Wedding planners often get their best brides from referrals. So, getting on the preferred vendor lists at hotels and other venues, can bring you opportunities to work with high quality brides. In my Q&A today, I offer tips on how to become a preferred wedding planner.
How do I approach hotels to get them to refer me? I “Liked” them on Facebook in hopes of starting relationships with them.
It sounds like you’re interested in getting on preferred vendors lists at hotels. Many hotels and other venues only allow clients to use the vendors from their lists so this could open up opportunities for you to get new clients.
If you’re a new wedding planner, it could take some time to become a preferred vendor so start positioning yourself now to be the one they want.
Here are 4 tips that will help you to become a preferred wedding planner:
1) Start making contacts now
You don’t have to have a client who is in need of a venue to start connecting with their catering, event and sales staff. Attend wedding, event planner and caterer association meetings, Chamber of Commerce mixers, Convention and Visitors Bureau mixers and small business events. Many hotels and event venues are members of these groups and you can start making connections and forming relationships. They will often invite planners to tour their facilities in hopes of getting referrals. These tours are wonderful opportunities to not only see if a venue would be suitable for your future clients, but also to get to know influential staff members and help them get to know you.
2) Find out the criteria for preferred vendors
Hotels often have requirements such as; you must have planned a specific number of events at their location, you must have been a wedding planner for a minimum number of years or you must have proof that you carry business insurance and have a business license. In addition, they may want to see testimonials from past clients and references from other vendors so they can be sure that you consistently do high-quality work, offer excellent customer service and are easy to work with.
Find out the requirements of the hotels in which you want to be a preferred vendor and start fulfilling them now. Then you’ll be in a good position when they’re ready to add a wedding planner to their list.
3) Always set yourself apart from other wedding planners
In every interaction with hotel staff, even when just connecting at association events and mixers, remember that people notice how you look, act and speak. Always be professional and never say negative things about a client or another vendor, it’s a small world and gossip travels fast.
When you plan a wedding at the hotel where you want to be a preferred vendor, keep staff informed and make sure they know of any last minute changes. They appreciate emails confirming details so they can be successful at giving you what you need – it’s an extra touch that many wedding planners don’t often think to do. Also, treat everyone with respect, call each person by his or her name and send a handwritten thank you after your event is over – this is another special touch that many planners don’t do.
4) Stay in touch
Don’t just start a relationship and drop it when a hotel doesn’t put you on their preferred list right away. Be patient. Stay in touch with your contacts by making it a point of saying “hello” when you see them at events. Do more than “Like” and follow them on social media, also comment on and share their Facebook and Twitter posts. Doing these little things will keep you fresh in their minds and help them see that you would be a valuable asset as a preferred vendor.
And if you have a pressing question about starting or running your wedding planning business, you can send me an email at email@example.com. I’ll answer them on this blog or in my ezine, “Wedding Planner Tips,” which you can subscribe to here.