The Natural History Museum is one of London’s leading iconic venues, able to host evening events on a large scale in several unique spaces. As a well known attraction the world over, the Museum was keen to develop its messaging into the wedding market, following the creation of several new wedding packages with its suppliers.
- Generate new wedding business
- Deliver an eye catching campaign targeting a captive audience
- Highlight the venue hire opportunities at the museum, in particular that of Central Hall, the space with the largest capacity
- Demonstrate Museum’s ability to stage dynamic and creative weddings
Strategy and plan
Davies Tanner decided to target the Asian wedding market as it had greater opportunity for large business wins for the client.
This was backed by figures illustrating that the average spend on an Asian wedding is £45,000 in comparison with £17,000 for a traditional English wedding. Asian weddings are big business in the UK, with the market worth £300million a year and rising with the best venues being five star or equivalent, offering beautiful architecture and lots of history to complement the rich, colourful nature of the wedding ceremony.
Davies Tanner saw the best way to demonstrate what the museum could offer was to show the venue set up for an Asian wedding and, not only this, but to illustrate how Central Hall in particular could add to the drama of an Asian wedding with its ornate interior, arched ceilings and dramatic Victorian staircase.
As such, a campaign was created around a wedding showcase event, which would highlight the Natural History Museum’s capabilities to host large scale, grand Asian weddings. It was quickly agreed that this should target those with a higher wedding spend and was launched as the Elite Bride Show, due to take place on 23 April in the Museum’s Central Hall.
In order to attract and promote the Elite Bride Show to the target audience Davies Tanner approached Asiana Wedding magazine and the leading Asian caterers, Madhu’s.
The magazine partnership proved invaluable in obtaining access to some of the Asian wedding world’s suppliers at the very top level in the industry - from stationary and photography to dress, cake and jewellery designers – as well as generating coverage for the target audience.
The Elite Bride Show incorporated a supplier exhibition with 35 stands each demonstrating their unique wedding offerings, traditional sit down dinner for all guests, a catwalk show including the trends for brides and grooms for dress and accessories, and a chance for couples to seek advice and do business on the night.
The Elite Bride Show was to be the must attend event for couples and would allow the Museum access to a new target audience, exposure in Asiana Wedding, and be the ideal way to illustrate to this audience how the venue and its accredited supplier list (production, lighting, back of house etc.) could transform the venue.
The Elite Bride Show was an invitation only event, with the venue, event partners and participating suppliers each contributing to the guest list. Additional tickets could also be purchased for £300 per couple.
Measurement and evaluation
The Elite Bride Show generated extensive coverage in target wedding media including a 14 page feature in Asiana magazine, three pages is Asiana Wedding as well as coverage in other mainstream wedding media, online and in Asian fashion/wedding blogs. Highlights included extensive coverage on Colours TV.
The event was also sponsored by HSBC and Chivas whisky and has now become an annual event for the Museum.
The results have to match the objectives and can’t just be coverage – they have to be something tangible (increase in sales, figures on awareness etc) that shows PR achieving something as well as getting column inches.
Generate new wedding business
o Since the Elite Bride Show, the Natural History Museum has seen a 57% increase in Asian Wedding bookings
o A total of £125,000 of new business was confirmed at the Elite Bride Show
o Post event new business totalled £180,000
o Most of the 35 exhibitors took between 20-40 enquiries each on the night
Eye catching campaign targeting a captive audience
o 350 guest attended the event, including 100 newly engaged couples
o Targeted guest list ensured that guests were actively looking for venues for their weddings or suppliers - no guest had previously booked all aspects of their wedding prior to the show itself
Highlight the venue hire opportunities at the museum, in particular that of Central Hall
o The Elite Bride Show dinner and catwalk event was hosted in Central Hall
o Fossil Way was utilised as the reception/exhibition space pre and post dinner
o Venue maximised for the event – exhibition stands created in the archways in Central Hall, Victorian staircase used as the catwalk (helping to illustrate the opportunity for the bride’s grand entrance)
o Event helped to demonstrate the transformation of Central Hall for weddings
Demonstrate Museum’s ability to stage dynamic and creative weddings
o Suppliers all worked together to create a stunning wedding set up
o Follow up coverage of event focussed on the venue’s ability to create stand out Asian weddings
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