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Old October 5th, 2009, 07:56 AM   #1
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How To Get Bookings

We were asked how we get booking, here is a sure fire way:

Participate in all the Wedding Shows you can afford !!!!
Since we started we have booked no less than 5 show from every event. This past Sunday 10 weddings booked at the show, contracts signed deposits collected. This last show had 575 brides in attendance.

We do not do ANY print advertising.

When at the show be ready to book and have your ducks in a row. Ask for the booking, you would be surprised how many(brides) are ready to book at the shows they attend. Have your contracts ready to be filled out out. Sounds like a simple thing but some guys don't even bring them to a wedding expo.

If you decide to a wedding show here are some tips:

Have a great demo.
Rent a large screen TV if you can afford it to display your work.
Have contracts with you.
Have your pricing with you.
Cookies at the booth are a great way to have people stop and talk we got them from the best baker in town.
Dress for success, we were in full tuxedos.
Ask for the Booking!
Allot of this sound easy but one guy at the show had a 12 inch TV look like it came from his garage. This is 2009 isn't it.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 08:30 AM   #2
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I disagree that it is a sure fire way. It all depends on a number of factors. (1) The Market, (2) Your Product, (3) Your Price point, (4) Quality of the show, (5) Demographics

When we first started over 5 years ago, it was appropriate for us at the time to invest in the bridal shows and we did every one of them. Primarily we were looking for exposure. Exposure among potential clients and other wedding professionals.

As our prices increased, the benefits of a Bridal Show decreased. This is for our market and it may be different in another area.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 10:48 AM   #3
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I have to side with John. Not one bridal show since 1996 and business has only improved. Much depends on your pricing and location. I would offer that networking with industry professionals has helped more than any other method.

A volume shop may do well at the bridal shows, but I'm much happier with a smaller number of referred clients. If a recommendation comes from outside, then half of your 'sales work' is already done.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 05:45 PM   #4
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Hi Guys

Interesting facts!! I must admit I have never attended a Bridal Expo as here they always seem to schedule them on a Saturday and Sunday and I'm usually working!!!!

They have to be cost effective for me too and the smallest stand you can get here would probably set you back $2000 before you even begin!!! I would need a booking or two just to cover costs..never mind my time!

Just for interest, what category of bride would you say is most likely to attend Bridal Expos??? The ones looking for sub $2000 wedding videos, middle of the range or high end???

John seems to indicate that the high end clients are least likely to attend.

Chris
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Old October 5th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #5
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different areas are going to get different results. I hadn't done a show for many years, earlier this year I did 2 and got zip from them but a friend of mine got great results from the shows he did (not the same ones).
In Chicago we have 2 different companies that put the shows on. One is definately better than the other as far as attendance but the price is higher also.
Around here to buy a single booth is around $900 but then add promo material you're going to hand out etc and it's about $1200 to $2000 depending on your materials.
Like I said I hadn't done a show for around 5 years and now I remember why.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 07:43 PM   #6
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For me the jury is still out regarding the effectiveness of doing a booth at a bridal ball/expo/show, but I did manage to barter booth space in exchange for providing video clips of the fashion show and other vendors being interviewed. We only had around 50 brides at the show, which was to me a really low number, and no sales (although I didn't plan on closing sales that day anyway). Hopefully I'll still get a call or two when it's all said and done.

Glad they are working well for someone - our area seems to have a lot of shows and not as many brides right now.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 04:21 AM   #7
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This is a very interesting thread not least because it shows the variety of experience we get in all parts of the world.

The Wedding Fair business (and of course, for many organisers it is a business) in our experience in the UK divides into three sections
a) the big regional or national shows,
b) the local shows organised purely as a business by a company and
c) wedding fairs organised by charities, newspapers, hotels, radio stations etc at which the organisers have
an interest themselves in more than simple profit and/or numbers.

We have tried them all.

We no longer bother with group a) eg G-Mex in Manchester, since the participation costs are at least 2,000 ($3,000) plus the costs of decorating your stand and the items you’ll give away (our demo packs we estimate to cost 1 ($1.50) each). Our average distribution was about 400 over the two days. The organisers are only interested in numbers not quality which attracts a large number of traders selling wedding nick-nacks. These trader their stands with youngsters paid almost nothing whose role is simply to funnel the traffic flow into their stand and away from the others nearby. The only mitigation is that the catwalk shows at the biggest shows are generally professionally staffed and choreographed and the doors are open for six - 7 hours each day at a weekend.

With typical costs of attendance in group b) between 200-300 ($300-$450) for a table and a power socket (if you bring your own extension cable and nobody gets there first) these shows, almost always on a Sunday and usually lasting 4 hours, shows in this group are becoming very expensive to justify. We used to expect to dispense 120-150 packs to interested customers. More recently two at which we took space yielded 40 potential purchasers and at one the second catwalk show was cancelled due to lack of interest. The dresses in the catwalk shows in this group are invariably modelled by amateurs who have little sense of
movement or rhythm and for whom the dresses are either too large or too small. We continue to attend one or two of this group at which the numbers and quality have remained firm and positive, otherwise we’ve dropped them.

The final group is our favourite. Costs are reasonable, typically 50-100 ($75-$150) the catwalk shows are no better than in group b) but the shows are often held without a catwalk show at all, with no loss of attraction. In a typical 4-5 hour shows we’ll regularly dispense 120-170 packs to people who are interested. This still gives us time to chat with those who want to talk. We attend probably 10-15 of such shows each year, mainly in the Autumn and Spring.

Our stand consists of two 22" HD monitors mounted one above the other on a single column stand. Each shows a different repeating HD programme running from a WD media player and repeating every couple of minutes. The programmes are heavily titled so it doesn’t matter which monitor is playing sound. The table is covered with packs and signs encouraging people to take a pack if we’re busy talking to other people. We have a 6ft roller banner and an easel-mounted A2 advertisement to give the table some vertical attraction.

Our base objective is to get the demo pack into the hands of every interested couple. We don’t expect to take bookings on the day but for people to watch the demo at home and then decide. We dress in Morning suits as we do for weddings which are dressed that way and generally attempt to express in a holistic way the overall professionalism of our product and our business.

Of course, even within group c) there are better and worse fairs which you get to know over a period of time.

Apart from these fairs we rely on referral and our heavily optimised website which is on p1/2 of Google for almost every keyword important to us.

This is the best way we’ve found but I’d be interested to learn what works for others.

Last edited by Philip Howells; October 6th, 2009 at 04:24 AM. Reason: layout
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Old October 6th, 2009, 06:06 AM   #8
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re

I have a wedding fair on Sunday, I have rented a 42 inch for free (friend) , got two 6 ft banner stands with words and a large photo of bride I filmed with her veil flowing in the wind. I shall have packaging out on display, demos, cards and so on, this is the first one I have done.

I shall report back and let you know if I get booked there and then.

Luke
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Old October 6th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Oliver View Post
I have a wedding fair on Sunday, I have rented a 42 inch for free (friend) , got two 6 ft banner stands with words and a large photo of bride I filmed with her veil flowing in the wind. I shall have packaging out on display, demos, cards and so on, this is the first one I have done.

I shall report back and let you know if I get booked there and then.

Luke
Luke, may I make one more suggestion to your excellent arrangements? Don't stand behind the table - acknowledged bad move in selling. Stand customers side which also gives more room for people to get at you. Tough on the feet, good for sales and image.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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SYracuse NY

Syracuse NY show had 600 brides, attended well, 5 weddings booked at the show. They do work well if your promoter is good.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #11
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I wouldn't agree that if you show up to a bridal expo in a snappy tux that you're suddenly going to double your business. That's your personal experience for your market and for your business model, but it doesn't mean it applies to everyone.

I'm not sure it's necessarily bridal shows but marketing in general that works. You've just got to figure out what marketing works best for your region and business model.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #12
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When I first started the business, I placed an Ad in Yellow page. There was only 1 phone call for the entire year. And it didn't even go through.

Now I also ask brides to write some review online for us about our service such as yelp.com, weddingwire.com, and some other bridal forums. Those seems to be very useful. But the most important part is, you have to do your job well. I have zero unhappy customer. It's also because of the internet, if your work sucks, people will know.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #13
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I'm with John on this one, I think once you are past a certain price point the shows are a flop. For us 99% of our bookings come from Planner/Photographer referrals and simple Google searches, SEO can be very important.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Guys

Interesting facts!! I must admit I have never attended a Bridal Expo as here they always seem to schedule them on a Saturday and Sunday and I'm usually working!!!!

They have to be cost effective for me too and the smallest stand you can get here would probably set you back $2000 before you even begin!!! I would need a booking or two just to cover costs..never mind my time!

Just for interest, what category of bride would you say is most likely to attend Bridal Expos??? The ones looking for sub $2000 wedding videos, middle of the range or high end???

John seems to indicate that the high end clients are least likely to attend.

Chris

Chris:

It's my opinion that your higher end stuff is not going to come from bridal show clientele. Any of our 5K, 6K and up clients never found us at a bridal show. This demographic has the money to spend, they know what they want and they go get it. Also, they are likely to be using a wedding planner or several wedding planners. Will you book some weddings from a bridal show, probably but our experience has been that the higher end stuff is going to be referral based or via the web. Again, I'm not saying the shows are a bad thing or they are a waste of time, it all depends. Marketing should always be a multi prong approach and creative marketing.
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Old October 6th, 2009, 12:37 PM   #15
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I can give you a good example of what John is talking about. This weekend we did a high end event that had 6! coordinators and 800 guest. We personally had worked with 3 of the coordinators before and they knew us and liked our work. One of them had referred us to the bride and the other 2 backed her up and Vola we got the gig. Now if you can get dozens of planners to like you then you are in business!
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