Banquet hall marketing is a little different than typical marketing. For starters, your target audience is tightly defined: couples looking to get married, businesses for meetings and groups that will host fundraiser events, dances or banquets. It is very important to include visuals because with banquet halls people will want to see what they are getting. The better your marketing efforts are, the more tours and tastings you will be doing to showcase your venue.
When you start a banquet hall business, it is important to get people in the door. The best way to market your venue is by showing it off. Choose a weeknight or a Sunday afternoon and host an open house. Invite people to come tour your venue, sample your food and get more information on holding events at your banquet hall. If you decide on a week night, you can include a free dinner buffet to show off your food. On a Sunday afternoon, it is best to go with appetizers. Either way, keep it casual, let people come in, look around, taste food, mingle and ask your staff questions.
For the specific wedding target audience, attend bridal expos. You can find a list of scheduled bridal expos at Bridal Expos, Inc. or OneWed (see Resources). When you attend bridal expos, hand out brochures, take samples of your food, have photo albums ready and show off you venue to everyone who comes to your booth. You can get a lot of leads and tours out of bridal expos. Even better, a lot of these leads can turn into customers.
Think about your target audience and create a direct mailing piece targeted toward them. If you know you want to target businesses and entice them to host their meetings at your banquet hall, then send them direct mail pieces featuring your lunch menu options and presentation equipment that businesses will find useful for meetings.
If you plan to target couples to host their weddings, then consider using models and a professional photographer to stage pictures of weddings at your facility. Highlight things like your buffet and sit down dinner options, your wedding decorations and your shuttle service to area hotels that will appeal to couples.
The event planning business is big; therefore it is a good idea to partner with other professionals in your area to offer package deals. For example you could partner with a photographer, a DJ or an event planner to offer couples all in one package for their weddings.
There are always times that are slower than others in the banquet hall business. The winter months tend to be slower, especially January through March. It is a good marketing strategy to offer specials during this times. If you offer a seasonal discount in the winter months you may be able to bring in business meetings, fundraising events or school dances. Also, not many people get married on week nights or Sunday afternoons, so offer a wedding package discount on those days year-round.
Use free marketing techniques such as starting a company blog. Give tips on how to plan a perfect wedding, how to hire a photographer or a DJ, and how to choose centerpieces. By giving away free information, you will be establishing yourself as an expert and building a trusted brand. When someone does have an event, they will want it to be in your hands since you are so knowledgeable. Always include pictures of your venue on the blog.