There is a lot that goes into managing a wedding venue. One aspect that is often overlooked is revenue management, or yield management. It is surprisingly uncovered and consequently, uncommonly practiced process in the wedding industry. Nevertheless, it’s importance is undeniable in a unique industry where supply and demand for wedding venues change by the season, week, day… and even hour! While many currently apply revenue management to their lodging vertical, there is still plenty of room for opportunity when it comes to wedding function spaces. In this post, you’ll discover our top factors that influence wedding revenue management and additional pricing strategies… but first, let’s define it:
“Setting prices according to predicted demand levels so that price-sensitive customers who are willing to purchase at off-peak times can do so at favorable prices, while price-insensitive customers who want to purchase at peak times will be able to do so too.” — Revenue Management and Pricing: Case Studies and Applications edited by Ian Yeoman, Una McMahon-Beatti
Top Revenue Management Considerations
Popular and Unpopular Wedding Dates
According to a recent study by Zola, the most popular wedding dates for 2020 are as follows:
- Saturday, October 10, 2020
- Saturday, June 20, 2020
- Saturday, September 19, 2020
- Saturday, June 6, 2020
- Saturday, September 26, 2020
- Saturday, October 17, 2020
- Saturday, October 3, 2020
- Saturday, September 12, 2020
- Saturday, May 30, 2020
- Saturday, May 16, 2020
While it may be too late to market to 2020’s planning couples, we suggest the dates could be very similar next year — and here’s why. Highly desirable wedding dates have favored early summer and fall over the years. On the other hand, less desirable wedding dates have similarly followed a predictable pattern with unpopular dates being national holidays, superstitious days, religious and cultural holidays and major sporting events.
Quick Tip: Create a sense of urgency! Limited dates and availability can be better incorporated on websites so planning couples know to act immediately to get the last Saturday of spring, etc.
Peak and Low Wedding Season
Late spring, early summer and fall have steadily been known as wedding season and for very good reasons — pleasant weather conditions and beautiful photo opportunities! With outdoor weddings continuing to trend, it’s only natural for the couple of the hour to not want to swelter under the sun or freeze to death while exchanging their vows. Apply wedding revenue management by increasing your prices during late spring and fall when there are limited dates available and bring them down during the height of summer and winter when you have a lot of open dates.
Quick Tip: Publish seasonal landing pages for weddings! Create the experience for the couple so they can envision for themselves what a summer, spring, fall or winter wedding would be like.
Weekend and Weekday Weddings
High demand wedding dates fall on a weekend, particularly Saturdays due to a simple matter of convenience for the couple and their wedding guests. According to The Knot, however, one in five weddings has been taking place on a Monday through Friday in recent years due to potential savings and greater availability amongst wedding venues and vendors.
Quick Tip: Take advantage of this opportunity by creating affordable midweek wedding packages!
Time of the Day
Overbooked during peak wedding season? If you have the manpower and capacity to host multiple weddings a day, you could consider maximizing your revenue potential by adjusting prices for brunch and daytime weddings in relation to preferred evening and into the nighttime weddings.
Quick Tip: Think “Twilight Hour Wedding Packages”! This is the magical time that couples love because of the stunning sunset photo opportunities and romantic ambiance.
The Latest Wedding Trends
It’s also important for everyone in the industry to keep their ears to the ground in order to stay ahead of the curve and plan accordingly when it comes to the latest and greatest wedding trends. The Royal Wedding, for example, was a huge trendsetter! Trendspotting venues were able to leverage Meghan and Harry’s nuptials and create “Royal Wedding Packages” — even setting aside May 19, the day they got married, in anticipation of its popularity.
Quick Tip: Follow top wedding planning resources and subscribe to Google Alerts to be on the lookout for what’s next in the wonderful world of weddings!
The Venue and Location
Think about where you are and your unique selling factors. If you’re a wedding venue located in Florida, what’s traditionally known as wedding low season (the dead of winter) may actually be the perfect time to attract destination wedding planning couples seeking sunny and pleasant conditions in warmer parts of the country to say “I do”.
Quick Tip: If you’re a wedding venue that also includes lodging, ask yourself if your couples are typically overnight bookers. Apply revenue management to your room rates too or include them as part of the package and as a unique way of combining the wedding and a minimoon into one grand experience!
Natural Disasters and Outbreaks
On the other hand, if you’re a Florida wedding venue that’s recently been hit by a nasty hurricane, you may, unfortunately, need to lower your prices to remain competitive. Similarly, in the wake of the coronavirus, wedding venues will need to closely monitor the outbreak and get creative with their marketing and pricing strategies, as long as it continues to pose a threat to the travel and wedding industries.
Quick Tip: Not all situations are alike. Wedding revenue management is all about supply and demand. If you’re the only wedding venue still open and functioning in your area after a natural disaster, you could still maintain your current pricing.
Additional Wedding Pricing Strategies
- Keep in mind the psychology of pricing, especially bundle pricing! Planning couples opt for it assuming it’s a better deal, but really it just makes decisions and upsells easier.
- Know your ideal wedding couple! Are they interested in a luxury wedding experience or cheap pricing? Position yourselves with the appropriate language they’re looking for.
- Is there a charge couples always question? Either eliminate it and increase your price to offset it or offer an upgrade that would waive that fee. It’s better to increase your price (in a hidden way) and include things couples don’t like paying for than it is to charge for it.
- Offer saving incentives for reserving the wedding date early! It’s a win-win situation as you’ll receive a big non-refundable deposit and couples receive an amazing discount.
- Prices are one of the top things couples are looking for, but including set prices in a brochure or for public view may not be advisable. Try working with price ranges like “Starting from…” and custom quotes.
If you’re a wedding venue and now see the value of integrating wedding revenue management, White Stone Marketing can help! Many of our clients offer both lodging and weddings, and we have the years of experience needed to strategically apply pricing strategies to your business. You can also click here for some hot tips about how to market your wedding venue. Enjoy.