With travel back on the table, many engaged couples have destination weddings on their minds. For event professionals, this trend opens up the chance to niche down and focus on serving destination clientele.
Whether that means promoting your region as a sought-after destination or offering services at your favorite vacation spot, destination weddings (and the couples that host them) have different needs and expectations than their close-to-home counterparts.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico | Destination Weddings Travel Group
Photo courtesy Riu Hotels & Resorts
Follow these steps to break into the destination market, find the couples you love, and fill your business (and portfolio) with weddings that fill you with passion and inspiration.
Lay the groundwork
Before stepping into the role of destination expert, you must first familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. To your clients, you’re not just a wedding planning resource— you’re also a guide to their destination.
Get to know the area, its cultural norms, and the legal requirements for marriage so you can inform couples with accurate information. It’s also wise to establish a reliable base of local vendors to refer to destination couples who are unfamiliar with the market.
Remember: The more you know about planning a wedding in a specific destination, the easier it becomes to earn couples’ trust (even from a distance).
Leverage your online presence
Most couples do their wedding research online regardless of where they’ll tie the knot, so your website and social media profiles must clearly state what you do and how you do it. With destination couples, it’s particularly vital to use your digital presence to communicate your brand’s value and why they should trust you.
A mobile-friendly website that clearly presents your services is a must, but think about how couples will find your site as well. Consider hiring an SEO specialist to optimize your website from the start, helping people discover your business when searching for destination wedding services in your area.
On social media, make sure your content matches the messaging on your website. Showcase professional images of past weddings and use the captions to tell real wedding stories and educate prospects about your destination (and wedding planning).
Then, help couples find your feed using hashtags that reflect your name and location, like #tampadestinationweddingplanner or #bayareaweddingphotographer. Getting specific with your keywords and messaging allows you to dig into your niche and target the couples most likely to do business with you.
Demonstrate your expertise
For destination couples, you serve as their “eyes on the ground” with advice on regional norms, recommendations for activities, and knowledge of the local wedding market. Weave your unique expertise throughout your brand messaging to stand out from the noise and present yourself as an authority on weddings in your destination.
Outside of destination-specific knowledge, be sure to provide general wedding planning guidance. Consider the topics couples care about most when newly engaged, sharing targeted advice on your platforms. For example, budgeting is an important subject for wedding planning. Providing tips on cost-saving measures will attract couples with valuable information and increase exposure.
Tap into your network
Forming a tight-knit community of local industry professionals is an excellent way to generate referral business while providing a support system of vendors who understand your destination’s market.
If you’re new to the area, reach out to others and offer to collaborate on a styled shoot or volunteer to help with a job so you can showcase your skills in the real world. For destination wedding professionals, it’s also wise to build rapport with travel advisors and tourism bureaus that connect visitors with local businesses.
Destination weddings are in a class of their own, requiring a different approach to marketing, sales, and client experience. And for those who love working with adventure-loving couples, it’s one of the best niches to explore. So take advantage of the growing demand for destination events and start shifting your brand messaging to attract newly engaged couples that want to celebrate with a wedding getaway!