A New Normal For Wedding Venues
In an attempt to better understand the “new normal” wedding venues are facing post-COVID, our team at the Lake George Regional CVB attended a webinar hosted by Wedding Pro to teach us just that. The panel included various wedding professionals and venue owners from across the country. We wanted to know what challenges our own wedding venues will face and how they can adapt? We wanted to know what we could do to help them succeed.
Have you taken the time, while in shut down, to strengthen your online virtual experience? This is the perfect opportunity to review your online experience and improve upon what is already there. And what about virtual tours? This is something we have stressed to our local venues, primarily in the meeting and sporting destinations, as a way to showcase their properties to potential clients who are unable to visit at this time.
The same concept is essential for wedding venues. The world is online now more than ever, properties will need to improve how they display their venue virtually, as more people prefer to plan from their homes.
You may notice a small shift in your clientele as people are not traveling over long distances quite yet. Instead people are taking day trips, staying closer to home. Places they might have visited in the past and are familiar with, but maybe haven’t been in some time. As a result, many of our venues will need to adjust their marketing strategies. As you see this shift, consider putting more time and money into marketing to the local crowds, in the 3-4 hour or less range. The Lake George area is a beautiful destination to get married. More and more locals will consider having their wedding here as opposed to traveling with a large number of people elsewhere. And with just a short drive from New York City, Boston and Montreal, it makes it the perfect time to focus marketing into these regions.
How are the financials of weddings going to change post-COVID? This is going to be a “wait and see” as venues adapt to their own best practices. But, we have seen some changes being made to help clients feel more at ease. With less income for many Americans, many couples are postponing or cancelling their wedding in 2020. That said some venues have adjusted their policies to reduce the amount on an initial deposit and include additional smaller payments at a later date. Other venues have adjusted to four equal payments, giving more flexibility to clients while keeping cash flow coming into the business.
To comply with state mandates, smaller events might be a good option for some couples. Less people attending means saving money on food and drinks than if they were to have a big event.
Other couples might not want to cut down attendance on their big day. So how do you enforce social distancing? One idea was to seat by household, if you separate your attendees by household it may help control who interacts with who. Plated dinners are a great way to keep guests seated, or you can release them by table to maintain distancing.
Now, what about dancing? Is it the venues responsibility to manage who is dancing with who and if they are six feet apart or not? With a good DJ, you can find unique ways to distance the guests while still having all the fun. Have the DJ call certain tables to the dance floor at varying times, make a game out of it to keep spirits up.
One last idea is the sequel wedding, which is something we are hearing of more and more. This is for those couples who want to keep their original date but still want the big reception with all their family and friends. Simply put the couples have a smaller, more intimate ceremony on their original date, but then have their big reception sometime down the road, when it is safe to have those large gatherings. Not a bad option if you ask us!
We hope you found this information as interesting and informative as we did. Let us know if you think this is something you will or already have incorporated into your venue by emailing at email@example.com
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