Destinations

Your guide to selling: weddings and honeymoons


Think selling a wedding abroad is just about finding a nice hotel for a ceremony? Then you could be missing out on extra commission earned from all the add-on holidays that could tempt the prospective bride and groom.

There is plenty of potential to make money – all it needs is a bit of creative selling. We’ve put together a definitive guide to all the different products you could sell around one wedding, from a romantic proposal break, to a pre-wedding pamper, to a thank you weekend away for the parents.

Embassy Leisure Breaks national sales manager Penni Graham said: “Agents shouldn’t just sell the wedding and honeymoon. There are all sorts of product on offer – couples can put holiday vouchers on their wedding list, and we have product for less than £50, which will make presents for bridesmaids.

“Taking current market conditions, if 100 people walked through your door last year, this year you may have 60. To make that up, agents have to get customers to buy more.”

Gauge how much money your customers have to spend and then suggest one or more of the following ideas to earn that vital extra commission.


The proposal

It is one of the most important questions ever asked, so the setting for a marriage proposal has to be perfect. And, if you can help out with a bargain sparkler, clients will be forever grateful.

How about selling a diamond shopping break to Antwerp? Leisure Direction has teamed up with diamond buying centre, Diamondland, to offer a package leading in at £113 per person twin-share, which includes an £80 discount voucher at Diamondland, as well as two nights’ accommodation at a three-star hotel plus return Eurostar tickets. Leisure Direction will arrange for your clients to choose the stone and have the ring made over the weekend.

Alternatively, if your clients are up for some serious diamond shopping, suggest New York’s Fifth Avenue or gem shopping in Sri Lanka. Clients may need to check import taxes.

Gold Medal has seven nights at the four-star Taj Samudra, Columbo from £765 per person twin-share, including breakfast, flights and transfers.


Location scout

If clients have the cash to splash, suggest a trip to the wedding destination to finalise the arrangements and work out logistics.

Elite Vacations had one client who spent an eye-watering £88,000 on their wedding, including two visits to Denis Island Resort in the Seychelles  – the first to book the venue, and a second when it was taken over by the Taj group to check they were happy with the new management and to finalise details such as the DJ and florist. Five nights at Denis Island costs £1,865 in May or June.

Planet Holidays managing director Mathilde Robert said: “Recommend a recce. More couples are doing this to check out a location first and enjoy a holiday at the same time. Sometimes agents also do a recce – we’re always happy to help. The Athena Hotel in Paphos offers a fantastic deal for couples deciding to go out on a recce, with two to three nights’ complementary accommodation.”

Prices for a week in May at the Athena start from £555 per person twin-share, including flights and transfers.


Dress Shopping

Shopping for the wedding dress and outfits for everyone from the bride’s mother to the groom is one of the most fun aspects of organising a wedding – and agents can earn from it too. Suggest a city break to the capital for prospective brides to browse through the wedding dress ranges at department stores such as Harrods and Liberty.

The Sheraton Belgravia in London is offering a Belle-gravia package in partnership with cosmetics company Origins. It includes an Origins pampering pack, flowers, sweetie bowl, glossy magazines in the room, complementary movie, naughty or nice breakfast smoothies and an in-room massage. The package also includes offers from shops such as Agent Provocateur and 20% off hair treatments at Neville Hair and Beauty of Pont Street, where the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Claudia Schiffer and Zoe Lucker go for a quick trim or a luxury manicure.

The Belle-gravia package also includes continental buffet breakfasts and starts at £299 per room per night, based on two people sharing. Quote Belle when booking at sheraton.com/belle-gravia, via e-mail at sheratonbelgravia@sheraton.com or when calling 0870 35 35 353.

Alternatively you could suggest brides head off to New York for a full-on Stateside shopping experience. According to NYC and Co, Manhattan store Kleinfeld Bridal is the place to buy a knock-out outfit from its vast range designer name dresses. Check it out at kleinfeldbridal.com Virgin Holidays has three nights’ bed and breakfast at the three-star Comfort Inn Manhattan in New York from £259 per person twin-share.

Woodbury Common Premium outlets are located just outside of New York. Virgin Holidays offers a one-day excursion including a return coach transfer from New York Port Authority to the outlets plus a VIP voucher booklet which offers hundreds of pounds in additional savings. The cost is £21.


Stag and hen

Agents can provide valuable help to stag and hens particularly by booking them into a hotel that will accept big single-sex groups.

Embassy Leisure Breaks national sales manager Penni Graham said: “Twenty people could book themselves into an ordinary hotel, but on the day of arrival, management could kick the party out.”

Embassy Leisure Breaks offers hen weekends at the Ramada Hotel and Resort in Maidstone from £125 per person. The price includes a cabaret dinner on the Friday night and two beauty treatments on the Saturday.

The appeal of the Baltics shows no signs of abating, not least because of cheap food and drink. Baltic Holidays offers the Half Measure whisky package, which includes two nights’ accommodation in Tallinn at a two-star hotel, welcome drink, pub crawl, outdoor go-karting on the Saturday and paintballing on the Sunday. Prices lead in at £170 per person, including transfers and accommodation.


Wedding list

Earn commission from the guests and encourage lovebirds to book the holiday of a lifetime by setting up a guest list with a tour operator.

Planet Holidays allows guests to buy wedding gift vouchers direct from the agent, which can be put towards the cost of the wedding or honeymoon.

Expressions Holidays also offers commissionable honeymoons, allowing friends and family to donate money towards the cost of the bride and groom’s holiday.


Pre-wedding pamper

By the time the bride, her mum and the bridesmaids have shelled out for facials and massages, they may as well buy a pre-wedding pamper break at a swanky hotel to indulge in style.

The Grove in Hertfordshire has an award-winning Sequoia spa and is the only hotel in England which is part of the Great Hotels of the World Luxury Spa Collection. The spa uses E’SPA products and there’s a vitality pool and massages such as Dosha Specific Hot Stone Massage and Body Wraps. The hotel can be booked through the GDS, and rooms lead in at £250.

Alternatively, Carrier offers four nights for the price of three at Le Mas Candille in France. Situated between the Côte d’Azur and the Alpine foothills, the hotel has Europe’s first Shiseido Spa. Prices start from £575 per person on a bed and breakfast basis, including flights and transfers.


The wedding packages

This is the big one and clients are spoilt for choice for a wedding venue. Here are just two of the products on offer.

Premier Holidays offers Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort in Tobago for 13 nights with prices from £1,663 per person. This qualifies the couple for the free wedding package, which includes the legalities, sparkling wine, flowers, cake and decorated location.

Alternatively, Magic of Italy offers the Hotel Giorgione in Venice from £905 per person for a seven-night stay. Price includes flights, transfers and accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis. The wedding package price starts from £1,245 per couple in Venice, with the ceremony taking place in the Palazzo Cavalli, a 16th century Renaissance Palace with couples arriving at their wedding by gondola. The price includes the ceremony plus all the administration and documentation.


Thank-you gifts

Why not suggest a relaxing weekend away for the parents as a thank-you for all their help with the wedding? The organisation has probably been just as stressful for them as it has been for the bride and groom.

The new Sinatra musical in London leads in at £133 per person twin-share with Superbreak. As well as tickets, it includes bed and breakfast at the four-star Copthorne Tara Hotel on a Saturday evening.

Elsewhere, what parents wouldn’t welcome being whisked away to Paris for a couple of days of good food and culture?

Book the four-star Westminster Hotel and take advantage of Kirker’s three nights for the price of two offer. The saving of £192 per person brings the price down to £647 per person and includes three nights’ accommodation with breakfast. It also includes first-class travel on Eurostar, transfers, a Seine river cruise and a carnet of 10 metro tickets per person. Kirker can also pre-book Paris excursions, including a trip to Monet’s home at Giverny for £63 per person, and a seat at the Moulin Rouge with champagne costing £110 per person. The offer is valid if the stay includes a Sunday night and it excludes Paris Trade Fairs and UK public holidays.


Anniversary packages

Whether it is the first anniversary package or the 25th, married couples want to do something special to celebrate.

“Many like to return to the location where they got married,” said Kuoni special services manager Phil Boswell.

If your clients celebrated their marriage in Malaysia, why not send them back a year later? Kuoni offers five nights at the Sheraton Perdana in Langkawi from £739 per person twin-share, including flights and transfers.

Tenth anniversaries are also often an excuse for couples to splash out on a dream holiday. According to many operators it’s later in life that clients often have the money to enjoy the beach celebration they couldn’t afford when they got married. If your customers are celebrating a big anniversary, suggest they renew their vows.

First Choice offers a renewal of vows package at the three-star Holiday Inn Sunspree in Jamaica from £339. The price includes administration, ceremony, cake, bouquet and buttonhole and candlelit dinner for two on the anniversary night.


The honeymoon

Earn clients’ loyalty for life by booking them an unforgettable honeymoon.

Costa Rica is one of the hottest honeymoon destinations at the moment for couples looking for a tropical haven combined with adventure. Trips Worldwide’s Alternative Honeymoon brochure offers an 11-night Wild Coasts and Rainforest Hideaways honeymoon with prices leading in from £2,995.

The lure of the idyllic Maldives means it continues to top honeymoon destination wish lists.  Seasons In Style offers seven nights in a romantic thatched-bungalow hideaway at the Coco Palm Bodu Hithi from £1,385 per person twin-share, on a bed-and-breakfast basis.


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