The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how businesses operate, especially those that depend on large gatherings. The wedding industry struggled to adapt as brides canceled their spring events and postponed summer bookings. As the country opens up, venues need to consider the future and prepare for a new way forward.
With a bit of strategic planning, wedding venues can find their way through an uncertain future. It's time to set your business up for success so that brides and venue managers can anticipate better times.
Read on for six ways wedding venues can adapt and prepare for future business. Consider your site and current practices to figure out how to implement these tips successfully.
1. Condense Your Timelines
Brides plan many parts of their weddings far ahead of time. Starting a year or more out from their wedding, brides begin talking with vendors and planners to lock down dates and services. They might make their final decisions quickly to cement their wedding day timelines, but that must change in a post-COVID world.
Venue managers should expect brides to condense their timelines and finalize them much closer to their celebration. They may decrease their guest lists because people don't feel comfortable traveling or get sick. Make exceptions for last-minute changes related to COVID-19 because there are so many relating factors that can change unexpectedly.
2. Construct Outdoor Structures
Historic homes and prominent locations known for their indoor venues should construct outdoor structures to encourage social distancing — at least six feet between people, according to experts — during ceremonies and receptions. Staying outside allows guests to breathe fresh air and decrease their risk of disease. It will soon become the preferred option for brides, so offering outdoor structures like archways and gazebos will help make your venue more competitive with others in the area.
3. Talk With an Attorney
Every client signs a contract outlining what you expect to keep their date reserved, but it might be outdated. Current agreements may prohibit rescheduling close to the big day and other details that become complicated with the coronavirus spreading around.
Talk with an attorney to update your contract so that clients can have more flexibility without jeopardizing your financial and legal standing. Brides will be more inclined to book and leave positive reviews if your contract reflects an understanding of their challenging position.
4. Conduct Regular Inspections
Whether you book mostly outdoor or indoor ceremonies, pests can still destroy your business. Consult with a professional to schedule and conduct regular inspections to prevent termites and bugs from making a home at your venue. By the time you spot damage left by infestations, it might be too late to continue with planned events in a safe environment.
5. Start an Emergency Fund
Future spikes in coronavirus cases could cause more shutdowns. It's a good idea to start an emergency fund to protect yourself if this happens, and your projected cash flows change. A good rule of thumb is to stash away 10% of your annual revenue. Generate more profit by booking one-off photoshoots and smaller dinner parties during days without weddings.
6. Offer Tech Advancements
Whether brides want an indoor or outdoor ceremony, they'll likely ask for help to live stream their service for guests who couldn't make it. Look into upgrading your Wi-Fi so that it reaches every corner of your venue. Invest in streaming equipment for brides to use and set up a plan to test their streaming account of choice during their rehearsal.
The extra help will make the experience less anxious and more enjoyable for brides getting used to a new way to host their weddings.
Consult With Your Brides
These tips will help your venue adjust to a new world of weddings while the coronavirus is still around. You should also consult with your brides and ask if they have any questions or need assistance with anything. The extra steps a venue can take, like upgrading their Wi-Fi or getting ahead of pest problems, will make brides more comfortable and result in future clients.