Operations

How To Get More Prom And Milestone Event Bookings

Posted on April 19, 2017 by Keshia Richmond

Get these future wedding limo and airport transfer clients while they're enjoying the milestone events of youth (LCT image)
Get these future wedding limo and airport transfer clients while they're enjoying the milestone events of youth (LCT image)
Prom is the epitome of all young coming-of-age events. If you wait until prom season to market to teens preparing for prom, you may be leaving money on the table. Between the ages of 13 and 19, a pre-adult is likely to participate in two or more coming-of-age events per year, either as an invited guest or guest of honor.

Opportunities to connect with teens and their parents begin with bat/bar mitzvah, Quinceañera, Sweet 16, homecoming, junior prom, cotillions, debutantes, and senior prom. Simply put, to get them in your prom sales funnel, you must expand your efforts to reach them as soon as they enter their teen years. You should make numerous impressions year-round until their final milestone events or shortly before their high school graduations.

Start With A Campaign
The goal of your year-round campaign is to touch potential customers at each point of preparation regardless of what coming-of-age event they are planning for. The outcome you seek is to increase the number of impressions — ideally it takes eight — your company makes with them so their first coming-of-age event livery experience is with your fleet.

This gives you the best chance of making teens and their parents repeat customers. Christopher Duff’s daughter Cristen, a senior at Prince George High School in Prince George, Va., says he plans to book her the same white Bentley Rolls Royce from the same limousine operator he did several years ago when his oldest daughter went to prom.

“I told her if she and her date go alone, I’ll pay for that same Bentley,” Christopher said. Not only does he remember the fleet owners because he had such a great experience, but his top-of-mind awareness comes from the postcards he sometimes receives in the mail since his original booking.

Campaigns Educate
While the tastes of teens attending coming-of-age events vary by regions, Northeast, South, Midwest, West Coast, parents in certain regions may not know that party buses, popular in the Northeast, might bode well for teens looking to have a different experience in the South, for example, where a party bus may not be the norm.

A slick campaign slogan, an enticing image, and the focus on one vehicle, such as the party bus, in one part of a multi-part campaign may help you get more bookings for a specific vehicle.

Word of Mouth Campaign Champion
One of the best champions for reaching teens is your local dress store owner. Usually, the first step in planning for prom or any coming-of-age event for a young lady is dress shopping. She may browse and compare prices online but eventually she makes her way into a brick-and-mortar store. She may even travel up to 200 miles to find the perfect dress.

If she’s lucky, she’ll run into the owner of two prominent dress stores, one in Staten Island, N.Y., and the other in Woodbridge, N.J., who prides herself on being a one stop shop for teens’ formal needs. I had the opportunity to be in her Woodbridge store to witness a very witty exchange. After a young lady has inquired about a dress, she follows up with, “Do you have your limo yet?” and promptly hands out the card to her go-to limo company. When the young lady returns to buy the dress the owner follows-up with, “Did you contact my limo guy?”

Cooperative Marketing Outreach
Consider mirroring one of the largest dress stores in Massachusetts which bears a similar name to a New Hampshire-based limousine company that frequently splits costs on advertising campaigns and makes a play on their names. They target the same teens prepping for coming-of-age events. A dress store owner can be your best ally and a teen’s gateway to your fleet. Do this and spend less money only to make more.

Don’t leave any money on the table by waiting until prom season to market to teens preparing for prom. Planning for Prom 2018 and beyond starts now. Begin marketing to 13-year-olds now to build awareness that could lead to immediate and repeat bookings as 13-19 year olds head to multiple coming-of-age events. Starting early enables you to connect with teens and their parents beginning with all types of special occasions mentioned above. Getting a head start and marketing in the context of an overall campaign year-round gives you the best chance to building a sustainable pipeline of young customers.

The Takeaways
Think of your marketing efforts collectively as a campaign. Incorporate a variety of media types to reach the perfect marketing mix: Online (paid and organic), social media, and print, to name a few. Ensure your campaign message is clear and consistent across all media.

Reach teens and their parents as soon as they enter the prime age for coming-of-age events, possibly years before they attend their first prom or as they attend the increasingly popular middle school prom.

Network with owners of dress and tuxedo shops to generate a constant source of mutual referrals and shared marketing opportunities.

Keshia Richmond is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Prom Guide Magazine (www.promguide.com) based in Pompano Beach, Fla. For a complimentary, basic, SEO friendly page and listing for your limousine company on PromGuide.com, the resource for teens attending prom and all teen coming-of-age events, send an email to [email protected]

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