Replace with subheading. Milestone Events Group helps wineries increase event revenue, reduce event-related stress on your people and property, and enhanced brand reputation and wine sales.
Event vendors are seeing substantial growth in the event marketplace. Thirty-five percent view the marketplace growing, while only 13% see a decline in the market for events and wedding.
With more than 60% of respondents claiming a growth in their business, what’s clear is that businesses are benefiting significantly from a growing events marketplace. This trend is further substantiated by observing that less than 20% of respondents reported that their own growth is declining. This may indicate that there is opportunity in the events services marketplace for new entrants.
The bullish view of the events marketplace is further substantiated in the survey with more than 50% of respondents indicating that client queries have increased since the same time last year. Less than 20% of respondents have seen fewer inquiries by potential clients.
With more than 50% of respondents citing growth and a similar percentage seeing increased inquiries, it is no surprise that just over 40% of respondents also see their market share growing. A similar percentage of respondents say their share of the market is maintaining.
It is no surprise that with such a bullish view of the events marketplace and reports of increase growth and market share among a majority of respondents, that we would also see a substantial embrace of price increases among event vendors. More than 50% of respondents reported increases in the prices and fees they charge clients. And despite a steady 20% of respondents seeing declines in growth in their business, less than 2% of respondents report lowering prices.
Given the reported robust growth in events business in Sonoma County, it should be no surprise that a significant increase in competition from out-of-town vendors was observed by respondents to the Milestone Event Vendors Survey. In fact, over 50% of respondents saw an increase in out-of-county vendors coming to the county to compete for events business here.
The vast majority of respondents report the overwhelming amount of their business being conducted at Sonoma County venues. This parochial condition, demonstrated by 60% of respondents saying 60% or more of their business being conducted in the County, is not unusual. There are scant national or event multi-regional event planning and event related businesses and the vast majority serve clients in a discrete area.
It’s no surprise that Sonoma County vendors carry out their services at wineries. These unique venues offer a variety of options for event clients and represent a significant attraction for brides. Over 60% of respondents to the survey report that more than 40% of their business is done at Sonoma County winery venues. Fully a one-third of respondents do 60% or more of their work at wineries.
A third of respondents reported that the vast majority of their work (80%) is carried out at a small number of businesses—ten or less. This demonstrates the common practices of many venues choosing to work exclusively with a very small selection of certain types of vendors as their go-to partners for on-site events. It’s notable, however, that those reported work with a smaller number of venues were much less likely to report growth (44%) than those vendors that responded having worked with a more diverse set of venues. Seventy-Percent of this latter collection of vendors reported their business growing. The vendors who work with a wider variety of venues also reported a greater increase in sales inquiries, were more likely to report increased market share, were more likely to be increasing their prices, and were far less likely to serve winery-based events.
By far, respondents cited “Industry Partner Referrals” as most important in generating new business. Other vendors and venues were cited as the most important source by 68% of respondents, while “Past Client Referrals was cited by 19% of respondents. It’s notable that in the Internet Age, only 12% of respondents cited “Web/Internet Promotion” as their most important source of new business.
Given that Internet and web promotion was cited by respondents as the least important source of new business, it should be no surprise that over 80% of vendors surveyed reported spending less 10% or less of their annual revenue on advertising.
Instagram is by far the preferred Social Media platform of choice among those vendors who cite social media as a value to their business. Indeed, when asked to rank the top social media platforms for usefulness to their business, 80% ranked Instagram as #1. Facebook was a distant second with Pinterest, another visually oriented platform ranked the third most important.
Given respondents’ response to the question of which types of events delivery what level of annual revenue, it is impossible to overestimate the importance of weddings to Sonoma County’s event vendor industry. On average, Sonoma County vendors receive 68% of their annual revenue from servicing weddings. No other type of
event comes close to delivering revenue. Corporate events, delivering only an average of 15% of annual revenue, were the next most important source of revenue for event vendors.
In the past 12 months prior to the survey, 63% of responding vendors noted they had “significantly updated” their website. In the past 24 months, more than 80% if vendors has significantly updated their websites. While Social Media platforms are reportedly important to vendors’ business and though Internet advertising does not appear to be an important annual expense, it is true that the web presence of the various Sonoma County event vendors still is critical enough for them to keep their sites updated and to commit resourced to that updating.
When a vendor loses business to a competitor, the cause is overwhelmingly a matter of price, according to survey respondents. In fact, 75% of respondents replied price is the primary factor in losing business to a competitor while the second most important reason, at only 9% of respondents, was a recommendation given to a competing vendor.
Since the arrival of the global pandemic, our team members have been in close contact with all of our clients whose weddings were, are, or may be affected in the next number of months – postponing, rescheduling, and providing a virtual shoulder to cry on, as needed.
Although the new reality keeps us sheltered at home and prevents on-site visits for couples who are just starting their venue search process, many of our previously booked clients actually selected their sites without seeing the property in person!
Milestone has had “virtual tools” in place for quite some time to help with all of the destination couples who want their weddings in wine country but were too busy, or too far away to visit the sites. The power of technology is awesome, and it makes virtually booking your venue and planning your wedding from the comfort of your couch
Here are some ways you can remotely explore our network of venues, create a budget, and get personal help from our wine country team of experts, all online.