6 May 2021
This week we interviewed wedding venue consultant Kelly Chandler about her motivations, the commonly asked questions she receives from venues, and post-COVID marketing advice. Kelly also discussed her upcoming “Reignite Your Marketing Course” which is being hosted in The Collective here.
1. What drove you to become a wedding venue consultant?
After more than a decade running my independent wedding planning business for couples, I couldn’t ignore the call of several venues I was bringing client weddings to. I started to get venue management teams to ask me to support them in understanding their couple more, in better marketing themselves, in refreshing their overall offering, and ultimately in bringing in more sales. I started the venue consultancy organically, responding to those initial 3 country house venues and how I could support and help them be better. I’d not intended it to become my main business focus but as demand grew and the response and results I generated from the advice and training, it seemed this was an area in which I could really make a difference. I’d often been frustrated as a planner working in a great range of venues, seeing missed and untapped opportunities, and 5 years later I still adore supporting teams to seize those opportunities, thrive, and grow in their own bespoke ways.
2. What excites you the most about working with venues?
I absolutely love the variety of wedding venues out there in the market. Couples really are spoilt for choice in terms of the places they can choose to host their wedding and the facilities, settings, and utterly unique features they have. I consider it a privilege to work with the teams who run venues, often family businesses, sometimes multi-generational enterprises with a strong connection to the land, the house, the property. It’s a privilege to be invited into the inner sanctum of a wedding venue business and really support that business and its key team in its growth goals, those goals often being very varied, with a legacy as custodians often playing a big role.
3. What is the number one problem/question you are asked by venues?
Invariable this is around wedding bookings growth – often I’m asked ‘how do we get more enquiries?’ – although this opens up a big can of worms that I often look at. Many times when I get to dig and delve into the business, it’s not an increase in enquiries that we actually need.
4. When you take on a new client, what is the first thing you look at refining or updating?
When I take on a private consulting client, it’s a very tailor-made service and is approached very individually for each client depending on their stage of business, team, and their reasons for seeking consulting. We may well look at their shop window and website a great deal and the journey they are putting their customer through and invariably there will be elements of that process that need refining. Other times we may be looking at their sales process and show round experience, we’ll almost certainly make some tweaks or refinements to how they are marketing.
5. If you could offer venues one piece of advice now that restrictions are easing and events are beginning to be held again – what would that be?
Not to be tempted to default back to the “same old same old” but to challenge things, keep some of the newer practices you may have implemented if they suit the team. Also to really spend the time before things get up to full speed operationally to streamlining, improving systems and parts of the sales and customer process that can suit your couples but help you and the team to work more efficiently and more happily. This isn’t always the most glamorous part of running a venue but especially given how many events you will be hosting in a shorter spell you need to be set up to cope and those businesses who haven’t set good systems may undo some of the good they have worked so hard to build reputationally if they slip in service
6. You are leading a marketing course in The Collective, focused on reigniting venues marketing – who is this course for?
I’m really excited about leading this course; this is for all members of a venue team with a vested interest in good marketing. It will be of most value to those team members whose primary responsibility is marketing to attract the right wedding enquiries. Many of my private clients lead small teams where lots of the team including ownership/senior management have a marketing remit so benefits will be gained here too. In particular, returning team members who may need to re-engage with their focus after time on furlough will gain lots and newer colleagues joining the team as you are rebuilding will be ideal for this 4-part live training series for ambitious wedding venues.
7. What will venues gain from joining ‘Reignite Your Marketing’?
Venues will benefit from time with me and other industry colleagues to challenge their existing marketing and help with getting organised and ready with a dose of excitement and clarity in their new marketing plan. I’ll be helping them get really clear on their ideal client with a practical focus on how to best reach them both in the short term and long term, with a focus on quality over quantity. The course will consist of four weekly, one-hour webinars as well as bespoke assignments for each session. The training sessions will be live so there will be time for those all-important questions and for you to get my support “in the moment”.
8. What’s making you excited about leading this course?
I love empowering teams with a do-able plan so that they can go and take targeted action that reaps clear demonstrable rewards. Right now we’re at an exciting time where we have a blank sheet to go forward and create success as never before have we had this kind of situation of a reopening after such a challenging and tough spell. I’m excited about bringing a collaborative group of venues who want to be their best venue and team selves to go forward with confidence and make the most of the boom that’s starting to kick off.
Reignite Your Marketing will run from 19th May – 16th June.
“Hostology brings everything in to one place, increasing the efficiency of our event managers, while at the same time creating a great platform for our customers to use.”
“We now spend much more time with each client, meaning we can offer an even more personal service. This is what we have been waiting for since we opened in 2010.”
“Hostology has carefully thought through how a tech solution can not only make the event management process smoother, saving in time and admin, but can also provide an enjoyable work flow for the client.”
“The systemising, streamlining and efficiencies are a game changer for our business and equally will make planning the wedding logistics less ‘dry’ for our couples and their guests – it is a win, win, win!”
“Hostology is a fantastic platform that brings the many elements of organising bespoke events under one roof. It has transformed the organisation of our business, saved many staff hours and made us far more efficient.”
“We extensively researched the market to find a software platform that fulfils all the needs we have when arranging events and liaising with customers. Hostology does and is going to massively streamline our business.”