Navigating ROI: The Complexities of Marketing Wedding Venues on Third-Party Platforms

Written by Emma Hla
Image by Sergey Zolkin.
Return on investment (ROI) is a vital metric, especially for businesses like wedding venues seeking to maximise their outreach and revenue. However, when it comes to marketing on third-party platforms, calculating ROI isn’t as straightforward as plugging numbers into a spreadsheet.

The intricacies lie in understanding the multifaceted nature of these platforms and the nuanced benefits they offer, often beyond simple and quantifiable lead generation.

The influence of Third-Party Platforms

Third-party platforms, from wedding directories and digital wedding magazines to social media channels, wield significant influence in the wedding industry. For venues, these platforms act as powerful intermediaries, connecting them with couples actively seeking the perfect setting for their special day. The appeal of such platforms lies in their expansive reach, established credibility, curation or alignment with your brand, and the ability to streamline the wedding planning process for couples.

The Challenge of Quantifying Leads

While traditional marketing channels often provide clear metrics for measuring ROI, the landscape shifts when venues rely on third-party platforms. Unlike direct advertising campaigns, where leads can be easily tracked and attributed, the journey from platform discovery to venue booking is more nuanced. Couples may browse multiple venues, revisit listings, seek out social media proof, or engage in offline conversations before deciding. As a result, accurately attributing leads solely to the right platform becomes challenging.

Beyond Leads: The Intangible Benefits

However, focusing solely on quantifiable leads overlooks the broader benefits that third-party platforms offer to wedding venues:

Brand Visibility: Being listed on reputable platforms enhances a venue’s visibility within the competitive wedding market. Even if a listing doesn’t immediately translate into a lead, it contributes to brand exposure, fostering familiarity and trust among couples.

Credibility and Trust: Platforms with established reputations lend credibility to listed venues. Couples often rely on these platforms as trusted sources, indirectly validating venues featured within them. Did you know that if we remove a venue from our platform, we usually receive emails direct from couples asking why and if they should be concerned that we’re no longer promoting that venue?

Networking Opportunities: Participation in third-party platforms extends beyond mere listings. It opens doors to networking opportunities within the wedding industry, forging connections with suppliers, planners, and other venues. These connections can lead to referrals and collaborative ventures, enriching the venue’s community and ecosystem. Did you know over 3% of our users are Wedding Planners searching on behalf of their clients?

Stats and Insights: While direct lead attribution may be challenging, platforms often provide valuable insights into user behaviour and preferences. Analysing such data and reading industry articles (such as The Wedding Venue Insider) can inform marketing strategies and guide venues in refining their offerings to better resonate with couples.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

Considering these complexities, measuring ROI for third-party platform marketing requires a shift towards a more holistic approach. Rather than fixating solely on lead generation, venues should consider the broader impact on brand awareness, credibility, and networking.

To optimise ROI on third-party platforms, wedding venues can implement the following strategies:

Optimise Listings: Ensure that venue profiles on third-party platforms are comprehensive, visually appealing, and reflective of the unique selling points. High-quality images, detailed descriptions, and positive reviews can significantly enhance the appeal to potential couples.

Engage Actively: Don’t just list your venue then sit back and wait. Actively engage with the marketing platform, update your listing, add testimonials, submit beautiful wedding stories and share your news! If you receive a direct lead, promptly respond to enquiries and provide personalised assistance. This immediately gives a positive impression and increases the likelihood of conversion.

Track and Analyse: While direct lead attribution may be challenging, leveraging analytics provided by platforms can offer valuable insights into user behaviour. Analyse trends, identify patterns and adapt your marketing strategies accordingly. For example, have you used the marketing trends calendar on your portal to identify the top venue-hunting months? Would you be surprised to know it’s not January?

Diversify Presence: Don’t rely solely on one platform. Diversify the venue’s presence across multiple reputable platforms to maximise visibility and reach a broader audience. Not all platforms speak to the same type of couple, and your marketing on each platform should reflect and be targeted to their audience, so rethink the blanket marketing.

Understand CPA: How much does a lead cost you from each third-party platform? And, how does this compare to your Google PPC? We calculate each member’s CPA and compare to ensure our pricing remains fair and value-driven. We generate qualified website visits and direct messages from couples searching for a wedding venue. These couples know your pricing and key details and have seen images of your venue. In contrast, Google Ads typically generate unqualified clicks, with visitors only knowing your venue name and a brief description.

Lead Generation vs. Conversion: Venues must understand that third-party platforms generate qualified visits and leads, not direct sales. The conversion of leads to sales depends on factors beyond our control, such as the quality of your website, the speed of your enquiry responses, the show-round experience, marketing materials, packages, and more.

Organic Traffic: Your website will have organic traffic, but some of this traffic will be made up of referrals from third-party platforms that cannot be tracked or allocated back to the specific website. Why? Well, couples will open new tabs, Google your venue from their phone whilst having the marketing platform open on another device, hop across to your social media for a nose and perhaps click through to your website from there… so when you join or leave a third-party platform, make a note and keep an eye on your organic and direct traffic.


In marketing wedding venues on third-party platforms, ROI transcends simple lead generation metrics. It encompasses many intangible benefits that contribute to brand growth, credibility, and industry relationships. By embracing a holistic approach and strategically leveraging each platform’s unique advantages, you, as the venue owner or in-house marketing team, can navigate the complexities and maximise your returns.

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