Blending Spa Offerings with Alternative Ceremonies at Destination Resorts

By Magnolia Polley Partner, The Green Team Project | July 24, 2010

One day a person wakes up to realize they are either getting married or supporting their friends and family members who are getting married. We can all relate to the planning, the expense, and the conflicting vision of the couple, their friends and in-laws' and what is the definition of a perfect wedding. The planning is exciting and then over-night it can turn into a daunting experience. Year after year, hungry lovers march to the altar to validate their love. By the time the honeymoon comes, a couple is often times so exhausted by their efforts of putting on the grandest most amazing show, that the honeymoon comes and goes too quickly, if at all, with our tight economic times, endeavoring careers, and pre-existing families.

Everyone has been a bridesmaid, but what would you do if you were the bride? Where will the ceremony be? Who would be invited? Who would perform it? Will you have a theme? And "why" are you having the ceremony? The most important thing for a couple to remember is that they are the ones getting married and that the memories created during that time should literally be referenced upon as, the best day of their lives. Coincidentally, the most important thing for a Hotel or Destination Resort to remember is that they have the honor to help a couple make their greatest wedding dream or fantasy, a reality. Just a few decades ago it was unheard of for a young American couple to marry anywhere outside of their or their partner's home-town church, by their parent's minister. Today, destination weddings and alternative ceremonies provide an atmosphere of celebration for the union, ideals, and dreams of the new blooming couple.

What does the phrase "Alternative Ceremony" refer to? An alternative ceremony is any sacred union or reverence given during the times of birth, marriage, and death, outside of the traditional church setting and conducted by a reverend, minister, or otherwise ordained individual to sanctify the intention of the blessing. This article will detail ideas that support the alternative ceremony for marriage.

What does a destination location based ceremony involve? This is the catch for many couples, a location is chosen based on where the couple would like to honeymoon typically, they invite their closest friends and family or sometimes no one at all, and then proceed to get married in the setting of their dreams. This is the exciting part.

Offering accommodations for alternative ceremonies at any establishment offers an opportunity for the hotel, resort, boutique inn, or B&B to facilitate an unforgettable experience to their guests, while boosting revenue. Unforgettable experiences include: specialty spa treatments, menu items, pre-established concierge services and offerings, indoor or outdoor facilities for the ceremony, catering, and over-all reputable relationships with local flower shops, cake decorators, photographers, qualified hair and make-up artists, child-care establishments, and any other local businesses that contribute to creating a wedding ceremony.

I interviewed a myriad of professionals that work to make a couple's fantasy a reality. Opinions from wedding coordinators, specialty cake makers, and hospitality facility coordinators have offered some valuable tips to continue meeting service standards, boosting revenue, and making a couple's dreams come true.

Hawaiian influenced wedding ceremony at the Grand Wailea Resort, Maui Hawaii
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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.