making sure we’ve got really clear instructions for our couples. Before they come. So when they book to come and see you, if your venue is particularly difficult to find, make sure you tell them that right up front, explain to them the best way to get there.

Perhaps give them a what three words code so they can find the exact pinpoint location to find you, or make sure you give them the right postcode. We know that not all postcodes take us to exactly the right place. So if they don’t make sure you explain that the better the instructions, the easier it will be.

Maybe there’s a landmark that. is easy to spot you by. For example, I stayed in a cottage recently and they said you go down this road and when you get to the 30 mile an hour sign on your right hand side you turn into the driveway. It was so clear and we knew as soon as we got there exactly where to go and we didn’t make a mistake.

Without that very vital instruction I think we would have been driving around for ages. So look at your venue from an outsider’s perspective. How easy is it to find them and how can you make that easier? I’ve also seen venues who have created really short videos just detailing how to find the venue. A little video that their couples can watch, which shows you the entrance, then takes you to where you can park and then how to find the front desk.

Very simple to record. It could even be a reel that you put on your social media, but it just eliminates that feeling of them not knowing because you send it to them up front. Front. Now the other thing is to make sure you’ve told them ahead of time where to park because again you don’t want them getting there and not knowing where to park.

If you can reserve them a parking space somewhere, even better, but explain to them you just need to come in, park on the car park on your left, and then follow the signs to the front desk and explain you’re there for a wedding show round and one of us will be there to greet you. Okay, let’s go. That brings me on to signage.

How clear is the signage in the venue? Is it clear where to park? Is it clear how to walk to front desk? Do you need more signs? Again, get someone to do it who is your friend or family member or try and do it yourself without the current knowledge you have and see how easy it is for you to find where you’re going and to get yourself to the front desk.

Desk. We want to make this process as smooth and as simple for our couples as possible. And we don’t want all of these different hurdles getting in the way and putting a bad taste in their mouth before they’ve even come to the venue. So is it clear how to find you? Are you giving them instructions or a video to make that process easier?

Are you explaining to them where to park? Is there great signage? And is it easy for them to find the front desk or the meeting point where they’re meeting you? Okay, my next mistake, number six, is again from a personal experience, and it is a negative culture amongst staff. Now, if you find yourself in a situation where the culture has become really negative, this is actually quite difficult to overcome, but it’s not impossible.

However, if you can start from fresh with a great culture amongst your team, it’s always going to be easy. better. So what do I mean by negative culture? Well, let me give you the example. So I was in a hotel recently and I needed to go to front desk and ask them about refreshing some towels in my room. So I went to the front desk and I stood at the front desk and there was no one at the front desk.

But what there was, was a couple of people kind of in the office and they were A little bit behind the front desk area. And I could hear them talking. They did not know I was there. They there was no one there to look at me, and I was kind of started doing that thing where I like make a few noises to try and alert them to the fact I was there.

There was no bell or anything to ring. So I just stood there patiently and waited. But they were having a conversation. And unfortunately the conversation they were having was not appropriate because they were moaning about certain members of staff. They were swearing about them. They were moaning about their manager and I had my son stood by me.

So he heard that bad language and all they were doing was moaning. And then one of them realized I was stood there and popped out behind the desk and suddenly became friendly, friendly customer service facing. However, the damage had already been done. It wasn’t exactly a good example of the hotels for me to hear people moaning about it right in front of a customer facing thing.

Just because I couldn’t see them didn’t mean I couldn’t hear them. So Are your staff or are your staff members happy and content in their jobs or are they moaning about it? Are they moaning to customers about it? And if they are, what can you do about it? We want to make sure that our staff want to work at our venue, that the culture is positive and that we remind them frequently about the fact that we need to be positive facing.

If we’ve got a gripe that we need to bring it to our manager, not discuss it in public areas because all of these things have. So do a little review about the culture at your venue at the moment. Do you think you have a problem with this and is it something that you need to nip in the bud right away?

And even as wedding professionals, we need to think about the conversations we’re having that couples or their guests may overhear. Let’s not be moaning about each other publicly. Let’s not be talking about people behind their back. None of these things are good for business and they’re just not particularly nice traits for us to have.

Instead, if we’ve got an issue, let’s raise it in a professional way and not in the earshot of any guests. Okay, moving on to number seven. The next mistake that I see venues making is regarding their recommended supplier list. Now, I love it that venues recommend suppliers. I don’t like it when you say that they have to be the ones that are used.

I don’t think that’s good for the couples. I think it limits their choice. However, I do think it’s good to give them a starting point, a list of people that you know work with the venue well, that you recommend, and that you would sing praises about to the couple. And it’s great for suppliers as well to be on those lists.

We know that it leads to work. However, one thing I see happening in quite a few venues is Is that you’re not regularly refreshing or updating that list. Often you might’ve inherited a list from a previous employee, or maybe you’ve got people on your list that have been on there for 10 years and you feel some kind of obligation to them.

But actually, if you want to be serving your couples well, you need to Your duty is to keep that list refreshed. When you are giving someone the contact of a recommended supplier, you are actually recommending them and you need to be confident and happy in your recommendation. Otherwise it’s going to look bad on you as a venue.

So when was the last time you looked over your list? Have you checked that they’re all still in business? When was the last time they worked at your venue? When was the last time you had a conversation with them? Are you still happy to positively recommend them? Have you had any complaints about them or any differences?

I’ve come across venues that have had people on their list that are causing them no end of problems, but feel like they’ve got to keep them on the list. You don’t. It’s your recommendation list. It’s up to you what you do with that. So if someone is causing you problems and is not willing to change, then go out there and find some new people.

There are so many professionals that would love to be on your recommended list and would bend over backwards to be on there. Okay. So stop. putting up with people who you feel obliged to have on there, but go out and find some fresh new faces. As I say, your recommended list is you recommending these people.

So it’s important that you’re confident in that and that you go and review it regularly. Now, this leads me straight on to mistake number eight, which is venues not proactively engaging with local wedding professionals. If you are not doing this, you are missing out on. on a huge opportunity. I see the venues that work closely with their local wedding pros doing so much better.

This is a really positive environment to create and also it leads to more work for everyone. Venues, don’t get lazy about this and feel like you are holding all the power because I promise you your local wedding pros will have an opinion on your venue and they will be sharing it with people. They’ll be sharing it with their couples and they will either recommend you or not recommend you.

So it’s really important that you have a good relationship with the professionals in your area. You want local professionals to be saying, you’ve got to go and work at X venue. It’s amazing. You need to go and visit it. The team are incredible. They’ll bend over backwards for you. Definitely go and check it out because all of these positive remarks are going to lead to you directly having more sales.

So what can you do to proactively engage with your local wedding professionals? Well, why not put on an event? I sometimes host networking events or go and speak at these events at venues where you basically put on an event, maybe a little bit of nibbles, maybe a few drinks, and you just invite local wedding professionals to come in and enjoy an evening at your venue.

It gives them a chance to see the venue. It gives them a chance to meet the team. Sometimes I’ll go and give a talk at these events. And it gives local professionals an opportunity to come and experience the venue for themselves. Now, not only are they going to get to experience the venue, they’re also going to start posting on social media.

Chances are that they’re there. It’s going to give you more visibility. They’re going to talk about it to other people. And it’s actually quite simple for you to put something like this on. You as a venue have the space available. It doesn’t need to cost you a lot of money. You just need to invite local people to come along.

You can do it to thank your current list of suppliers. You can do it to try and meet new suppliers as well. Well, invite everyone along, get them along to the venue, and you may find that there are some people you’ve not met before. Maybe there’s a service you hadn’t thought about recommending before. It is a really positive way to engage with your local community.

The other thing is to consider whether or not you’re happy to have a photo shoot come and happen at your venue. Again, you’ve got the space. And Supplies are always looking to organize styled shoots and often they need a venue to do them at. So why not welcome people in on a quieter day of the week to come and do a photo shoot for you at your venue.

Not only are you going to walk away with some great business relationships, but you’re also going to get some great images. Now, one thing I would say is if you are going to have people come in and take photos at the venue, Make sure you’re involved at least at the beginning to check that stylistically their plans are going to match what you want from your venue, that you’ve got a similar ideal couple, because you want to make sure these images they create are then able for you to be using in your marketing.

And if they’re totally off brand, it’s not going to work. But in principle, opening up your venue doors when things are a little bit quieter and letting people in to take photos is a great way to build relationships and to get some great marketing images too. Let’s move on to mistake number nine and this is venues not selling the dream.

Now picture the scene. I arrive at your venue on my wedding day. I’ve maybe just come from the church or the registry office. I’ve got married and I’m turning up in my lovely car. What experience am I going to get from you and your venue team? I guarantee you’re going to put all the stops out. Perhaps my car can pull up right outside and park right at the front.

I’m going to walk straight down, maybe a red carpet, walk in. I’m going to be greeted straight away, congratulated and handed a glass of something lovely that’s probably been pre planned. Perhaps you’re going to take my coat. Perhaps you’re going to show me where to go next. You are going to make me feel like a million dollars on my wedding day and your team are great at doing that.

Now picture the next scene. I turn up to come and look at the venue before I get married. I can’t find anywhere to park, it’s raining, I’m looking around, I get to the front desk, someone’s a bit rude to me, they sit me down, they tell me to wait for you to turn up, you then turn up and come to speak to me, you greet me, then you ask if I want a drink, off you go for 15 minutes making me a drink while I’m just sat there with my husband to be, feeling a little bit awkward, and then back you come to show me round.

Now, these two experiences are very, very different, yet they’re both happening in your venue. So how are we meant to sell a couple that amazing experience on their wedding day by giving them the subpar experience on the day that they come to visit? If you really want to convert more people on a show round, you need to give them the wow factor that they’ll get on their wedding day, even on the day that you show them around.

Now imagine instead that I’ve booked my show round You said to me there’s a VIP parking space right outside, please feel free, pull up and park in that, walk straight into the venue. As I walk in, you are already there to greet me, to say hello, you know me by name. As I walk through the door and see you, I see you’ve also got a glass of Prosecco in your hand, which you hand straight over to me, so that I can sip it as I’m looking around the venue without having to sit awkwardly waiting while you go and make me a drink.

There I am. Suddenly I’m feeling a million dollars. Maybe there’s even a sign on reception that says welcome to Becca and Matt as they come on their tour, whatever it is. All right. Give people an amazing experience and they will remember it. And you’re going to start your tour off so much better. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to find ways to give people the wow factor rather than the awkward arrival factor.

Now the other way that I see venues not selling the dream, and I understand this is hard, that’s when a couple comes to tour your venue, but it’s set up for a completely different event. So maybe it’s set up for a conference, or maybe it’s set up for a funeral, you know, it’s set up for something totally different than the hotel.

is using it for. Yet you’re trying to sell this space as a wedding venue. You’re trying to show them the dream. You’re trying to show them how amazing it will look on their wedding day. And it can be quite difficult for them to picture that. Now I know this because when I go into a house to look around a house and it’s a fixer upper, I find it really hard to see the bigger vision.

Some people find this easy. All I can see is what’s in front of me, the holes in the walls, the wallpaper peeling off. I find it really hard to picture what it could be in the future. So this is the same for your wedding couples. It’s hard for them to picture how it could look at a wedding when what they see in front of them is anything but.

So how can we overcome this? Well, there’s two ways you can do this. One way is to have kind of open events each month when you try and do the most of your tours and you have it set up for a wedding breakfast or a wedding ceremony so that they can actually see an example of what it could like look like.

on a wedding day. Now obviously you may not be able to have this set up all month round but if you’re trying to get as many tours as you can and having them all on the same evening or the same day you are able to create this kind of setup for that. Now if that’s not possible for you or your viewings are a bit more sporadic than that, then what I have seen a venue do really well is create these.

Beautiful boards they have in each room that they show their couples to. So when the couple walks into that room, there’s this beautiful board that they’ve created. It’s on an easel like you would have a table plan on at your wedding. It’s all branded pretty, and what it has is a. A couple of large pictures of that room that you’re stood in, dressed for a wedding that’s obviously been taken previously, and some important information about that room.

So for example, you walk into the library, it’s got a picture of a ceremony set up in that very library, underneath it says, Rejoice Licensed for ceremonies, up to 100 guests seated, also suitable for drinks receptions for up to 150 people. Now what this does is although they can’t see the vision immediately in front of them because you’re using the venue for other purposes, they can see what it would look like.

They don’t have to imagine it because the pictures are right there. You’re also not having to give them loads of information because the information is easy for them to digest and is right there for them. So as they tour around and they go into each of the different rooms, they can see these example pictures.

And these example boards clearly available for them. And this works really, really well. It’s a simple thing for you to implement, but it means that your couples can see the dream and you’re selling it to them straight away. The other mistake I see venues making at this point is over apologizing. And this is when maybe the venue is being updated and isn’t quite ready yet, or maybe you’ve got it set up for the wrong thing, or maybe it’s a bit messy.

And what you do as a venue coordinator, as you’re showing someone around, is keep apologizing. I’m so sorry this room isn’t ready yet. I’m so sorry it’s a bit of a mess over there. Now when you do this, you think you’re doing this to apologize, but what you’re actually doing is highlighting the problems that are there in front of you.

Try not to do that. Don’t go look, it’s such a mess. If an area is a mess, tidy it up before people come around. And if you haven’t had a chance to do that, don’t point it out. Instead, you should be pointing them towards the positive features. So for example, if a room’s halfway through being decorated, make sure you’ve got a picture available of what it’s going to look like when it’s finished.

So you can say. You can see we’re partway through decorating this. This is great news because this is what it’s going to look like by the time you get married here. That is so much more positive than saying to them, I’m so sorry that we’re in a mess at the moment. You can see that we’ve got a renovation going on.

So please, please, please stop over apologizing. Okay, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this episode, but I have one final mistake that I want to share with you. Number 10. talking too much about the negative aspects of your venue. Now, again, this could be applied to both venues and wedding professionals, but I do see venue teams doing it quite often.

And it’s another thing that I do if I come and do a training day for your venue team, I will often get you to think about your competitors and all of the things that they do better than you. Because quite often as a venue team, we know that we’ve got competition down the road, and perhaps they’ve got.

bigger grounds, maybe they’ve got more accommodation, maybe they’ve got bigger spaces, and we’re very well aware of the competition and what we think they do better than us. And quite often we can accidentally slip that in when we’re having conversations with our couples and we show them the negatives.

So we might say something like you can come out into the courtyard to have drinks. I’m sorry, there’s not a lot of space here, but we do make the most of the space we have. Can you see how that’s got a really bad connotation? Another example might be, oh, sometimes our guests find it really hard to get here.

I hope you didn’t struggle. Right? Don’t share those negatives. Yes, I’ve told you to explain how we, to find you, but make it simple and easy. Don’t talk about the negatives. Don’t say, guests sometimes find it hard to get a taxi home at the end of the night. All of these things are going to put negative ideas in your couple’s heads.

Instead, we want to make sure we’re shouting about the positive. positives of our venue. Don’t think to yourself, Oh, our venue is really small compared to the one up the road, which is massive. Instead, celebrate the positives. The great thing about our venue is that it’s intimate. It’s cozy. Your guests can stay together.

You’re not going to lose people wandering off around the venue. It means that we only ever have one wedding at a time. So you can be sure that you’re not going to see any other guests, any other brides or grooms on your wedding day. And you’ll have a really cozy, intimate setting for your day. Twist the things that you think are negatives and work out how to sell them as positives.

Share the positives. Overcome their objections when you’re talking to them about your venue before they even come up. So if you know, for example, that quite a lot of people complain that you’ve got no accommodation on site and there’s nothing you can do to change that, don’t wait for them to ask you about it.

Turn it into a positive part way through. The tour. So you may say something like this is a great space for your guests. This is where they go in the evening. As I’m sure you’re aware, we don’t have any accommodation on site. However, we’ve got great links with a local hotel down the road. Our guests love staying there.

It means they got somewhere peaceful to go at the end of the night. If grandparents want to go home early, they don’t have to worry about the noise of the wedding because they’ve gone to a totally different space and we can help you sort out transport or taxis to get your guests there. Overcome the objections.

Talk about the positives. Stop focusing. on the negatives. Hope you found it helpful to think through some of these mistakes that I see venues making. I can tell you it’s been very cathartic for me to finally get that list off my phone and share them with the world, even if I couldn’t say them to the venue at the time.

Let’s quickly recap all the things we’ve looked at in today’s episode. One, make sure you’re being transparent on your pricing. Secondly, do not have hidden costs that people don’t know about. Stop charging a surcharge for a normal breakfast. Just include it in the room price. Thirdly, have you got too complicated an inquiry or booking process?

Is it time to streamline it? Four, what is the customer service like from other members of the team on the front desk? Is there a way that you can cut the front desk out or can you make sure you’ve got them on board so that all of your couples are getting a super friendly welcome? Five, what’s the signage like at your venue and how easy is it for people to find you?

Is there a way to make that super simple for them, perhaps recording a video or giving them some really clear instructions ahead of the day? Is there a negative culture in your venue? And is that impacting? Do you need to do a reminder to your team about the impact that might be having? And are we contributing to that culture by moaning about things ourselves in front of potential guests or in earshot?

Seven. Are you refreshing your supplier list regularly? Which brings us on to number eight. Eight, which is making sure you’re proactively engaging with local professionals to keep that supplier list tip top and up to date. Number nine, are you ensuring you’re selling the dream or are you giving people a negative experience of your venue?

Even though on the wedding day, it’s going to be incredible. And number 10. Are you ensuring you’re talking about the positives and not focusing on the negatives? I hope this episode has been super helpful for you. If it’s brought up any questions that you want to know more about, why not drop me a message on Instagram or by email?

And if you are a venue listening to this and you like what I’ve said, and you think, actually, I’d love to get Becca in to do a whole day with my team, looking at some of these things and doing some of these exercises, then reach out. I’d love to chat to you about how I can come into your venue to help you.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next time.

Becca xo

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