‘Hi from weddingbooker.com and thank you for taking the time to read my update. I hope my insight will help you and your venue capitalise on the rapidly changing trends in the wedding industry.’
Question Time with Ben
Tell us a bit about your background?
I started my career in the hospitality industry over 25 years ago, starting out as a silver service waiter at my local hotel which I loved. My next step was Birmingham college of food and a career in hotels . Moving back home to Wales I joined the Celtic Manor resort as a C&B manager running meeting, weddings and events. Working at the Celtic Manor for 3 years gave me fantastic experience and insight into the wedding industry, I then saw an opportunity to start my own business and fifteen years ago I formed my own company specialising in event and wedding equipment hire. Since then I have worked with a huge variety of wedding venues across the UK and met with hundreds of couples planning their wedding day. I really hope that the years I’ve spent working with both venues and couples gives Wedding Booker that all important real life understanding of the unique quirks and intricacies the wedding business has.
Whats important to you?
My 2 sons and Freddie my 3 year old cockapoo are my priority followed closely by my business.
What in your view are the current trends in the wedding industry?
The biggest change I have seen in the last 15 yrs has been the explosion in choice that couples now have. The internet and particularly social media has opened up the world in so many areas and couples are now seeing styles of venues, decor and accessories from all over the world, leading them to often be planning two weddings, one on Instagram and one they can actually afford!!!
The main effect of this is the amount of new solely dedicated wedding venues popping up. Couples want uniqueness and ultimately exclusivity for their wedding day and these venues are ticking that box and taking a big chunk of the market…barn style weddings being the perfect example. Traditional hotels and venues have certainly found it a much more competitive market in recent years.
Where did the idea for weddingbooker.com come from?
After many years of talking to couples and venues I was convinced of the need for a web application focused solely on wedding venue search. There are so many wedding planning sites trying to tick too many boxes and not giving venues or couples the services they deserve. Because we have focused on only wedding venues and not diluted the site with, florists, cars, dresses it enables couples to get straight to a venue profile in only 3 clicks in the same way you look for a house on right move.
Every licensed wedding venue in the UK can be found through our industry first search function. I knew that the vast majority of couples don’t really know what they want at this early stage of the planning process. They just want to see every venue available in the area they wanted to get married in and not have to look on dozens of different sites. We have extended this service to unlicensed venues to add their details for free so it is the right move of the wedding venue search.
I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked to use my industry experience to advise couples on where they can get married. Similarly, wedding coordinators, marketing managers and general managers have shared their views on the industry, their frustrations on the quality of leads coming through from wedding planning search engines and the time taken on sending out all those ‘brochure requests’. Weddingbooker.com was born to alleviate what I see as the ‘pain points’ for both couples and venue managers. I wanted to provide the choice and variety that couples want with a total dedication to purely wedding venues so that couples could focus on that all important decision without the distraction of cakes, photographers and wedding flowers. Similarly I saw an opportunity to rid the inbox of those ‘brochure requests’ which often don’t go anywhere and replace them with qualified leads with high intent. My experience tells me for every 3 wedding showrounds booked this leads to 1 wedding booking…hence the birth of our appointment booker. My overarching vision however was for venues to see our business as a partner to them rather than just ‘something they advertise on’ with our expert industry, marketing and operational knowledge I have built my team to bring this vision to life.
Describe weddingbooker.com in 3 words
TOTALLY VENUE FOCUSED