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Old September 10th, 2013, 02:54 AM   #1
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Who's doing wedding fairs?

Its the wedding fair season here in the UK. And I have just got my first couple of bookings from the most recent fair I have done. So its a definite plus so far.

My question is: How many of you guys are still having a shot at the fairs?

I used to do a lot,and my bookings where coming in well. Then in 2012 I did no fairs. I have had a great 2013 but 2014 aint looking as good as it could so far. Maybe because I did no fairs in 2012.

How are 2014 booking looking for the UK guys?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:14 AM   #2
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

As you know Matty I have not done wedding fairs for four years now, they are a waste of time. They go for cakes, invitations ect ect. Even my wife has stopped doing them for dresses. Last time we spoke I was selling my business but I have decided to carry on in this game as I am up by 60% on the past two years, and my football job could not compete with that... maybe that's because of the shop for sure but if it was not for the shop I would be defiantly down on the usual regular bookings, however looking at my bookings for next year, 9 up to now are referrals from other clients...Liverpool I am afraid is a pre 1000 place, they do not want to spend anymore, I did a survey with all my clients the past 5 years and they all said they would not pay more than 995 for a wedding video.. God knows how the other parts of the country are getting 2000//2995..
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Old September 10th, 2013, 03:59 AM   #3
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

I'm with you Steve. Most of the people around here seem to top out at 995 now, whereas I used to be able to get 1400-1800. It's partly why I'm taking a break from weddings for video. I'll do them if some one asks (i.e. a referral) and are willing to pay a rational rate. But I'm not working all day with two crew for 500 a day like so many people seem to be being quoted from people also willing to travel 80-100 miles down from Newcastle to do it (I have several experiences of those quotes coming in and several people actually doing it).

In terms of wedding fairs, I feel that they are in a bit of a slump right now. We did a study across 3 years of bookings where we closely tracked how they found us and how much they spent, vs how much it cost us.

We found that 29% came from wedding fairs, 35% came via google and the balance via referrals.

On average the clients found at a wedding fair spent more than the clients who found us via google, but once you deducted the cost of attending the weddings fairs (not even including the time spent there) it almost wiped out that difference. The best paying jobs always came in via referrals.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:03 AM   #4
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Brady View Post
Its the wedding fair season here in the UK. And I have just got my first couple of bookings from the most recent fair I have done. So its a definite plus so far.

My question is: How many of you guys are still having a shot at the fairs?

I used to do a lot,and my bookings where coming in well. Then in 2012 I did no fairs. I have had a great 2013 but 2014 aint looking as good as it could so far. Maybe because I did no fairs in 2012.

How are 2014 booking looking for the UK guys?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
Since I'm taking a break I've turned away all my 2014 potential bookings so far, so I suppose some other people in the area will be 'up' ;)

I've talked to a lot of photographers over the summer that each said more or less the same thing. 2013 was slightly down on 2012, but OK, yet bookings for 2014 are all DOWN at this point. It seems that even for photography people are booking later and later.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:37 AM   #5
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

@Steve: Glad to hear your sticking around. Am in agreement that brides in our area are not to keen to flash the cash as willingly as they used to. The effects of the recession and market economy on the whole.

There are many new companies coming into the market who are willing to work for peanuts. But there are others who are pushing into lucrative markets. I think to stay relevant in the long term it may take the leap of faith and go for the upper end of the market, where they still have the cash to splash out.

There are less companies servicing that market.... so maybe that's the place to be? Time will tell.

Am giving a whole lot of wedding fairs my cash this year, so I will report back my findings when they are done.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:38 AM   #6
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

Steve, like we said in the Society. Your clients wont pay more than 995 but with higher prices you attract different clients.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 04:59 AM   #7
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

I have always exhibited at a number of wedding shows each year for the last 30 years. I am very selective though, avoiding small hotels doing their first one and big national or regional ones at vastly inflated prices guaranteeing hundreds of brides. You certainly get hundreds of brides, all totally confused by the hundreds of exhibitors.

The ones I attend, are ones that I have learned from experience give good results and I never pay more than 200 under any circumstances. My first Autumn one this year was September 1st in Newmarket, near me, it cost 165 and had 420 brides through the doors. There was only one other video company and I have already taken 2 confirmed bookings from it for next year. Enquiries tend to come in for up to a year after each wedding show.

Last year we increased our wedding shows up to 8 from the usual 5 and this year was our best year ever. 2014 is already up by 30% on the same time last year and we are increasing our Autumn/Spring shows to 10. 70% of our weddings are from referrals and just about all the rest from wedding shows, although some of the increase in weddings for this year and next is due to our adding stills and video as a joint package. We are also increasing the cost of the add on stills package from Jan 1st, so will be earning more from each joint package wedding.

The least number of wedding bookings that I have picked up from a wedding show over the years was 1 and that still made a profit even allowing for the show cost and expenses. The most bookings directly related to 1 show was 9 bookings, so for me they have definitely paid off.

Roger
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Old September 10th, 2013, 08:17 AM   #8
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

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Steve, like we said in the Society. Your clients wont pay more than 995 but with higher prices you attract different clients.
Danny I have tried that, it does not work in Liverpool, like Luton, but when you go high end it may work it may not but with no contacts for 6 months at 1795 market I decided to stick to 1295 and 995 and if they want the lot then 1495. But im with Dave, why should I do things different, have all the stress teach another videographer all for peanuts from Brides who don't even care anyway...Steve
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Old September 10th, 2013, 09:28 AM   #9
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

I agree with Steve that increasing the price of the service in this area would not work.

But there are many more areas. So I guess its about getting the service to the clients you want at a price you want to an area they will buy. If this makes sense???

Little baits and little hooks get little fish. Big baits and big hooks, land big fish, whilst the little fish just nibble at it.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #10
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

I see many companies charging 3000 - 4000 for ONE day (10 hours) DSLR Cinematography ... around Manchester & London respectively (I have a few companies in my head).

Now when I look at their examples of work, it's good ... but i've seen guys that charge peanuts compared to them produce a similar level of work.

Why are they getting business? It HAS to be referrals and the image they portray ... they make themselves look like the Lamborghini / Rolls Royce of the wedding film industry attracting rich clients.

I don't think you can just transition into that, especially if you've been charging 995 now all of a sudden bump your prices up to 3-4k.

You need a new brand name, a couple of extravagant venues and rich clients lined up to provide those lucrative trailers to plaster on your website.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

This is a well-rehearsed subject in the Stills world and has been discussed to death on member only forums. Some of the conclusions may be relevant here.

The number of photographer competitors is far higher than for video. Video also lends itself to wedding fairs. I would therefore think that with video, if a client is minded to have video, the odds are strong that you'll book a high percentage. Either you or the one other bloke :- )

As regards the profile of clients who attend, colleagues experience has overwhelmingly been that they are price shoppers. And the photographer competitors exhibiting are usually newbies or have a very poor web presence - in other words its sh$t or bust with the wedding shows. Nothing wrong with price shoppers if you're in the mainstream rather than in a niche market; just comes down to "some will ... some won't ... so what ... next".

1800 leaves you becalmed in the middle of no-where. Its perceived neither as good value or high end. Your UK price must certainly start with a 2 and be closer to a 3 to be perceived as high end. Whether you deliver high end is a whole other subject of course. Beware of being a slave to high ticket prices without due regard to your costs and opportunity costs. At the high end you will certainly be involved in much more travel plus the best part of an extra day scripting and storyboarding - a day when you could otherwise be shooting a separate mainstream market wedding. And you will need extra staff with all the associated equipment and backup. You are also likely to need to budget for hip premises in a hip area.

You will also be dependent to some extent on venue recommendations and increasingly these have to be paid for either directly or indirectly through advertising scams. Wedding co-ordinators can have a high staff turnover and overnight your source can dry up.

In the stills world we tend to exchange personal information quite readily. You may be surprised how unbusy many shooters who quote high prices actually are. A close neighbour has only shot 4 weddings this year and has just 1 for next year. Credit cards maxed out. Another has just divorced. Keep your eyes open.

Unlike Roger I do not make a point of meeting clients though like Roger I don't have videos online as my product is usually long-form so doesn't suit that method. I will meet clients when they wish to meet and they nearly always come to me - some very long distances. Others I send sample discs to if they want. I have a lot of clients who are based abroad or live a very long way from my base or from their chosen venue; if I insisted on meeting I would not get as many bookings. The one I'm processing at the moment is a New York based financial journalist. She found me online and we didn't meet until the wedding day. By co-incidence the guests included a bride and groom I had shot 10 years ago but no-one knew that until we met :- )

Pete
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Old September 10th, 2013, 11:07 AM   #12
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

James is bang on. Something we have seen is that there are people with great talent, but can't run a business. To be successful you either have to do it all OR, bring on people who are experts. We don't do our own branding any more, or website or accounting. We have editors, shooters and marketers. Experts in their respective fields.

I see a lot of people here charging the same as shoot it yourself.

Often people find themselves competing, nay, fighting with other videographers for business and decide he only way to win us to be the cheapest. They can then beat you by going cheaper, you can beat them by undercutting them even more.

We know of plenty who work up north and charge 2k plus. To enter the higher prices it doesn't matter how good your work. You could be the absolute best in the world but without the right image, marketing and a brand it means nothing.

Consider getting a branding and business consultant involved. It costs money but its getting to be that way if you want to remain in the business now.

Remember, you need to compete on a number of levels now. Not just your work.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 11:13 AM   #13
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

Oh and Steve, ignore my society comment. Thought you were someone else. We ran a training event last year and part of it was how to go from sub 1k to the higher prices.

To give you an idea, it's about creating a brand. Something people want.

How many here own iPhones? Most I bet. Why though? Other phones are cheaper, on paper do the same thing. It's all about brand. The iPhone is an object of desire, something we want and therefore are willing to pay more than if it was something we needed. We end up buying with our hearts and not our heads.

If your looking for a plumber, which is something you need then you go for the cheapest. You need to change what you offer from a need, to a want or better, a desire.

You then also need to forget about your current clients. Of course they would only pay 995! If they were willing to pay more then they would have gone elsewhere. At a higher price point you attract different clients, but you need the product and the brand to do so.

We've attended all sorts of workshops and seminars and it quickly became clear, it's all about the brand.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

Great advice there Danny. Wise words indeed.

My mantra for here on is branding, branding, branding.......

I have known this for sometime but not had it spelt out to me so clearly.

Its also tough to effectively start again so to speak with a whole new plan of attack when the one I have now works to some extent.

I will mull on your advise over several pints of real ale.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 12:08 PM   #15
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Re: Who's doing wedding fairs?

It's not just about putting up your prices to get wealthier clients. The guys that are charging several Ks for their weddings are advertising in the very expensive glossy mags for 1000 a pop, investing in lots of top quality gear and probably maintaining shops/offices and employing extra personnel.

At the end of the day it's not about how much you charge, but more about how much you end up with.

Roger
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