Saying ‘I do’ to boosting sales with trade-friendly destination wedding guides

Saying ‘I do’ to boosting sales with trade-friendly destination wedding guides

This story originally ran in the March 15th, 2018 issue of Travel Professional, Weddings Away edition. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.

TORONTO — Here’s a familiar scenario: a couple comes into a travel agency. They’re newly engaged and can barely contain their excitement about booking a destination wedding. They know all about the cost savings that come with destination weddings, but nothing about the logistics. They look expectantly at their travel agent and say, “Do you have any suggestions?”

An experienced travel agent will have plenty of ideas for a dream destination wedding, and plenty of questions for the couple, starting with when, where, how many and (of course) how much.

Experienced agents will know that there are considerations the couple won’t have even thought of, and need to plan for in the weeks ahead. Do they want to be a resort’s one and only wedding that day? Did they check with the resort to see if their top-pick wedding day is available? And yes, that property in their friend’s Instagram feed is stunning, but do they realize it’s adults-only and that could be a problem with their kid-friendly guest list?

Travel agent friendly destination wedding guides

So many things to consider, and time is already ticking, and no agent wants to overwhelm prospective clients with too many head-spinning details – not at the first consultation, anyway.

What to do? Share their enthusiasm, make suggestions, offer a follow up consultation and don’t let them leave without one of the most powerful tools in a destination wedding specialist’s arsenal: the chic and sophisticated destination wedding brochures that for all the world look like consumer magazines, but are packed with agent-friendly destination wedding tips and travel ideas that will leave couples wanting more … and lead them right back to your agency.

One B2B2C travel industry publication that has taken the destination weddings market by storm is Sunwing’s destination wedding magazine.

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The high-profile, glossy magazine has star power, with celebrity stylist and fashion guru Jessica Mulroney as Contributing Editor – and HGTV stars Sarah and Bryan Baeumler, who renewed their vows at Finest Playa Mujeres in Mexico, on the latest cover.

For travel agents, Wedding Vacations by Sunwing provides information on the wide range of products and services available through Sunwing and its partners offer. “Our agents are very important to us and we want to give them as many tools as we can to assist them.”

From destination inspiration, to beautiful photo shoots with high production value, to promotions (both in the magazine and at the website,, the magazine packs many sales tools in one punch, says Sunwing. “Many brides stress about the extensive process of planning a wedding, and knowing that we offer convenient wedding packages would be a big selling point,” says the tour operator.

Travel agent friendly destination wedding guides

And here are a few more selling points for any agents with clients who are on the fence about booking a destination wedding: “Canadian brides can’t rely on the weather half the year – with a destination wedding you’re basically guaranteed great weather,” says Sunwing. “You’ll also benefit from a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos. A destination wedding can be completely worry-free. You can disconnect and enjoy your vacation from the moment you land… wedding planners will take care of you from start to finish. All you need to do is remember your dress. Destination weddings [also] typically create a sense of unity – everyone gets to know each other and connects with one another on vacation – in a more intimate way as the ceremony lasts for more than just one day, with the group travelling together to celebrate the ceremony. And destination weddings can fit any budget.”

‘Destination Bliss’, another high-end B2B2C destination weddings publication, is available to TL Network agents and focuses on both weddings and honeymoons.

The magazine first hit the agency network a couple of years ago. Says TL Network: “We work hard in every volume of Bliss to incorporate the travel agent within the content as much as possible. We want to show engaged couples that our agents truly are the experts when it comes to planning one of the most important trips of a lifetime.”

Travel agent destination wedding guide

Buoyed by the success of Bliss and a honeymoon and destination wedding training program, Travel Leaders has gone from just a handful of specialists in its network, to more than 2,300 agents in the group’s Agent Profiler tool who specialize in honeymoons and close to 1,500 that do destination weddings. The largest number of inquiries the network gets from customers through Agent Profiler is for honeymoon and destination weddings, around 20%.

“We found that a lot of agents participated in bridal shows and expos, or had an existing focus on honeymoon and destination wedding business, but they were all handing out the same supplier brochures with their sticker or stamp on the back. In doing research with the bride and groom, they viewed all agencies as the same because they got the same collateral from multiple agencies at the same show.

“So we wanted to create something that would help our agents to differentiate themselves from the crowd, and provide validation that they are experts in honeymoon and destination wedding planning. Now, when our agents attend a bridal show, they are handing out something of value to the bride and groom that they won’t find from any other agency at the same show.”

This story originally ran in the March 15th, 2018 issue of Travel Professional, Weddings Away edition. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.

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