Danny Waine, commercial manager at Interhome, spoke to TTG about the holiday home company’s new wedding collection.
Interhome has 50,000 properties in 31 countries, which means the product can be overwhelming.
The idea behind The Wedding Collection was to segment it to make it easier to digest. I’ve got a lot of experience of what sells in the weddings market, so with my help we decided to launch the collection with 30 products initially.
I have two: firstly Thalassines Beach Villas in Cyprus. Once the wedding set-up is done, it looks just like what you’d expect to see for a beach wedding in the Caribbean. In terms of long-haul product, I like Kaapkloof Manor in South Africa, which is a four-bedroom property close to Llandudno beach for the ceremony.
The vineyards of Constantia are nearby for wine experiences and Cape Town is to the north.
The majority of wedding parties now span three generations and villa accommodation lends itself well to these groups.
Booking one of the wedding villas rather than staying in a hotel as a multigenerational group removes the expense of having to book additional rooms for children and the hassle of arranging interconnecting rooms.
We have local service officers (LSOs) in our destinations who are from the local area and can meet clients on the ground there.
We also have full control over the properties because we manage them; this also means we can offer personalised experiences such as pre- booking a private chef, for example.
We are really pleased with the bookings we have received so far. The Wedding Collection average booking value (ABV) is £3,500, which is 180% higher than the typical Interhome ABV.
Once additional products such as transfers are added, it represents a high-value booking for agents.
I’d recommend Villa Lucija, a six- bedroom villa with private pool and Jacuzzi, in an exclusive part of Dubrovnik.
There are several unique wedding venues nearby, including a Benedictine monastery, Palm Gardens and the Olive Grove.
Don’t be afraid of weddings, as there are lots of specialists who can hold agents’ hands throughout the process.
Be organised and write down significant dates in your diary such as deadlines for legal documents and when stag and hen dos are taking place – remembering to wish a client a nice time on their hen or stag can win you brownie points.
Listen to what clients want but feel confident to give advice from your personal experience: couples will appreciate this during what can be a stressful time.
Lastly, don’t take anything personally – planning a wedding can be an emotional experience for clients.
As more couples opt to get married abroad and want something different, less established wedding destinations such as Malta, the Canary Islands and Croatia are increasing their market share.
The Instagram effect has had a massive impact on wedding photographs and imagery, which is good news for lesser-known destinations such as Finland, Austria and South Africa as couples seek a stunning backdrop for their big day.
Many are now second or third marriages, which tend to be smaller groups with older children who have families of their own.
These groups may want to stay together, so a villa is ideal.
We are expanding The Wedding Collection in 2021, with double the number of properties for next season.
We also plan to launch a second collection, offering luxury and unique holiday homes.
Our agent platform will be redesigned with new features including more search filters, which agents have requested. We will grow our 80 LSOs across Europe and in new destinations.