Last week we hosted our first Sydney industry event of 2019 at Athol Hall in Mosman. So Elise had a chat with Lauren, the sales manager at Athol Hall Function Centre, about how they market their venue, and their stunning view, to couples.
How do you try to educate couples on the wedding planning process?
Once a couple comes through our doors we actually send them a checklist to help them with everything they’re planning.
Being a venue we’re often one of the first suppliers in the process, so it means that if they haven’t booked certain suppliers yet it can remind them that they do need to start thinking about their photographer or look at booking a florist.
We like to send this out to not only make their day more streamlined and easier to plan on our end, but it also helps act as a prompt for the couple to see what other bits and pieces need planning.
What’s one of the most common misconceptions you get from couples?
We often have a lot of misconceptions from couples about costing and price. One of the ways we get around this is just by being open about our costings and our price.
We have no hidden costs and we tell people that upfront. We just have the minimum spend that they need, and that helps clear the air when it comes to pricing.
We can also have misconceptions when it does come to that checklist and what they need to do. But if we chat through that with them when we meet again it means we can keep on track and make sure that everything is prepared, detailed and will run as smoothly as possible for their day.
How have you worked to grow the business over the last 12 months?
We’ve really been focusing on our website this year. We’re particularly been focusing on the images that we have up on the site and getting those really good images from photographers on there.
We’ve also worked to look at some of the paid advertising to get our name out there. We’ve had a look at what we can do with paid advertising online, and obviously looked at listing with services like Easy Weddings to help boost our profile.
But one of the biggest ways we build our business is also through recommendations and referrals, so we really make sure that we’re making a good impression for every couple that comes through.
We’ll often have people referred to us if they’ve been to a wedding here. Or we even have some couples who have seen the venue but don’t think it’s quite right for them, refer their family and friends onto us because they still loved the venue and the service.
How do you use the unique harbour waterfront to your advantage?
We really try and use the Sydney Harbour view to our advantage in our visual marketing, so we really focus on that view and how it looks by getting new photos of the weddings that we host here every week.
But we also find that encouraging couples to come down to the venue is a big drawcard. When I’m chatting with a couple about their enquiry, or sending the checklist through to them, we’re really trying to encourage them to come and check out the venue and the view.
Once they get down here they fall in love with the view and space and it’s really lovely to be able to see that moment and chat to them in person.
What would your advice to other suppliers in the industry be?
At the end of the day, we all need to work together.
We’re not just working together for ourselves, but also for the couple. We’re all trying to get the same outcome which is a perfect day for the couple involved, so it makes sense for us to be working together to achieve that.
We are so grateful for all the suppliers we have worked with. We don’t actually have a preferred supplier list because we think that everyone offers something different that could benefit a different couple. But we will definitely make recommendations if a couple asks us.
We also love working with new suppliers all the time. It’s always good to meet businesses we didn’t know before and see what they can bring to the table that’s unique.
So we love working together with other businesses in the industry for ourselves, and when we’re planning weddings for couples as well.