One of the most common excuses that wedding vendors have for not converting leads into sales is “They are booking too far out” or “It’s too early for them to book” or “They leave us till last”. Naturally, this seemed logical, even reasonable, until we decided to look at the actual DATA! We took thousands of enquiries made through The Knot wedding site over the last 6 months, and ran some simple statistical analyses over it to see if we could validate some of these assumptions.
This particular blog post is intended to challenge assumptions that people have, and is therefore influenced by the structure of a scientific report.
To understand wedding services booking behaviour by looking at thousands of enquiry records through our site.
- That enquiries are closely correlated to actual bookings.
- That our enquiries represent a substantial sample of the population
- That the last 6 month period looked at did not have any aberrant and vastly seasonal behaviour causing significant changes in patterns
- That the information entered into our system is, for the large part accurate
- That most brides have similar wedding duration lifecycles
To further validate some of these assumptions, we hope to produce this report in another 6 months and see if and how things have changed.
Venues and Photographers are booked relatively early in the wedding lifecycle, whilst celebrants are a relatively last minute booking.
Our methodology was super simple. We exported our records, and looked at the time difference between date of enquiry and wedding date. Outliers were excluded, and three main categories of interest were examined; Venues, Photographers & Celebrants.
|Category||Mean Months||Median Months||Mode Months||Standard Deviation Months|
The above table illustrates the number of months a user starts to enquire with a particular service before their wedding date in three major categories.
There were few surprises when looking at venues. Our heuristic data suggested that venues were booked “first”. The only surprising factor was the standard deviation of months between when people book their weddings. At the high end, our data indicated that venues could be booked as far out as 15 months, or as close as 8 months out.
Photography patterns were seriously interesting however. It seems like the mean and median time frame to book photographers was 9-10 months, which is what we understood to be the case. However, the mode of 1 month suggested that the most common time period when people wanted to get a photographer was “last minute”! That blew our minds! It suggested that photographers should almost have a “last minute” package to cater for these sorts of individual. Furthermore, the standard deviation of 7 was HUGE! This threw so many of our assumptions out the window! No longer is it valid to say that a people book wedding photographers 10 months before a wedding, because our data suggests it can be anywhere from 10 months to 3 months out, and quite often last minute bookings.
Now to celebrants, again assumptions were destroyed! No, people absolutely do not book celebrants last minute in general. That is completely wrong. Celebrants are booked 10 months out, up to 4 months out on average. Celebrants reading this article should arm themselves with this knowledge and figure out strategies to capture brides and grooms early.
Whilst we do have a large chunk of data, which is statistically significant, we do acknowledge that things change drastically with time and even more data! So whilst these findings may be true for us now, they may not hold over tens of thousands of transactions. Even so, when questioning these results, you should ask yourself; how much data have you got to work with?
It is really clear that there a several “types” of consumers, as defined by latency before booking wedding services. It is really important to establish who and where your customers are in their lifecycle, and have a plan of attack to cater to that. Importantly for us, our hypothesis was seriously challenged, which just goes to reinforce the old adage, the one about ASSUMPTIONS.. what they do to you and I.
- Are there any unique regional patterns that do not ally closely with the country patterns
- Are there any unique patterns to those looking to book in particular months of the year
- Are there any correlations between budget, number of attendees & other form fields captured
- Are there any close correlations between people requesting multiple categories of quotation at one time
- Are there any sexual and gender based unique patterns
- Whether the number of months “out” has an impact on actual conversion
- How price sensitive are users who book services relatively far out to those who organise last minute
If you have raw data that you would like to share with us to improve our analytics, please do. We are here to help, and will gladly look at opposing opinions and information.
by The Knot