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Old January 17th, 2008, 08:38 PM   #1
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Are your wedding bookings up or down?

I'm getting very nervous... 2006 was my best year ever but 2007 saw about a 20% drop in business for me. 2008 is looking positively dire for me, with fewer calls and bookings than last year. I've spoken to regional photographers I work with and, to the man, every one has said their business is down. One is getting out of the biz and another had to get a part time job. I spoke with a local reception caterer and she said far fewer people ask about video and even photography than in the mid-1990s; she says the advent of new digital technology is making everyone think they're a photographer or videographer. I clearly need to improve my marketing and networking but right now I'm in panic mode.

How are you doing with bookings? What trends have you noticed in the past 2-3 years as far as your bookings go? What marketing methods have been your most successful?
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Old January 18th, 2008, 01:49 AM   #2
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Building a web site and using Google adwords has been very successful for us.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #3
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Hey Bill,

Yeah, 07 sucked for me as well...for both my high-end company and the one that pays the bills (mid priced stuff). I usually book 6 months to a year and a half ahead and 08 looks promising but I'm not out of the woods yet.

I've talked with planners, florists, photographers etc. and they all said last year was bad. The last few days into the new year have garnered very little in the level of quality brides wanting to spend the cash for good video. I average $2500 for weddings but lately the brides want what I have to offer but don't want to pay the price.

One of my competitors dropped his prices from 4k to start down to $2500. Everyone in the business seems to be in survival mode.

My partner and I have discussed this in quite length and have yet to figure out why the downturn. I think it's just cyclical.

One thing is for sure...I'm not going to lower my prices. For what I provide in the final product and the equipment I use to shoot the brides' event is second to none in Houston.

I have also decided to use google adwords to improve my exposure in this market. We'll see how that pans out.

Tom
www.bluestarvideo.com

Last edited by Tom Sessions; January 18th, 2008 at 01:59 AM. Reason: needed to add additonal info.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 02:54 PM   #4
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Our bookings seem to be right on track if not starting a little earlier than they normally do. There s no doubt in my mind that easy access to digital equipment can saturate that market, but I think that makes marketing even more important.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 04:03 PM   #5
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The U.S. is either in or entering a recession and it ain't going to be pretty . . . these observations are just another piece of evidence.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #6
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I have to agree with Patrick that marketing is crucial. You have to be creative and network as much as possible. We have seen steady bookings for 2008 and have a couple booked for 2009.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #7
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My 2008 bookings are going strong, but this is our first year being full time so I don't have a lot of past history to compare it to.
The US economy has me a bit worried at the moment, but so far so good.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #8
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I'm actually doing quite a bit better than last year at this point, but I have low prices and have been maturing and improving my business quite a bit over where I was last year. I think it's growth due to having a better business plan than anything, and I'm not big enough of a company to feel overall economic trends yet.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 09:36 PM   #9
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I only have last year to compare it to, but I have been extremely busy with bookings in 2008 even after I raised prices drastically. I am selling more of my highest packages than I truly wanted to as well. I think the "word" has gotten out in my market that videos are a "must have" because I have been booking brides that haven't even settled on a photographer yet. Patrick was right though, gotta get the name out there.
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Old January 25th, 2008, 08:24 AM   #10
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I've noticed that our local Knot has about 23% fewer videographers than last year. But if there is a shake-out in the wedding video industry and you survive, there may be more opportunites.

As mentioned by others, talk of a recession and many people tightening their belts doesn't bode well for 2008 wedding videos. I believe we're in a very difficult position right now with the cost of new investment in HD and almost no pricing power.
Bob
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Old January 25th, 2008, 01:02 PM   #11
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Tom,
I went to your site to see some examples and found it VERY SLOW downloading (and I have a fast connection). If I were a bride out looking I don't know if I wiould wait for the download. Maybe a problem at your host?
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Old January 25th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Esslinger View Post
Tom,
I went to your site to see some examples and found it VERY SLOW downloading (and I have a fast connection). If I were a bride out looking I don't know if I wiould wait for the download. Maybe a problem at your host?
His site opened quickly for me but I have a fast cable connection.
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Old January 25th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #13
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It should be working fine now...I was updating some web pages earlier today. By the way, did you like what you saw?
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Old January 25th, 2008, 06:23 PM   #14
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Bob, It was not the site - it loaded fast. It was when I tried to view his sample videos. I could not get them to load faster than 75-100KB/s especially the love story one. HOWEVER I just tried it again and lo and behold, loaded great (500 KBS)

Tom,
Your site is quite classy and very understated. And how do you guys find couples that will act out a sitcom for their video. Too much!
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Old January 25th, 2008, 10:14 PM   #15
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Tom,
Your site is quite classy and very understated. And how do you guys find couples that will act out a sitcom for their video. Too much![/QUOTE]


They don't come arround very often, but during the interview process you discover how important thier story is to the B&G. We orignally were just going to shoot the standard love story. Then one day we had breakfast at a local diner to discuss other aspects of thier big day and the Bride started crying as she was telling me about the whole chain of events that led to her engagement. At that moment, the wheels started spinning and I suggested we do some parody stuff around the true events. Sorta did an on-the-fly storyboard on a napkin. I would have never suggested this idea if I had not felt they were up to it. You find out alot about people when you get to know them better. This particular couple loved the idea, ( not too many people in this world warm up to that kind of thing). So, for the next month of (Sunday shoots), we put an 18 minute movie together for her to be shown on a 9' x 12' screen at her reception. It also included a parody of an e-harmony commercial as well, starring "Them", afterall, that's how they hooked up. It's all about playing to ones' fantacies and vanity. Let me make one thing perfectly clear...for me, this is not entirely about producing extra revenue for the company. It's also about identifying the depth of heartfelt emotions a client has about and event in their life and then simply asking them how they want to remember it.
Some want to remember it by laying out the cash...others will try to remember it as long as thier brain cells are capable of retaining the memories.

You can't win 'em all.
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