A wedding venue’s preferred supplier list is given to every couple who book a wedding at the venue. It’s a recommendation by the venue that each and every one of their couples should consider hiring your services. For your business, this means a trusted introduction to an ongoing source of qualified leads.
Getting onto a venue preferred supplier list is an endorsement of your business and one of the best forms of free marketing available to wedding vendors. So, how do you get added to a venue’s preferred supplier list? And of equal importance, which venues do you want to be listed with?
How To Get Added To A Venue's Preferred Supplier List
Let’s take a minute to consider your business objectives. The primary benefit of being on a preferred vendor list is getting warm leads that easily convert to bookings. These bookings require less selling and with fewer hoops to jump through are often more profitable. But simply being on a preferred supplier list does not magically generate leads of the easily converting kind. You need to choose wedding venues that are the right fit for you.
Leads that convert easily are customers that you service best!
You’ve got what they want. They value what you offer. To generate an ongoing source of these high converting leads, you’ll want to get onto the preferred supplier list of venues who book customers in your target markets. Do the venues you are targeting book the type of customers that love what you offer?
Once you’ve identified potential venues you’d like to work with, you can start the process of getting your business on their favourites list. Here's the 3 steps to get onto a venue’s preferred supplier list:
- Make yourself known
- Ensure that you & your business are a good fit for the venue
- Ask to be put on the preferred supplier list
Here's how to make your business known to the venues who's preferred supplier lists are missing your name:
11 Ways to get on a venue’s preferred supplier list
1. Give public recognition
Nothing grabs the attention of a business like a glowing review. Reviews provide wedding venues with social proof and help prospective customers make the decision to enquire or book. If you want to get on a wedding venue’s radar, give recognition of the venue’s benefits in an online review.
Think strategically about where to post your glowing comments. Google and Facebook both accept reviews however you’ll need to post from your personal account. If you want to post reviews in your business name, online wedding platforms are a better choice. Recommendations you post on Wedlockers link back to your own business listing, directly increasing your visibility with target customers. If you haven't done so yet, create a business listing to get started. It's free.
Images and text content are the crucial ingredients in marketing your wedding business online. Fresh, quality content for social media is time consuming to produce and often a pain point for many wedding venues. Any fresh & relevant content you can provide for use by wedding venues is likely to be very much appreciated.
Email venues with professional quality images of a recent wedding you did there. If you’re a photographer, try to share images that best showcase the venue’s spaces and selling points. In addition to the venue posting your images on their socials, they may also select the photos for use on their website or in printed brochures giving you even wider exposure.
If you’re not a photographer try a more personal approach. A celebrant for example might provide an image of themselves officiating at the venue along with text content that can be used in an Instagram caption. Thank you notes saying why you loved working there or how well the venue did managing the wedding are often published by venues. Vendors that offer mutual benefits to venues are the first choice for their preferred supplier lists.
3. Exhibit at open days
Let wedding venues know that you’re interested in contributing to any upcoming open days they’re planning. Make sure you articulate why you want to be part of their team and how you’re willing to assist in ensuring their event is successful.
They already know you want to generate enquiries for your own business by being at their open day. Tell them instead why their venue is on your preferred list. Venues want their biggest champions exhibiting at open days because they know you'll help to sell their venue.
Make it clear that in addition to promoting your own service you’ll be pointing out the venue's benefits to prospective customers on the day. Explain how you’ll be a partner by promoting the event on your socials and how you’ll create a professional and visually appealing exhibit to add to the aesthetics of the event.
4. Offer marketable incentives
Venues have a list of couples who have enquired but haven’t yet booked. These couples are also your potential clients. If you can offer a marketable incentive that helps the venue book these clients you’ll not only get on the venue’s preferred supplier list but you could also get a few of these bookings.
Think laterally about what you could offer and avoid discounts (which are rarely appealing to couples who are not already warm leads). Photographers might suggest a free pre-wedding shoot for any couples who book the venue and don’t already have a wedding photographer. Videographers could offer a free upgrade, for example to add the capture of speeches at the reception.
Photo: E Squared Design Co
5. Organise a styled shoot
Styled shoots generate beautiful images. Beautiful images generate ongoing enquiries. Helping a wedding venue to generate ongoing enquiries is an express ticket onto the coveted preferred suppliers list. And if you successfully submit your styled shoot to a wedding magazine or blog, well that top spot on the preferential list is all yours!
6. Share blogs
Does the venue offer informative content on their blog that would be of interest to your social followers? Hit the share button, make sure the venue is tagged, write a caption to introduce the blog post to your audience and post it on your Facebook page.
Search for blogs published by wedding platforms that feature your preferred venue. On the Wedlockers wedding blog for example, there are shortlists that help couples find specific types of wedding venues. These are perfect for sharing on your social media with a caption like “we’re thrilled to see one of our favourite venues featured on this list of ...” You’ll also be showing your support for the blog which goes a long way to the blog supporting you in kind.
7. Connect on social media
Develop a relationship with the venue on social media platforms such as Instagram. Some venues engage marketing agencies to manage their social media accounts, but you can usually tell which venues self manage their socials by the nature of comments in the posts. Personal comments from wedding vendors and other local businesses are indicative.
Show your support for the venue by regularly commenting on and liking posts that resonate with you. Keep it genuine.
8. Share social media posts
Look for posts on the venue’s social media accounts that you can share on your own socials. Rather than simply giving the venue a plug with a “look at this amazing venue” type of post, look for posts that offer value to your audience. Special deals, special events like open days or festivals, philanthropic or philosophical posts are all potentially of interest to people who follow you.
9. Provide endorsements
Wedding vendors who create a listing on Wedlockers can endorse vendors, and receive endorsements in return. Endorsements are keywords or phrases that couples use to search for wedding vendors. You can select up to 3 endorsements per vendor to boost their reach & rank in search results.
Every endorsement you receive increases your impressions, views, click-throughs and enquiries.
10. Bring business
All it takes is one booking. Think about the type of wedding venue it is. Is it a hotel? A farm? A luxury resort that accommodates the entire guest list for the weekend? Do you have any clients or know anyone who’s looking for that kind of a wedding venue? If yes, point them in the right direction.
If not, think collaboratively. You can bring business to a wedding venue by responding to requests for recommendations on social media. Wedding related Facebook groups based in the venue’s area are particularly effective for this. Join the local Facebook groups then search for posts relating to “wedding venue recommendations”. Suggest and link to the venue if it meets, or very nearly meets the requirements specified by the group member.
11. Be easy to work with
Bringing mutual respect and a collaborative approach is the key to a successful working relationship. Understand & comply with the venue’s needs and legal obligations:
a) Venues are busy. Make an appointment before visiting.
b) Make the venue look good in front of your clients
c) Have the proper insurance and proactively provide the venue a copy
d) If an opportunity presents, be helpful
e) Provide any requirements or schedules well in advance
f) Communicate proactively and responsively
g) Don’t leave a mess or break anything. When accidents happen, fix it.
h) Thank the venue
Now that the venue knows what you’re about, you can reach out and ask to be added to their preferred supplier list.
Who gets onto a venue’s preferred supplier list?
Any business can get onto a venue’s preferred vendor list. You simply need to be exactly that - a preferred vendor. Here’s what makes you a preferred supplier:
You offer an exceptional product and service that’s on point with the venue’s brand.
If the venue is an exclusive 5 star resort, their preferred suppliers are likely to be exclusive 5 star providers too. Budget friendly halls or surf life saving clubs are likely to recommend similarly affordable services to match the needs of their clientele. You’re most likely to get onto the preferred supplier list of venues whose clients are in line with your own.
You are a credit to the venue
Having you at the venue is a positive experience for the venue’s customers, staff and management. You are honest, open, easy to communicate with, friendly, considerate of others and understand the needs of the venue. You do not add to the pressure of the event.
You are collaborative
Don’t ask the venue what they can do for you. Show instead, what you can do for them. Wedding venues appreciate vendors who contribute to a mutually beneficial relationship rather than simply asking them for free enquiries. Start your relationship with the venue by offering whatever value you can. Never stop giving.
Photo: Lovesick Weddings
Wedding venues get a lot of businesses asking them for a spot on their preferred supplier list. The ones who are successful in getting on the list usually offer a benefit to the venue. The venue gets something valuable from having the wedding vendor on their list.
The vast majority of wedding vendors approach venues by explaining the amazing product and service they offer and outlining what they can do for the venue’s clientele. Very few consider what they can do for the venue itself. If you want to get onto a venue’s preferred supplier list, give THEM something. Provide value to THEM. Show them what direct benefits they will receive from having you on their team.
You're now ready to begin reaching out and making connections with your ideal wedding venues. Join Wedlockers now, and start building connections with Australia's best wedding venues.
Cover Image: Lynn & Justin Photography