In March 2020 the CDC recommended postponing mass gatherings which left many couples scrambling to rebook their weddings during a time when hotels and venues were in crisis. Many locations shut down temporarily, some permanently but the demand for weddings hasn’t changed. According to industry experts, a majority of couples who were affected by the CDC guidelines planned on rebooking their wedding v. cancelling. As a result, we’re seeing an increased demand for dates that have been historically busy.
Traditionally Fall is the most popular time of year for weddings, particularly September and October with Saturday being the most popular day of the week by over 70%. In a pre-Covid world, weekday business at venues and hotels were dominated by corporate meetings, conferences, associations, etc. but with all of those groups having cancelled their events for 2020, this presents an opportunity for couples planning their wedding.
Hotels rely on revenue from their clients hosting events, including weddings, but as a result of months without that revenue many hotels furloughed their sales staff, temporarily closed their doors and in some cases permanently closed. From a wedding hotel block perspective, this means that groups that were booked at these closed hotels now have to find new hotels at a time when many are understaffed. In addition, market research has indicated that couples aren’t cancelling their wedding, they’re simply postponing which means there is increased demand for these dates, not only because they’re historically popular but because couples have been forced to rebook.
For those who haven’t rebooked their dates or for couple’s who recently started the wedding planning process, this means increased competition.
Kleinfeld Hotel Blocks has spoken with nearly 50 brides about what their timelines look like for booking wedding vendors such as hair, make-up, photography, etc. and in many cases, they’re feeling extra pressure because there’s more competition with other weddings.
While this is true and can certainly feel stressful, as long as you have a schedule there’s opportunity to come out on top.
We’ve established that the wedding industry is feeling the heat because more weddings are vying over the same dates but remember these venues don’t only service weddings, a big part of their business is corporate meetings and conferences so if you’re flexible with dates, you might consider a weekday wedding when there’s less competition. If your dream is to have that Saturday Fall wedding, then it’s important to stay on schedule and confirm all of your wedding vendors asap. If you’re planning for 2021, the rule applies to you as well and many wedding planners (pre-Covid) recommended planning one-year in advance, we recommend staying on that schedule and if you have a wedding venue before then you can even start a little earlier but it’s important not to get ahead of yourselves.
If you’re not engaged yet or don’t have a venue yet, it’s too soon. You’re ready to start wedding planning once your venue is booked. Then you can start picking out your dress, tuxes, hotel block, photographer, florist, etc. The good news is that with fashion shows cancelled and other events, you’ll also have a bigger pool of make-up artists to choose from, but keep in mind certain dates will still be in high demand.
The Secret to Rebooking.
Be patient. The wedding industry has been hit hard and much of the staff at hotels are gone. It may take a bit longer to get rates and negotiate details but it’s important that you don’t let it fall off your to-do list simply because someone is out-of-office, because while you may hit a road block, services like Kleinfeld Hotel Blocks are still booking weddings every day.
While the public may not have easy access to the hotels or get responses fast enough, Kleinfeld Hotel Blocksis linked with the hotel databases and has access to global support from the brands which is also not available to the public. And of course, there are other companies who run a similar service so make sure you’re taking advantage of the resources at your disposal to book your room blocks in the easiest and fastest way possible.
Also keep in mind that most room blocks don’t’ require a financial obligation so unlike booking a wedding venue, there’s no risk. This is particularly helpful if you’re worried about which guests may attend your wedding post-Covid. It’s reasonable that guests will have their concerns with traveling so it’s hard to know exactly who will be staying in a hotel. This is where a no-risk room block is a comforting solution that still locks in a great discount. We also recommend that you build a wedding website where you can include hotel safety policies along with your room block information, so that guests can get answers to their questions right on your website.
If you’re still looking at venues but know you want to get married in 2020 or early 2021, we recommend you lock everything down as soon as possible. That may seem stressful at first but it’s a lot easier than the alternative.
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