As proven marketing experts in the wedding and event venue industry, our clients come to us looking for advice and strategy on a wide-range of topics. One of the most common queries we receive is: “Should I show my pricing on my website?” While it seems like this question should have a simple yes or no answer, it’s more complicated than you’d think.
The reason this answer is complex is that prospective couples will react to rates differently as they move through the three phases of their buying journey before making a final venue selection. These stages are: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of displaying your pricing at each stage of the customer journey so you can make an informed decision.
First, let’s pinpoint where the concern comes from. A common fear is that displaying a price range on your website could inadvertently close the door to under-budget prospects. The alternative is not displaying prices which can generate more inquiries and allow for the opportunity to upsell clients later on in the sales process. However, if your resources are stretched thin, do you want to dedicate time and effort to nurturing a prospect who can’t afford to host with you? If you’re still debating, keep reading.
Initial Survey of Venues
AKA the Awareness Stage
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: A thoughtfully designed, informative wedding and event venue website is key to attracting clients at the outset of their research. According to Pardot, 72% of all prospective buyers turn to Google as they commence their research for a purchase. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re looking for pricing specifically. In fact, it’s probably the furthest thing from their minds.
At this stage, potential clients are looking for basic information about your venue. They want to dig into the details about what services you provide (as well as those you don’t). They’re also looking at how successfully your venue and staff have executed events in the past via evocative imagery, testimonials, videos, and galleries of real weddings.
Right now, your clients are dreaming big and your job is to prove that your venue is their dream come true. It’s not that budget isn’t a priority for couples at this stage, it’s just not as top of mind as envisioning their perfect wedding. High quality design, photography and videography, and strategically optimized site content go a lot further than price points at this initial stage.
- Displaying pricing at the Awareness stage works for: Smaller venues who can’t dedicate resources to nurturing leads that may not work out, venues seeking “off-season” clients and are consistently booked the rest of the year, banquet halls and restaurants as weddings are not their bread and butter.
A List of Prospects
AKA the Consideration Stage
Once couples begin to consider your venue as a potential setting for their wedding, cost becomes more of a priority. It’s during the Consideration phase that venues can begin presenting options regarding everything from catering to entertainment and guest lodging.
Full-service or all-inclusive venues tend to be more expensive because they offer their couples so much more than just a setting. However, seeing that pricing in the initial Awareness stage before you’ve had a chance to really demonstrate the value you offer can result in sticker shock among those couples who have just started their search. The goal is to make them fall in love with your venue at first sight and then discuss the details once you’ve already made their list. Gated content and e-brochures are the perfect tools at this Consideration stage. You can offer a pricing sheet or brochure for download on your site in exchange for some basic contact information. In this piece, it’s important to try to highlight what couples will get when they book a package with you versus other venues. They’re already comparing you to your competition, so make your venue the obvious choice!
- Displaying pricing at the Consideration stage works for: Medium size venues, destination wedding venues, and venues with several upsell options to offer clients such as on-site lodging, spas, hosted attractions and activities, and more.
Choosing a Venue
AKA the Decision Stage
Once your prospective couples have reached this phase they should already know a good deal of information about your venue. You’ve likely even discussed pricing organically with them, even if it’s just via a brochure or pricing sheet. So, at this stage, you really just want to make everything crystal clear for them so they feel confident that they’re making the right decision in choosing you. Now is when you’ll want to present them with a customized and streamlined price list so they can determine the final cost of their wedding or event. Presenting too many options (and price ranges) can lead to decision paralysis and your emails and calls will start to go unanswered.
- Displaying pricing at the decision stage works for: Large or very high-end venues with target clients to whom pricing is no object and is often an afterthought.
So, What Now?
At Hawthorn Creative, we understand why event venues struggle with the choice to communicate pricing parameters to customers. Competition is fierce and every couple is different. However, when you sign on to create a beautiful and powerful website with us, our team of designers, content creators, and strategists will guide you to ensure you’re giving your prospects the information they need every step of the way towards “I do!”