Operations

Creative Wedding Packages That Bring In More Revenue

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 13, 2017

Weddings can be great money makers for operators, but only if they don’t scare brides away at the first call. Just as wedding planning trends change, so do the needs and desires of lovers looking to tie the knot. It’s time to not only get creative with your vehicles, but with the way you structure your pricing for wedding transportation and present your services as well.

Make It Effortless

Kelly Alderete, owner of Alderete Transportation Group in Tucson, Ariz., doesn’t sell on price alone. “We aren’t the cheapest in the market, nor will we be. We sell on value so we can keep our prices where we need them to be,” she says. The key to attracting brides is to not just quote them a price and hang up, but to offer to help them find a venue or anything other than what you as a limo company provide, Alderete says.

Kelly Alderete wants to make things as easy as possible for clients.
Kelly Alderete wants to make things as easy as possible for clients.
This is also why she has distanced herself from creating rigid pricing packages. The process should revolve around customizing your services to fit each bride’s needs. One of her company’s biggest selling points is they take the time to listen. After all, you can’t really meet the needs of your customers without understanding what they want.

“I found having a standard package, they’d look at it and say, ‘Oh, well I don’t really need that.’ Then they may call someone else because they think that’s all you can do. You need to have some value other than the car…they’d just use a TNC if they wanted something quick, easy, and cheap,” Alderete says. (Believe it or not, she’s had some clients actually say they’d take an Uber to their wedding!)

In addition, you have to be ready to really work to fulfill their needs. For example, Alderete says if she doesn’t have the particular vehicle a client is looking for, she’ll work with an affiliate so she doesn’t lose the client’s business. “We don’t want them to have to go anywhere else; we want to make it easier for them.”

Make It Reasonable

John Oulton, owner of Richmond Limousine in Henrico, Va., also values the flexible approach. “Everyone in the industry likes to have their nice three-hour minimum, especially on these Saturday retail rides. But we’ve found we move vehicles a lot more frequently when we operate a little differently,” he says.

John Oulton knows time minimums chase away customers.
John Oulton knows time minimums chase away customers.
His company runs larger vehicles, such as mini-coaches, on two-hour minimums, and they’ll do several others point-to-point runs with no minimum. He’ll take a stretch and do five point-to-points in a day versus one four-hour ride, and make a lot more that way.

Often, a blissful couple will just want to get from the reception to the hotel, and not want to book a three-hour wedding getaway for a 15-minute ride. If they are having their ceremony and reception at the same location, Oulton will do a point-to-point from the hotel to the wedding venue. If the ceremony and reception are held in different locations, then they’ll normally end up doing a three-hour block because they’ll need to get to the ceremony, take pictures afterwards, and then get dropped off at the reception site.

“Instead of charging you the whole day in between, we’ll come back after your reception is over and do a point-to-point at the end,” he says. “We try to piece together what they actually need and charge them accordingly.”

Limo Vs. Wedding Expenses

2016 Average Wedding Cost: $35,329

Of that, brides spent an average of $859 on transportation

Source: The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study

Brides and wedding hosts trying to stay within a budget certainly appreciate it. “It also makes things easier on us because we get people in and out of the car and then we’re on to the next ride. It’s all about being more forward thinking in terms of what people are going to be more receptive to.”

Make It Honest

A bride who really knows what she wants isn’t concerned about price, but rather the quality of the service, say Mike and Marlo Denning, owners of Elegant Limousines & Wedding Services in Daytona Beach, Fla., who are also of a more value-driven mindset.

Mike and Marlo Denning believe honesty isn’t just the best policy; it’s the one that will keep clients coming back to you.
Mike and Marlo Denning believe honesty isn’t just the best policy; it’s the one that will keep clients coming back to you.
The couple frequently will get a call from a bride and the first thing they say is they need two limos for the wedding. “Our question is, why? When we get the itinerary from them, we discover they can do everything they need with one limo,” Marlo says. Often the bride will be shocked at their honesty. “Of course we’d love for you to book two or even three of our limos, but what’s the point of making you spend more than you need to? You’ll be broke and never come back to us.”

Instead, they’ll pick the men up first, then go back and get the ladies. After the ceremony, they’ll take the bride, groom, and their immediate family out for pictures, and then bring them to the reception.

“If you can find a way to save people money or give them more value, they are going to come back to you,” Mike says. “Couples will have anniversaries, children, and family flying in and out of town; they could become a customer for life.”

 Another way to win over loving couples on a tight budget is helping them take advantage of the 15-minute rule. Since showing up 15 minutes early is the industry standard, the couple has urged cash-strapped brides to make use of the time. “If they need a limo for three and a half hours, they are basically already getting a half hour for free since we don’t start charging until they run over 15 minutes — that’s an extra 15 minutes in the front and at the end,” the Dennings explain.

Make An Impression

One of the ways Jonathan Wilner, president of A. Harrington Limousine Service in Edison, N.J., stays competitive is by forgoing offering packages. He sits down with the couple and goes over exactly what they need, while also considering the best way to break it up to be economical yet profitable.

Jonathan Wilner believes in the impact of a traditional thank you card.
Jonathan Wilner believes in the impact of a traditional thank you card.
Much like the Dennings, Wilner believes if you can show the client you care about their budgets, they’ll remember your company for all of their future transportation needs. “When they do book with us, we tell them if they include us in their wedding invitations to their out-of-state friends and family who are flying in, we’ll provide a 20% discount for those individuals,” Wilner says. “This is also a good way to get an introduction to the companies they work for and provide additional discounts for future trips.”

Something he has learned over the years is that being too hasty to close the deal can lead to problems down the line. When you get excited and try to get the contract done too quickly, you might make mistakes in pricing and amenities along the way. “Just take your time, go over the details, and make sure you follow your pricing guidelines to ensure you aren’t giving the farm away.”

Take ownership of the event and ensure you follow-up on confirmations with a phone call to verify any changes and that nothing was forgotten, he adds. Follow up with them after the event and send a thank you note for trusting you on such a special day.

The purpose is twofold: To ensure all went as they expected and hoped for; but if it didn’t, to get all the details so you can fix anything on your end and see how you can compensate them. 

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Related Topics: customer service, limousine packages, service pricing, special events, weddings, working with wedding planner

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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