Industry Insider: Interview with Michael from Brighton Savoy

Easy Weddings
Updated on: December 2, 2016

Brighton Savoy

Brighton Savoy is a venue that hosts over 450 weddings and corporate events annually and has been rated as one of the most luxurious wedding venues Melbourne has to offer. We asked managing director Michael Lee to share with us some insights and advice learnt while working in the industry.

Tell us a bit about your business and your experience in the wedding industry

Brighton Savoy is a premium wedding venue in Brighton, Victoria. It features four stunning rooms catering to between 30-220 guests.
I have spent over 29 years owning and managing Brighton Savoy after graduating from William Angliss College and Monash University with qualifications in catering, hospitality management, banking and finance.

If you could give 1 piece of advice to a brand new wedding professional what would it be?

You need to decide if you are a business person or an artist – this will determine your goals.
Many people get into the wedding industry after developing a hobby or a special talent. For instance, a person who is passionate about baking might decide to start a wedding cake business.
It is a huge jump from baking cakes in your domestic kitchen to launching a professional business. Anyone thinking about doing so needs to consider all aspects of running a wedding business. Just because you make a nice cake or sew a stunning dress, doesn’t correlate to running a wedding business.
If you are talented and artistic but don’t have a knack for running a business, it might be better to stay at that level. If you are able to convey your passion, talent and skill into a commercial environment , with compliance costs , wage bills rent and other business operation expenses you are ready to take the plunge.

What’s the biggest learning you’ve had in 2016 that’s helped your business

I learned a lot about social media this year. For those who are into cricket, I think of social media marketing like a test match, not a game of 20/20 cricket. The rewards are there but they come on day 5, not the first innings.
Your social media strategy needs to be work on, analysed, reviewed and maintained. Basically, you need to be in it for the long haul and shouldn’t expect immediate results. If you are patient and do things properly, you should reap the rewards.

What are some things you consider when adding a new vendor to your preferred suppliers list?

The first thing I consider is obviously if the product or service is exceptional. I will not be recommending something unless it is quality. Secondly, it pays to be warm, professional and friendly – who would want to work with someone who is otherwise?
It’s important to respect and understand how the venue operates. In peak season we are hosting 8-12 Weddings a weekend, we are operating at full capacity so it is important suppliers understand this. Make sure you bring all the equipment you need to perform your job and don’t do things like parking in a space that blocks the bridal party from entering.
I like to recommend suppliers that stand out and have a point of difference. I’m dealing with so many wedding suppliers day to day, so what is it about your business that will make you stand out above the rest?
Patience is also important. Our list has been developed over many years of long term relationships. We need to develop a rapport and trust you.
Referrals can go both ways, so be a genuine venue advocate. Support us on social media – comment, like and share. Venues will notice this!

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