The 2 Biggest Digital Faux Pas A Wedding Venue Can Make
Hello there, lovely reader….it would appear that I’m in line to kick off the Digital Life blog series. Welcome. And huzzah for me, if I may. I finally (finally!) have a conduit through which I can air some of the madness that has been life lately.
As my better half mentioned last week, we both eat, sleep, and breathe in the world of digital. It’s what we’ve built careers on. It’s ridiculously fast, outrageously competitive and – at times – chaotic enough that I question my own sanity (in a good way, of course). And as a couple, JD and I are often victims of an all-too-familiar-illness amongst yuppies: we take work home with us.
So when he decided to become the bravest man of all time and propose marriage to me, this life of ours took a weird little turn. Suddenly – and entirely unexpectedly – our combined digital marketing know-how and the new task of wedding planning hurtled towards each other and collided.
You see, I’m 100% comfortable mapping out a 12 month content strategy. Promoting an event to your social followers? I’m your girl. Gotta find out why no one is engaging with your email campaigns? Sure, I can tackle that.
…But wedding planning?! Now I have to care about flowers, centrepieces, and matching dresses? Not my forte, but surely a project manager for a digital marketing company can do this, right?
So I did what any typical bride would do in today’s world: I armed myself with Pinterest and Google.
First on the agenda: FIND AND BOOK A VENUE.
This part sounded easy enough. JD and I Googled the hell out of ourselves to find local wedding venues that would accommodate enough people, offered steak on the menu, and not run us into debt. (The latter proved difficult and shed some light into the insanity that is the bridal industry, but that’s a whole other blog for another day).
As we Googled “Toronto Wedding Venue” over and over again, what we found along the way was, well...H-O-R-R-E-N-D-O-U-S.
Not the venues themselves; they were, I am sure, all lovely places to celebrate a new marriage. But the online customer experiences that we had with several wedding venues were enough to not only cause me to channel my inner bridezilla (who I was trying oh-so-hard to hide), but ultimately take our wedding and our money elsewhere.
So today, I hope to help at least one wedding venue out there in the vast digital realm who lost us as a customer and who might be losing prospective customers at this very moment.
Bridezilla-Inducing Mistake #1: Saying Contact Us, But Not Really Meaning It
My 15-year old self would shun me if she knew how little I talk to people on the phone these days, but truth be told, it’s just easier to email someone! I communicate with so many people and businesses on a daily basis that taking the digital route to connect with others has become near and dear to my increasingly introverted self.
So when we came across The Fifth Grill & Terrace in Toronto and realized they had what we wanted in a venue (read: they served steak!), I made a beeline to their weddings section, found the booking form and filled that sucker out almost as fast as I can devour a Krispy Kreme donut.
My professional side loved the clean design of the form and appreciated that it covered all the necessary details so their event planner would know exactly what I was looking for. My new bride-to-be self just couldn’t wait to start sampling their menu!
So I waited.
And I waited some more. Seven business days to be exact.
Then I just got mad.
Never one to enjoy my anger, regardless of where it’s directed, JD pulled an old-school move, picked up the phone, and called them. They were quick to apologize and explained, “The form must be broken then! We’re usually great at responding. I’ll pass the message on to our event coordinator and she will send you a follow-up email. ” Sigh. Fine.
So we waited again.
Have I mentioned that I absolutely detest waiting? But somehow, I channeled a magical inner reservoir of patience. (Yes, that is how much I wanted to pay them my hard-earned cash to throw a big party!)
Five days later, with the elusive email still missing from either of our inboxes, JD called them back. Only then did someone from The Fifth send us an email with a price quote.
Those of you who know me can probably guess that there was no way on this green earth that I’d find any of this acceptable.
Moral of the story:
Nurture your business leads! That Contact Us form is more powerful than many businesses – like The Fifth – give it credit for. It’s a lifeline to prospects who are already showing an interest in being a customer. Just imagine all the would-be weddings they’d be hosting, along with the coulda-been profits!
In my eyes, if The Fifth didn’t even realize their form was broken AND was tardy in responding with a quote, then the warning signs were loud and clear: their team wasn’t capable of pulling off a seamless celebration for me, my fiancé and our guests.
Bridezilla-Inducing Mistake #2: Ignoring What You Already Know About Your Customer
After that messy start to the planning process, I was back on track when I found this historical building in Toronto: The Burroughes Building. The style and the location would be perfect for our big day!
So I filled out their Event Inquiries form.
To my marketing eyes, this form was perfect and right up my Type-A alley! You’ll see that it covers all the required details:
- Preferred event date
- Number of guests
- Type of event
Surely this was a preview into how efficient and detail-oriented the team at The Burroughes was going to be!
Shortly after, I received an email from one of their event planners! You can imagine how relieved I was to know that their form was working.
But then I read the email. The event planner just wanted to know a few more details:
- Preferred event date
- Number of guests
- Type of event
After hitting my head against the wall a few dozen times in sheer frustration, JD and I went back to the drawing board with two very large glasses of wine.
Lesson of the day:
Personalizing the customer experience is always worth the time, effort and money. In this day and age, technology gives companies – like the Burroughes Building – the power to know their customer on an entirely new level. When leveraged correctly, online data can give you insights into who has viewed your website, how they found you, and even where they’re located! Imagine personalizing every single marketing message and ad to the very needs of a potential customer. It makes it easy and convenient for a consumer to take the final step to purchase.
In my case, the team at The Burroughes seemed to have ignored the form they asked me to fill out altogether! As a huge fan of efficacy and details, I knew it wasn’t going to work with this team either.
These might not sound like the typical rants of a bride-to-be, I know. And maybe that’s why some event venues don’t seem to be catching on; they think we’re too engrossed in planning the hair, the dress, the makeup and the honeymoon. And the truth is, we are! We’re just busy doing it online.
So as one of the millions of digital consumers in the Greater Toronto Area, and on behalf of busy brides everywhere, my plea to wedding venues is get your stick on the ice and use your digital presence the way it's supposed to be used!
BTW, in case anyone was wondering, JD and I eventually did find a great venue to exchange vows, devour some red meat and drink some craft beer. The best part: the experience they’ve given us both digitally and in person have been everything an anal-retentive bride could hope for…I’ll talk more about that next time.