Managing a wedding venue business isn’t always easy. There’s so much to think about, from the finances to customer satisfaction.
This post is intended as a guide to help. We cover how to:
- Draught a wedding venue finance plan
- Price your venue effectively
- Use holistic tools to plan more effectively
- Manage suppliers
- Promote and market your venue
- Protect your business from liability
Draught A Wedding Venue Finance Plan
If you don’t have a wedding venue business plan already, you need to draught one. A plan lets you define how you’re going to make your venue profitable and helps to avoid ad hoc decision-making that doesn’t benefit your long-term financial goals.
When creating a wedding venue finance plan, you’ll need to take account of the following costs:
- Property taxes
- Venue running costs
- Maintenance costs
- New decor costs
- Marketing costs
- Licenses, permits and permissions
- Staff and vendor costs
- Mortgage payments
- Utility payments
Once you have a clear understanding of your ongoing expenses, you can then begin to think about venue pricing. Good profit margins are around 10 percent. However, the level of profit you require will depend on the frequency of bookings. If you only expect to host guests at the weekends, you’ll need to charge a higher price than if you offer facilities throughout the week.
Be Honest And Smart With Pricing
Many wedding venues attempt to conceal their pricing by asking couples to contact them to negotiate a rate. There is some justification for this: weddings tend to be bespoke affairs. But when pricing structures aren’t clear, it can put couples off. Hence, you may be missing out on business.
Be sure to vary your pricing according to the day of the week and season. Couples are willing to pay far more for a Saturday wedding in June than a Tuesday wedding in January. Price in a way that keeps your venue generating profits year-round.
Use Modern Venue Management Software
In the past, venues would adopt a fragmented approach to venue management, using multiple tools and apps for different aspects of their business. While these ad hoc approaches worked for some venues, they were cumbersome.
Now, though, things are changing. Modern venue management apps incorporate all the tools that venues need into a single piece of software, dramatically reducing admin time and improving customer experience.
The best venue management software include a variety of features that allow you to better run your wedding business. For instance, some software packages consolidate all the venue marketing tools you need into a single hub. Through these platforms you can:
- Engage in direct marketing, which makes it easy to send out bulk emails to your clients
- Track your leads through their sales journey from viewing enquiry to after-sales
- Get detailed analytics, including breakdowns of how your venue is performing across various dimensions including location if you are running multiple venues.
- Issue surveys to easily collect feedback on your most recent events
Venue management tools usually also offer bookkeeping functionality. This allows you to tackle venue accounting needs such as:
- Generate invoices and then email them directly to your clients
- Process card payments via a variety of payment gateways, such as Stripe
- Manage your invoices and create invoice templates
- Set up payment plans, allowing clients to pay in installments
- Integrate with your favourite accounting software such as Xero
Supplier management should also be part of any comprehensive venue management solution. These help to reduce the considerable additional admin associated with arranging third-party services for couples. The best venue management software often come with document hubs that make it easy to store all of your correspondence, contracts and contact details in one secure place.
Lastly, good wedding venue management software makes it easier to manage your customers – the bride and groom and their families. Sonas, for instance, comes with client portals, which allow customers to drop you a question or make a payment at their leisure. Crucially they also allow the bride and groom to colab directly on tasks such as defining the event timeline or making dietary and table planning arrangements. These are critical parts of the wedding that a venue is unable to decide alone. Having a portal means being able to capture this data remotely and in a consistent manner for every wedding whilst keeping your clients impressed with your level of tech and organisation.
Ask Suppliers To Attend Your Site Ahead Of Time
Couples like to choose their own suppliers and rarely heed venue recommendations. Unfortunately this means that venues must often liaise with new vendors regularly.
To avoid problems on the day that will reflect poorly on you, get third party vendors to attend your site beforehand to check they can provide the services promised to their clients. Make sure that there’s enough space for the DJ and appropriate fittings for the lighting, flowers or any other equipment the couple wants.
Promote Your Wedding Venue
Here’s a harsh truth about the modern wedding venue market: building a new wedding venue won't be enough to make couples choose it. It is critical, therefore, that you promote your venue through all available channels.
Build a website: If you don’t have a website for your venue yet, build one asap. Add photos, testimonials, and links to your social media pages. Make sure to include venue booking tools to make it easy to make reservations and arrange viewings.
Use social media: Start by creating social media accounts on popular platforms and focus on the most visual ones such as Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram. Attract couples by using a combination of relevant hashtags, targeted ads, compelling photography, and interesting posts. Try going “behind-the-scenes” of your venue to generate even more interest and provide couples with greater insights into what you offer. Don't forget to show off recent events or do livesas social proof.
Leverage local press. Yes we live in the digital age but don't underestimate local offline channels. Unless you have a special venue, most of your clients are likely to come from within a certain catchment area. Make sure you are visible in the local newspaper. If you are a multi-purpose venue, find ways to make sure visitors to your restaurant, for example, are aware that you offer weddings too.
Already running a venue and need more tips? Check out our blog post on Increasing Bookings for Wedding Venues
Protect Your Business From Liability
Lastly, operating a wedding venue can, unfortunately, come with substantial legal and financial risks. For that reason, you’ll need to make sure that you have adequate insurance before you take your first booking.
There are a range of insurance types that you’ll require. These include:
- General liability insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Commercial property insurance
- Event liability insurance
General liability protects you against claims should anyone on your property injure themselves.
Workers compensation is mandatory if you have any employees. It protects you if they get injured or sick while working for you.
By law insurance for commercial property is the responsibility of the owner. It covers losses relating to damage to premises, including things like sound equipment, electrics, furniture and decor.
Lastly, event liability insurance offers cover if something goes wrong during the celebrations themselves. Many insurers will recommend this, above and beyond general liability.
Managing a wedding venue business can certainly be a headache at times but the key is to be methodical and to leverage all the help you can from bespoke software to local press and reputable insurance providers.