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Old October 9th, 2010, 01:44 PM   #1
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Partnering with Venues?

I've been asked by a venue to consider being included as their "feature videographer" in their wedding packages. Does anyone currently do this? What sort of guidelines did you set up? From what I've heard in this forum, almost all of you (including myself) do not offer referral bonuses. Not sure if this place wants that, but I wasn't sure if anyone who partners with a venue sees that as a different situation than getting the occasional job from a vendor.
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Old October 9th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #2
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Michael, I regard such an invitation, provided it isn't hung around with payments etc which, in my view negates everything, as a substantial bonus.

For us it has two main benefits. Firstly it means that a relevant organisation endorses your product and the professional way you go about your work. Secondly, it associates you with a supplier the potential client already feels kindly towards and that gives you a measure of the venue's prestige and kudos.

We are preferred suppliers to a church and four hotels. That means four venues distribute our demonstration packs and, in the case of the church, restricts other companies to a single camera at the front but allows us two.

In addition we are selected participants by three organisers of wedding fairs (two hotels and one department store) at which access is free to invited suppliers. One is the Manchester city centre store of a major UK department store chain which also carries a double sided ad for us in their wedding supplier reference book.

In my view these arrangements are even more valuable than referals by brides - at best the bride only compares you with a couple of other producers, even if she actually remembers the others she discarded; in contrast the venue selects you from every other producer they see. If you get the chance, I'd grab it with both hands.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 03:58 AM   #3
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Philip.
You seem to have some incredibly generous hotels and stores in Manchester. Everyone in my region who contacts me with regard to being referred by them wants a payment. Most hotels and wedding shops are commissioning, or are being approached by, PR companies who take over their wedding promotion. I have had a few hotels who refer on an informal basis but that usually depends on cultivating a personal relationship with a key person at the venue. I hasten to add it's a professional relationship. And that usually ends when the person moves, or the hotel is taken over by new owners; this happens very regularly here.

I have only once paid to be included in a hotel's wedding promotional package. It had been supplied to the hotel at no charge to them by the PR company financing it from charges to those companies and individuals who were included. When it was delivered the wedding coordinator didn't like it and stopped using it after a very short time and commissioned an other company to create a new one.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 04:29 AM   #4
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George, I don't think we're exceptional - we just spend time and effort on our marketing. The department store is Debenhams (you must have one near), one hotel is in a prestige national chain, the other independent and the church - well just a church but, due to a literary association, in high demand. In fairness we do pay an annual fee to be in their website but so do others who don't have the same relationship or facilities we do.

The reason all of them selected and invited us was because they'd seen us work (or in the case of the store, seen us promoting at wedding fairs) and decided that we were professional enough to match their own requirements.

I know we're considered unusual because we wear morning dress if the client is (and of course it costs money) but it obviously makes a statement about us which others pick up on.

Equally we have a two-disk demo pack which, with the other brochures etc, tells people enough about us to convey a clear impression of the way we do our business. And it's not cheap - we reckon the demo pack now costs us towards 1.50 each. Of course, the principal reason for choosing us must be our programmes but the way we go about making them, our client questionnaire (16 pages of questions which is, in our view, the key to getting 80% acceptance of the first edit), the way we present the programmes for approval, accept reasonable requests for changes and overall deliver the best value we can is all part of the package. We include a chart which not merely invites but encourages people to compare us (fairly) with our competitors. How many other do you know who are prepared to do that?

And it pays off in other ways - a prospective client who doesn't want to pay our price but has seen and declined three other people is seeing us tomorrow about his wedding in November. On the phone he asked "Is the quality on your demo the same as we'll get or special for the demo?" It was very satisfying to be to tell him that it would be better than the demo - because our demo clips are more than two years old. One is distinctly soft (I was seduced into lowering the bitrate for a parsimonious client who didn't want to pay for dual layer disks - something I will never do again) and we've also since played with the codecs we use and improved on the standard Avid codec.

I'm not suggesting we're either perfect or unique but I do think that running a business is more than making the products. It's about the way we market ourselves.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 06:22 AM   #5
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Hi Philip.
You may have misread me. I was in no way doubting you or questioning your service.

I was merely saying that in my area almost all "good" venues or bridal outlets seem to use outside companies that handle their promotional materials and they all make a charge for inclusion, be it in their printed material or at wedding fairs. I could easily spend more than I make if I were to take every one up on their offer to include in their promotion. We must be a bit more money grabbing here.

All I was saying is that you companies are a lot more generous that the ones her if they recommend you as a preferred supplier for free, though I am surprised that Debenhams will give any sort of store space without payment.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 06:32 AM   #6
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George I don't think I did, and of course, you're right many of the venues etc are taking the Bridal magazines/wedding planners' money and selling out - in Manchester one magazine won't let you into their wedding fairs unless you take advertising in their pisspoor magazine.

As for Debenhams I believe every store in the country is having a wedding fair on October 30th - why not get in touch?

My point was - and I'm not suggesting you are guilty of this but many are - that it's all to do with marketing yourself and your product. Producing great programmes isn't enough.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 06:53 AM   #7
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I'm glad we're not at cross purposed, I agree that someone can be doing the most fantastic video but if people don't get to see or hear about it then they'll never build a business.

Getting back to the original question, it is good practice to be able to cultivate a good working relationship with other suppliers; I have with photographers, wedding cars, hairdressers, all low key though. My point was that I find that it's very difficult to get good quality referral from the suppliers that are there at the outset of a couples plans without paying for it i.e. wedding venues. You seem to have been successful in doing so.

Thanks for the heads up on Debenhams. The last time that I was contacted about promoting there was when it was being run for them by the video association based in Lincolnshire. I'm sure you'll know who I mean. Unfortunately after the IOV show this week I'll be away from the weekend until the end of November.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 07:25 AM   #8
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George, don't get me going about that bunch! I guess our opinions may be quite similar. I shall be present on Wednesday - mainly because I want to talk to Sony about a planned purchase, not for any other reason..

The whole issue about running a wedding fair is that it costs money to do it properly. I was staggered to discover that the leading NW organiser regards a banner hanging outside the hotel for a couple of weeks as the pinnacle of their marketing effort - oh yes, and an inclusion on their website which is nothing more than a directory. For that they charge us 250 plus tax for a 6ft table, with two interruptions for a tawdry catwalk show by Saturday girls in the local wedding dress shop who are embarrassed by breasts, who can't wait to get off the stage and who are wearing dresses that simply don't fit.

The best fairs in the NW used to be run by a local free paper which had the objective of getting most advertising into most homes. Unfortunately they gave it up because it cost too much money.

Hope your break away is pleasurable - have a good time.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 07:56 AM   #9
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I think we may very well have similar outlook on these things, It come with experience of the reality of this business.
I did do a wedding fair yesterday at a independently owned hotel. They are sensible as they are really only interested in promoting the venue and use the presence of other suppliers to draw people in so they only charge the split cost of what they pay out in advertising, Whereas another main fair in a few weeks is organised by the local FM radio station who want 250 +vat.
Worked well for me I took one firm booking with deposit and three very strong leads most of which I hope to close before we go away at the weekend.

I'm going to the Richo on Thursday mainly because it's an opportunity to meet up with some people that I don't get to see very often, and it's not far from where I live.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 07:48 PM   #10
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I've paid to be included in 3 venue brochures. It's the kiss of death. I have yet to receive one referral from the brochures. I received more referrals from the venue before I was included in the brochure, now I receive none.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #11
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Michael, that's the weird thing. I've never even shot at this venue before. So I guess even if I ever booked one wedding out of it, it's more than I've done so far. Not really sure if they just threw a really wide net and are seeing who will bite, or if they really like our work. I'm willing to meet up with a rep and hear more at this point, but I'm not ready to move forward without hearing the whole pitch.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 09:24 AM   #12
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Re: Partnering with Venues?

Interesting reading the exchange between Philip and George. Even more interesting because I am a stones throw away from Manchester (in Westhoughton) and I get nothing from the big hotels around here - local football team hotels anyone?

Instead, I am building up a referral network of suppliers with local businesses. It's early days yet but I believe if I can get one gig off each of them (and throw my clients their way of course) I can fill half my diary. Getting local businesses to actually actively promote with me though is strangely hard work. Everyone I pitch my rather extensive ideas to thinks it's a great idea. No-one actually replies to my emails though. :-)

Sometimes I wonder where other wedding videographers get their business from. Sometimes I simply wonder whether brides actually want a video because a lot don't. Still, I continue to market my business as much as possible.


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