Venues are a great resource for referrals for wedding planners. They have a constant stream of potential brides and clients coming through their doors, so it is no wonder that, as planners, we want to build relationships with venues as part of our long-term marketing strategy.
So, how do new planners build these invaluable relationships?
The first step in creating relationships is simply getting in front of the sales manager or venue owner. Set up a time to go by and meet with the person in charge. It allows both of you a chance to get to know each other. You also will have first-hand knowledge of the venue for future clients. After the meeting, considering sending a thank you note and/or a small gift.
If you do a little research and find out if venues have special open houses or some sort of holiday or charity event, offer to help with the planning or design. This allows the venue director to see you in action. I know that I do not refer anyone if I cannot personally vouch for their work; a venue director probably feels the same. Let them see what your talents are so they feel comfortable referring you.
A styled photo shoot is a great way to not only work closely with a venue, but to show them your talents and your design aesthetic. I have never had a venue turn me down when I approach them to host a styled photo shoot. Make sure you have a clear vision when you propose the shoot and have a list of other vendors who may be interested.
Getting a venue to put you on a preferred vendor list or to recommend you to their clients takes more than an email: you need to put some effort out and see how you can help them. I firmly believe that the more we give, the more comes back to us. So as you build relationships with venues or vendors as a new planner, ask yourself “What could I do for them?”