Are you aware that 90% of marriages today are situated within the millennial age bracket? (Source: Splendid Insights) No matter in which part of the wedding industry you are involved, you are surrounded by millennials!
Millennials so vastly outnumber Gen X and Baby Boomer couples that if you are not specifically focusing how you should sell, market, and promote your business to millennials, you may be missing out on the largest client base available to you.
However, while most couples are of millennial age, most wedding vendors are from a slightly more senior age bracket. This generational gap can sometimes result in disconnect.
In order to entice this media savvy and often fickle generation, you must first understand who they are. As a former events manager at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills (and a millennial myself), I have seen this disconnect first hand. Here are five insights that will help you close more millennial sales.
Ditch the notion of their sense of entitlement
Let me start by saying that the millennial couples I work with are not all entitled young adults who feel that they deserve everything handed to them with little or no effort on their part. Most have worked very hard to get to where they are. They graduated college during the recession and have developed and thrived in their careers during challenging financial times.
Often the innate curiosity of this generation is mistaken as questioning authority or thinking that they know everything. Remember, millennials are actually one the most highly educated generations to date.
After working with hundreds of millennial couples at the Beverly Wilshire, I know first-hand that they are a caring, well-researched group of consumers who are curious to learn and understand the ‘why.’
Think less like a hired vendor and more like a mentor
Instead of a traditional planner many millennials are looking for a “planning mentor.” Millennial brides are not looking for someone to dictate to them how to plan their wedding, but instead are craving a meaningful relationship not unlike that of a mentor to mentee.
The millennial bride may spend a crazy amount of hours and time on her phone pinning, Instagramming, watching YouTube, and tweeting, but she still craves meaningful relationships offline in her daily life.
In the age of social media, authenticity for Postmoderns is characterized by a consistency and continuity between their online personas and their lives in the real world. The more congruence there is between the two, the more authentic the Postmodern appears to be. —Forbes
Even in my day-to-day, I had to adapt my sales approach when working with millennial couples. I realized that when I took the time to sit, listen, and talk through their questions and concerns, I was more likely to make the sale and create a lasting positive relationship with the couple.
It’s not all about what the bride wants
Another important aspect to understand about this demographic is that these couples care very much about their guests’ experience. They want their wedding guests to have a memorable experience and they also want to be remembered as a wonderful host. When you are working with millennial couples, make sure to articulate how your services will provide a memorable guest experience.
Marketing to millennials is all about team
Are you marketing your wedding business in a way that also shows your personality? Exhibiting yourself as a caring team partner is your greatest asset to this group. This actually ranks higher than how up-to-date your website is, the strength of your social media presence, or even how many awards you’ve won in the past.
70% of couples will hire you based on your personality. —Splendid Insights
This is because millennial couples deeply want a personal relationship with their wedding team. You are assisting them with one of the greatest celebrations they will ever have.
Millennials value honesty and transparency
While working with wedding vendors, I’ve had to convince many of the value in conducting their businesses differently. Gone are the days of wedding planners hiding their vendor team. No more cloaking your trade secrets. Millennial couples value honesty, transparency, and co-education.
Consider not only sharing pretty pictures of events you have previously executed but also invest in tools that can help to educate couples going through the sometimes stressful wedding planning process. You have the ability to share many small nuggets of information will gain the trust of wedding couples, without giving away your value.
For example, take time to educate couples on why a particular wedding lighting package suits their requirements most effectively versus handing them a good-better-best cost package will greatly increase your likeability and potential to book with this demographic.
When this is done in a genuine and honest way, a couple will immediately recognize your value and want you on their wedding planning team.
Lauren Randolph founded My Hotel Wedding in 2012 based on her decade of experience as a wedding planner and catering manager for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts at the world famous Beverly Wilshire. “Working at the Beverly Wilshire I worked with wedding couples daily. What I learned is that most had no idea what to ask or how to go about the process.
"I realized that millennials are different than other generations. We’re curious and we want mentorship, organization and transparency. The couples I worked with didn’t need a wedding planner as much as a teammate or a mentor to interpret the hotel’s communication and help them make sure they got what they wanted.
"I started MyHotelWedding.com to give helpful information from my experience on how to work with a hotel to book a wedding. Since we started we’ve gained more than 640,000 unique visitors, proving that this is exactly the kind of information that millennial brides want and need.”