I know it’s tough right now!
Clients are canceling or postponing their weddings & travel. I personally have had to fight to save my own destination weddings from canceling, as well as several other trips as well.
I get what you are going through, I really do! I have also seen a similar crisis before… SARS, EBOLA, H1N1, Zika!!
I remember the panic when the media announced the Zika Virus outbreak! 😨
A flood of calls started coming into my office. Zika was a huge threat to my business because the outbreaks were the worst in the Caribbean and Mexico, where 90% of my clients were traveling to.
Brides were contacting me concerned about their travel because they were planning on having a family right away.
Guests were contacting me because they were already pregnant or planning on getting pregnant.
Were there cancellations? Yes. Did destination weddings actually cancel or change locations? Yes. It wasn’t fun dealing with something outside my control.
However, there were many things that Lou and I did to not only keep our business going but actually come out ahead!
I’m able to share those with you so you can get through this season in your business.
Here are six things you can do: 👇
1. OVERDELIVER customer service
Remember, your clients are disappointed, frustrated and overwhelmed by having to cancel their trips, and also postponing their wedding. If you give them empathy and care now during this crisis, you will have lifelong clients and referrals.
Act as if each client is your one and only client. To do this without getting overwhelmed, determine a standard operating procedure of working with your clients based on their dates of travel and let your clients know your protocol and ask for their patience.
2. BE PROACTIVE on communication
If you feel that their travel will be affected, contact the client before they contact you to let them know their options. Does this plant a seed of cancellation? Yes, but you have to care more about your client’s health and safety than your bottom line.
I remember a time when there was a lot of sargassum (seaweed) floating onto the beaches in Mexico where I had several upcoming weddings. While I didn’t want to worry my brides and alert them to the situation, I knew that I needed to give them a heads up so they could switch gears and go to a different location if desired. Why? Because I cared about them and their wedding day & I didn’t want them to show up and suddenly be shocked by what the beach looked like!
3. Try to get a RESCHEDULE, not a cancel
Remember, your client was really looking forward to their trip, they don’t want to cancel! Remind them of the incredible time they are going to have when life gets back to normal. Let them know that travel dates are booking fast, because everyone is re-scheduling, so encourage them to lock in the date as soon as possible.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE of the amazing rates right now
The resorts are also being hit hard by everyone canceling or re-scheduling their trips, so they have slashed prices to encourage people to come. I just did a quote for a destination wedding to Hard Rock, and the nightly rate was the lowest I have ever seen, and Hard Rock was offering an extra $40 dollars off per night for bookings five nights or longer. You can get some good future bookings right now, by letting your clients know about the amazing deals going on right now!
5. CREATE AND SHARE wedding & travel content
Why? Because people are going to be itching to travel & have their dream wedding as soon as life starts to get back to normal.
You should be sending content in the form of emails, videos, social media, and blog posts that:
6. BE FLEXIBLE!
A crisis is never the time to be stuck in our ways! We may need to think out of the box in the way we communicate with our clients, the way we advertise, and even the way we currently do business.
It is always good to use times of slowdowns for new learning, so that you will be ready to take the right action, when the crisis is over. That may mean working a few intense weeks booking people into new dates, handling a flood of orders that start coming in all at once. Believe me, it will go from 0-60 quickly when everyone is ready for you to start booking their trips again!
Do all of these things consistently and you will be at the top of your bride’s mind when this crisis passes and life gets back to normal! 😊 Because after every crisis, there is always a rebound, and you want to be ready for the flood of destination wedding brides looking for help to plan their wedding!