» WedInsights: Why Couples Prefer Online Payments

WedInsights

WedInsights: Why Couples Prefer Online PaymentsSmall and large businesses alike have an increasing number of options to collect digital payments from customers. Now that credit cards and online payments are more commonly being used in the wedding industry, it’s important for professionals to accept most forms of payment – especially the forms that are most convenient for your clients!*

Mobile payments are only expected to grow in prevalence – transforming the way consumers pay both online and offline in the coming years. Stay ahead of the trend and ensure you are collecting payment the fastest, and easiest, way for your clients! The stats below from Volume 9 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series shed light on why couples prefer online payments.

More than 50% of couples prefer to pay their wedding vendors using an online payment method

Although 85% of couples pay for their products or services by personal check, writing a check has become a thing of the past in the minds of today’s couples. Just like you need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your field, it’s important to do the same with your business practices so you aren’t perceived as outdated!

Online payments typically take less than one day to submit payment

Submitting a payment online is not only convenient for the client, but it also helps you get paid faster. Couples on average take less than one day to submit an online payment, whereas those required to mail in or drop off a check take 3 – 4 times longer. Why wait?

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» Gay Wedding Trends: A 2015 Year-in-Review Snapshot

This post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Kathryn Hamm, Publisher of GayWeddings.com, the leading online resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Kathryn is also co-author of the groundbreaking book, The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian and Gay Wedding Photography. Follow her on Twitter @madebykathryn.

Though the spiritual implementation of wedding rituals for same-sex couples has remained steady since GayWeddings.com was founded in 1999, the practical implementation and legal opportunities have changed dramatically.

Gay Wedding Trends: A 2015 Year-in-Review Snapshot

Besides the most dramatic change–same-sex couples having legal access to marriage rights in all 50 states–gay and lesbian wedding trends now look overwhelmingly different than they did 20, or even 10, years ago.

Where once we were having small, private ceremonies that might or might not have included our family members, we are now celebrating our unions with many more guests in attendance (100 on average according to a recent WeddingWire survey), with more family members than ever celebrating with us and, it’s worth noting, often pressuring us to hurry up and get engaged already.

I’ll be speaking at WeddingWire World in greater depth on the latest LGBTQ wedding trends, data insights, and how same-sex couples continue to impact the larger modern market, but I hope you’ll enjoy this brief sneak preview of the themes ahead.

LGBTQ wedding trends look an awful lot like those for non-LGBTQ couples

Yes, wedding ritual assimilation is well underway. Thankfully, that street goes both ways, which means that straight couples are gaining a few fun twists just as LGBTQ couples are lining up behind wedding trends shared by all couples in the mainstream market.

If you are looking for a crystal ball into 2016, GayWeddings.com’s lead writer, Whitney Teal, offered couples a fabulous summary of the 2016 style trends that are important for couples to keep in mind. Her summary includes 7 trends from mixed-gender wedding parties to drones (the camera carrying kind, not the dull guests!) to hashtags and retro menswear. It’s a great read so check it out to learn more about what’s ahead.

Pro Tip: Share the GayWeddings.com 2016 Style Trends post with your LGBTQ couples or prospective couples as a conversation starter.

Structurally speaking, we’re more alike than different…

Many of you are now familiar with the tradition and trend statistics the WeddingWire team released summarizing the behavior of same-sex couples in 2014. You might not be surprised to know that we continue to find a similar pattern for all couples in 2015, including:

  • LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ couples who use WeddingWire report similar levels of use of planning apps, announcing an engagement on social media and using a wedding hashtag.
  • LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ couples who use WeddingWire report a similar number of months for their engagement period.
  • LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ couples who use WeddingWire report a similar number of dollars spent in wedding costs.

…But some differences are essential to remember and integrate into your toolbox

In 2014, we found that LGBTQ couples broke from “tradition” and expressed themselves a bit differently when it came to wedding rituals. For individual LGBTQ couples, this was largely determined by fit with or rejection of heteronormative gender roles (eg. what a bride “does” and what a groom “does”). But, that was yesterday.

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» 4 Statistics to Prepare You for Engagement Season

WedInsights

Engagement season statistics from WedInsightsEngagement season is here, which means newly engaged couples everywhere are starting to plan their perfect wedding and looking for wedding professionals who can help pull it all together.

While some couples may be focused on celebrating their big news with family over the holidays, many others will jump right into the planning process – looking for a wedding planner, scoping out venues, building a budget and choosing a date.

Check out these statistics from Volume 7 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to find out what’s in store for your wedding business this engagement season!

17% of engagements happen on the same 10 days each year

In fact, nearly 40% of engagements occur between November and February. The holiday season is the perfect time for many engagements, given that many couples have time off work and travel home to visit their families. The top ten most popular dates include major holidays such as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years’ Day, and Valentine’s Day.

On average, couples are engaged for 12 – 13 months before getting married

With that amount of time, couples have the ability to plan the wedding at a more manageable pace with their busy lives. However, it’s important to keep in mind that engagement lengths can vary greatly – our data shows that 29% of couples are engaged less than 9 months and 33% of couples are engaged for over 16 months. Those who have less than a year to plan are going to have very different wants and expectations, compared to a couple with 2 or more years to plan.

Most couples search for the majority of their vendors 7-9 months prior to their wedding

When jumping into the planning process, couples begin by setting a timeframe and budget. Certain categories such as venues, caterers, bands, and DJs are often researched as early as one year prior to the wedding. But don’t forget that 50% of couples getting married use products and/or services from at least 10 different vendors, so now is the time to ramp up your marketing. Continue reading

» 3 Ways Displaying Pricing Information Generates More Leads

WedInsights

Statistics from WedInsights Volume 6Couples spend a lot of time researching the perfect wedding vendors and one of the main things they look for before reaching out is the potential price tag – and no, it’s not because they’re price shopping.

44% of wedding professionals say their prices vary per customer, which is why they prefer to have a dialogue or meeting to collect more details before providing a price point. Although couples understand there may be a variance in price, they express frustration when they cannot get a general baseline and are more likely to continue a conversation with a vendor who willingly provides this information as a starting point.

Below we share some of the insights from Volume 6 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to find out how displaying pricing information can help your wedding business connect with more qualified couples online.

Stand out as a possible choice

Due to the importance of pricing information, many couples bypass vendors who don’t display pricing information and focus on those that give a price indication up front. In fact, 88% of couples want to see pricing before reaching out to contact a vendor. Couples simply don’t want to waste their time or get excited about a product or service only to discover it’s outside of their budget. Give prospective clients the information they need to send a lead by adding initial pricing information to your website and additional online listings.

Establish trust at the point of inquiry

Couples hate nothing more than to ask “how much” and in return get forced into having a conversation or sales pitch in order to get an answer. As much as we know that wedding professionals prefer to have a conversation to get all the details and provide an accurate price, couples just want to get a baseline. Don’t be afraid to answer the question and then ask to set up time to chat. And remember – despite budgeting and planning, 74% of couples come in over budget. Only 10% of couples report coming in right on budget and 16% under budget, indicating that couples are willing to be flexible, but they need to feel comfortable with your business before they can make adjustments.

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» Wedding Planning on Social Media: 5 Statistics

WedInsights

Five statistics about how couples use social media for wedding planningSocial media isn’t something that existed for your wedding business as recently as seven years ago. It requires time and effort, and making sure it’s at least a small piece of what you do every day is no easy task for a busy wedding professional. Have you ever wondered just how important social media is to the wedding planning process and whether or not it actually affects your bottom line?

Check out these five statistics from Volume 5 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to find out how couples are wedding planning on social media and how you can maximize your business’ presence.

74% of internet users are active on social media and 89% are between the ages of 18-29

There’s no doubt about it: data shows that your target demographic is on social media. Due to the significance of social media during the planning process, not having a social presence on these sites could negatively impact your brand’s reputation.  In fact, 62% of couples say that vendors who are not on social media seem “outdated.” If you have not yet created a social presence for your wedding business, now is the time to start.

34% of couples say they’ve contacted a vendor though social media

Many social networks have become curated content streams for consumers to keep a pulse on the people, topics, and products they care about. Instead of flipping through magazines, today’s couples are scrolling through online feeds to find vendors for their big day. This is your chance to stand out and wow potential clients with content that appeals to your audience. Try posting examples of your work, aspirational photos, useful advice and tips, or interesting and funny links.

61% of couples ‘follow’ or ‘like’ a vendor’s page so that they can see the quality of their work

If a couple wants to learn more about your business, they’re likely to visit your Storefront or website. But what about those other factors that may not be easily seen through your own marketing materials? Social media allows for a more personal experience and should be a place for your clients to get to know you. Your customers want to work with people they enjoy being around, so show them a little bit of your personality!

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» Responding to Leads: Response Time, Method, and Style

WedInsights

Responding to Leads: Response Time, Method, and StyleEngaged couples send out dozens of online inquiries during the planning process trying to find the perfect vendor team for their wedding day. While some couples may know a little (or a lot) about your business prior to submitting a lead, how you respond and the speed of your response will determine the likelihood of booking.

Below we share data from Volume 4 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series to help you understand the impact your response time and communication style have on the likelihood of booking wedding clients:

80% of couples use email to submit inquiries

Couples have become expert multi-taskers and take every opportunity they have to do wedding research and submit leads – often during work or school. Furthermore, many couples like to have a record of the conversation in their email so they can easily reference it at a later date. Since they won’t always have the time to schedule a phone call with you, make sure you’re responding to inquiries in a way that’s convenient for your prospective client. If they reach out via email, respond via email.

Most couples expect to hear back from a vendor within 24 hours

One way to increase your likelihood of booking a client is to respond quickly – within 24 hours to be exact. Our data shows that couples have an all-around more positive perception of a vendor when they respond quickly. The faster you respond, the more likely your prospective client is still thinking about your business and will continue the conversation. Think about the leg up you’d have if you’ve already had two conversations before your competition has even replied!

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» 3 Statistics That Prove You Need Mobile Optimization

WedInsights

Young people using mobile devicesA mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s now a necessity for conducting business in the wedding industry. More than ever, couples are using smartphones at all hours of the day to keep the planning process moving along, from searching for vendors to finding inspiration.

Your mobile website might be the first and only impression a couples sees of your business, so it’s vital that your site provides a good user experience and highlights important information. You can learn more about mobile optimization in Volume 3 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series, but below we’ve compiled a few stats that prove that mobile optimization is a big deal for your wedding business!

61% of mobile users say they are likely to visit another site when they don’t find the information they’re looking for right away

Today’s society is accustomed to instant gratification and the same holds true for the wedding planning process. Smartphones allow couples to search for information during their commute, while at the gym and even at 2am; therefore, it’s important to provide the content they’re searching for when you have their attention! If a couple can’t find the information they’re looking for on your site, they’ll quickly move on to the next.

Each week, couples spend over 30% of their time planning their wedding from a mobile device

While all businesses need to have a strong mobile presence, it’s important to recognize if the product or service you provide is better suited for a desktop or mobile interaction and adjust content accordingly. While a couple might not create their wedding invitation on a mobile device, they will certainly be browsing for design inspiration. Think about what is most valuable to your mobile clients and how you can deliver a great experience, while highlighting the most meaningful content. A good mobile experience does not need to replicate your website, but should offer up content that makes prospective clients want to take the next step.

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» Understanding the Client Journey: 4 Statistics

WedInsights

StatisticsThroughout their wedding planning journey, engaged couples are faced with hundreds of decisions and experience many emotions. As a wedding professional, it’s important not only to recognize where your clients are in the process, but also determine where and how you fit into the client journey. Understanding this process is key to booking more clients, as it can help you educate the couple, personalize their experience, and instill confidence.

To help you begin understanding the client journey, we’ve compiled consumer insights in Volume 2 of the WeddingWire WedInsights Series. Below are four statistics to help frame your thoughts as you dive into the client journey:

Today’s couples spend 80% of their planning online

Couples spend most of their time looking for vendors online, so it’s important to make sure you have an impressive online representation of your brand and offering. If a bride or groom can’t find the information they want on your website, third party business profile, blog or social media profiles, you are likely missing out on additional bookings! Make sure you’re telling a compelling story and relaying key information that couples are looking for, including pricing information, reviews, and high-quality photos.

89% of Pros have 1 – 3 conversations with a potential client before they book

Many factors come into play when planning a wedding – from who’s getting married to who’s paying. Don’t rush the process! Take a step back to observe and listen to your prospective clients along with their wants and needs for their big day. It usually takes a few conversations to develop a rapport, so don’t feel pressured to close the sale during your first phone call with a prospective client. Asking the right questions will help you understand what they’re looking for and how your business can be the right choice for the role.

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» Introducing the WedInsights Series

WedInsights

Introducing the WedInsights SeriesWe’re proud to introduce WedInsights, a new publication designed to provide wedding professionals with actionable consumer and business insights.

WedInsights is a free monthly series that will allow wedding and event professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest wedding industry findings and new client data. Each month we’ll provide you with a new issue aimed at providing relevant and insightful data around important topics for businesses in the wedding industry, including:

  • The importance of a mobile presence
  • The couples’ wedding planning journey
  • Capturing and converting more leads
  • …and more!

Each publication will provide a holistic view of the topic from both the consumer and vendor perspective. We’ll provide relevant behavioral data, quotes and testimonials from real consumers, and peer-to-peer insights to help you understand how to use the information provided to help your business.

Our inaugural issue focuses on Reviews and details how reviews have become instrumental to every wedding business’s success. Download the free WedInsight Reviews report here and keep an eye out for new topics each month!

» The Importance of Response Time

It should come as no surprise that your customers want to feel valued by your business; they want to know that their wedding or event is a priority. That’s why response time is so important for wedding professionals! Customers are likely to take their business elsewhere if they feel neglected, and a slow response time can be viewed as neglect for many.

With the prevalence of today’s instant communication, an untimely response to an inquiry or request often indicates poor customer service to your potential clients. Even worse – a consistently slow response time can result in the loss of multiple customers and the associated revenue.

Our short infographic has a few stats to help you understand just how important it is to be prompt in your responses!

The importance of response time for wedding professionals

» Top 10 Instagram Statistics

By now, you have likely heard of the wildly popular photo sharing app, Instagram! This past year, Instagram has launched exciting new features including web profiles, video sharing, and recently promoted ads. However, it’s not only Instagram’s strong brand awareness, frequent new feature roll-out and overall app popularity that are making it one of the most engaging channels on social media.

Check out these top 10 Instagram statistics about the app and its high levels of engagement:

  1. There are currently 150 million active monthly users
  2. Over 16 billion photos have been shared
  3. 1.2 billion likes occur every day
  4. 55 million photos are shared on average each day
  5. 1000 comments occur per second on Instagram
  6. Currently the average photo receives an average of 37 interactions per 1,000 followers, while videos get an average of 24 interactions per 1,000 followers
  7. The top three most popular photo filters are Lo-fi, X-Pro II, and Mayfair
  8.  The most popular day to post is Thursday, but Sundays receive the most interaction for the average user
  9. On average, you get one comment for every 33 likes as a brand
  10. The average user spends 257 minutes per month on Instagram

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating an Instagram account for your business today by downloading the app in Apple iTunes or Google Play on your iPhone or Android device.

Unsure about what to post? Share an inside look at your work, more about your brand personality and what inspires you, great images of your work at events and more. And, while you’re at it, be sure to follow WeddingWireEDU to keep up with our events, conferences, the team and more!

» GayWeddings.com & WeddingWire Reveal Facts Behind Same-Sex Weddings

WeddingWire and GayWeddings.com - Network Partners

This week, GayWeddings.com and WeddingWire were excited to announce results from our recent survey of same-sex weddings in 2012.

The comprehensive survey asked members of the WeddingWire and GayWeddings.com communities to share the details of their recent wedding planning experience. Survey results indicated same-sex couples are expanding the ways they plan their weddings, just as the mainstream market is embracing them.

Check out some top findings from the survey:

  • Engagement is being signified by two rings: In the engagement phase, more than two-thirds of couples signified their engagement with two rings (one for each partner), rather than the traditional one ring for the female partner.
  •  Wedding essentials matter: Regardless of the legality of the union, 93 percent of couples budgeted for flowers and said venue, attire, catering and photography/videography are wedding day essentials.
  • Top planning resources: The top three planning resources for these couples were wedding websites such as WeddingWire.com, same-sex specific websites such as GayWeddings.com, and books or magazines. Additionally, 80 percent of couples reported that they preferred resources that were fully inclusive to all couples.
  • Smaller weddings are popular: Though same-sex weddings are growing in size, they remain smaller and more intimate relative to heterosexual weddings. Those same-sex couples surveyed reported an average of 80 guests compared to heterosexual couples who reported an average of 170 guests.
  • Language matters: Only 38 percent of couples described the marketing and client materials of their wedding professionals as fully inclusive. The large majority of couples indicated that inclusive language in these materials was very or somewhat important to them when selecting a professional.
  • Honeymoons happen: Post-wedding, more than 80 percent of couples went on a planned honeymoon, which comes close to the 86 percent of heterosexual couples who went on a honeymoon.

These new findings and statistics are important for LGBTQ-friendly wedding professionals as you embrace all kinds of loving couples, and the growing community of same-sex couples tying the knot this year and in the near future! For more information, read the full press release here.

Want to learn more about serving same-sex couples or how to share your support of marriage equality?

  • Opt into the GayWeddings.com directory to get found by same-sex couples planning their big day! Simply visit your WeddingWire Business Details page, select “LGBT Weddings/Ceremonies.” Click “Save,” and your business will be featured on GayWeddings.com.
  • Join the Wed We Can movement for up-to-date information and resources for both wedding professionals and couples planning their wedding, and be sure to share the love on social media.
  • Get expert tips on making your brand language and marketing materials more inclusive, from President of GayWeddings.com and Education Expert Kathryn Hamm.
  • Check out the recent article published on the Huffington Post by Kathryn Hamm, End of an Era, about the changing same-sex wedding niche over the past decade.