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Wedding celebrations are a lucrative business with an average wedding costing more than $30,000. Only five percent of that is spent on transportation, but that share is increasing as destination weddings become more common. According to the Association of Bridal Consultants’ breakdown of the average cost for a wedding, the total budget for wedding transportation is climbing steadily — now closer to $1,400. And CostofWedding.com’s breakdown of the average cost for U.S. nuptials shows fewer than 50% of weddings use any chauffeured transportation at all. It’s a market ripe for expansion.
Attending bridal fairs and wooing popular venues and wedding coordinators is important if weddings are a major target. But if you have limited resources, you can expand your wedding business simply by popping meaningful questions of your own.
The First Date
The bride calls to see what it will cost to get her guests to and from a wedding. Wedding transportation may be more common with couples selecting a separate reception site or with a lot of time between ceremony and reception. But it is still neither an expected nor a required service for wedding attendees.
For cautious couples concerned that a drinking incident will spoil their event, wedding transportation is an opportunity for all operators that a transportation network company (TNC) cannot fulfill. No one wants a festivities-related safety issue in a car, so reach beyond only what your caller asks for. Make sure you get every guest where they need to be. Bring in more revenue and make lifelong customers by providing a memorable, picture-perfect, and safe experience.
Before giving hourly rates, hold off and listen for what the couple is asking. Don’t jump to pricing estimates too fast. Often, they may not be sure what they want or need. It’s your job to understand and interpret their primary concern.
If it is safe transportation or getting everyone to various destinations, become the wedding transportation consultant who knows wedding needs. The client has likely never arranged a wedding before, so walk through the complete celebration — something more than just the wedding day — and highlight opportunities where comprehensive transportation would make the event more seamless and safe.
Getting Good Information
Along with getting the basics of dates and locations, congratulate the happy couple. Ask about the proposal and the size of the wedding. Be genuinely interested. And then get to popping some questions of your own. You will nearly always get more work if you help them think through the logistics. Some questions you might consider asking the couple:
- Is there a rehearsal dinner planned? This is another important night for transporting key guests from a hotel to the wedding venue to the restaurant and back to the hotel (or the hotel bar). It’s another festive night that calls for sober driving. Getting attendees from a hotel to a restaurant and back will cost far less than the dinner and guarantee everyone is in one piece for the big day.
- Is the bridal party having their hair done together? Could this be a special “girl time” trip getting the ladies to and from their nail and hair appointments?
- Do you have special guests such as grandparents or others who would be better off with a chauffeur? Elderly guests or those who prefer not to drive at night or on unfamiliar roads might even pay their own way for the stress-free comfort.
- Big day logistics might dictate smaller shuttles rather than a coach. Ask whether the wedding party will arrive first. Are the men separate from the women? And are they getting ready somewhere else? Or will everyone arrive on a coach that leaves a hotel at a specified time? Will there be any children who need car seats or boosters?
- Is there a wedding coordinator to help with transportation? Depending on the complexity, perhaps a paid transportation coordinator can be added to the contract. Getting to the church on time does matter, after all.
- What about the couple’s ride to the church? They are probably separate, so how will that work?
- If the groom asks for a vehicle to move guests, one or two pick-up locations to get to the wedding might be perfect. Talk through timing in detail. Will a shuttle work or is a large coach or two better? If the reception is at a separate location, having transportation ready for guests is necessary while the wedding party takes photos. And then, how will the wedding party get to the reception? It could be that another vehicle is needed.
- Is there anyone who will want to leave the reception much earlier than the group? A young family or an older guest may not want to stay until the very end.
- Would you like a getaway car for your wedding night? Consider throwing this in as a freebie, or using a lucrative specialty vehicle that you have in the fleet.
- And will you be taking a honeymoon? If a couple leaves from a hotel, they will need a ride to the airport if they are flying. Ask if you can help send them off together.