Turnaround Strategy for Caribbean Wedding and Events Planners 

Caribbean Event Planner, Natailie John Turns To Technology To Restructure Her Business In a COVID Era

Natailie John

Dreamy Wedding Romance Series Explores Pathways to Business Recovery for Caribbean Weddings and Events Professionals 

[ST. KITTS] – The Dreamy Romance Series launched its inaugural expert-led webinar as part of a virtual learning series on October 31, 2020.

This program is designed to help weddings and events professionals throughout the Caribbean formulate a “turnaround strategy” to mitigate economic, social and environmental impacts of the global pandemic.

The initiative is the brainchild of Natalie John, CEO of Dreamy Weddings & Tours, Inc. She is also the Founder of the Caribbean Wedding and Event Professionals (CWEP), a platform where event specialists can network, access knowledge, share information and learn from each other.

As this veteran weddings and events planner and industry advocate celebrates her 21st anniversary in business, she believes that the formation of partnerships within the events industry is critical to its recovery.

She recently authored “The Destination Wedding Vendor Guide to COVID-19,” a compilation of industry best practices for Caribbean weddings and events professionals. John presented an overview of this digital publication which outlines standardized industry protocols for protecting the health and wellness of staff, clients, vendors and the community.

Natalie John also organized the Dreamy Romance Series as part of her ongoing advocacy efforts to support weddings and events planners in navigating major barriers as they rebuild their businesses.

A panel of entrepreneurs with expertise in personal and professional development, customer service, social media marketing and publishing, was assembled to discuss current trends in the industry.

These speakers provided insights on how weddings and events professionals can pivot successfully to address a myriad of risks while building resiliency.

The theme of the discussion was “Managing for Success in a COVID-19 Era’  and panelists provided tips and tangible strategies to help weddings and events professionals adapt to the ‘new normal.’

The discussion centered on how events specialists can revamp their businesses, by leveraging industry knowledge and tools to deliver exceptional customer experiences, despite widespread cancellations and loss of revenues.

The speakers and their areas of focus were as follows:

  • Dr. Glenda Niles, Life Coach and Educator – “Resilience:  Our Mental Health Check”
  • Brian Green,  CMP, CMM, By Brian Green, Award Winning Wedding Planner and Former Diplomat – “Navigating the Dynamics of Change”
  • Dave Cox, Publisher of Caribbean Bride Magazine and Living Barbados Magazine and Creative Director of Digital Coconut – “How to Get Your Work Published”
  • Paula McCory, Pinterest Guru – “Brand Building with Pinterest”
  • Natalie John, CEO Dreamy Weddings & Tours and Founder of the Caribbean Wedding and Event Professionals (CWEP) – “Managing for Success in a Covid-19 Era”

The event was co-moderated by industry veterans Marsha-Ann Donaldson-Browne, Director of Weddings, Sandals Resorts International and Carine Saint-Jean, Co-Owner of Spectacular Affairs.

This dynamic duo leveraged their knowledge and expertise to ensure that the key messages were continuously highlighted as they facilitated engaging and enlightening discussions throughout the forum.

Key Takeaways from the Discussions

#1 Shift your mindset to embrace alternative pathways to recovery

How businesses recover and grow, will depend largely on the mental health of management and staff. “Physical and mental stress can impact their ability to adapt to new situations. It starts with a mental check which is tied to physical, emotional and community resilience and the ability to adapt,” said Dr. Glenda Niles. Weddings and events planners must embrace new ways of doing things and be ready to make decisions based on their predictions of the future. Having a clear sense of purpose and knowing what their goals are, will lead to greater competence and confidence.

#2 Navigating Change with the Tenets to Facilitate it – Focus vs. Fear

“Change is inevitable in life and business. You may not be ready for it, but change will happen. You must consider what it will cost you if you miss an opportunity for change,” said Brian Green.   Communication is key and he provided recommendations to help

wedding and event planners to embrace change:

  • Manage the needs and state of mind of customers and vendors who need that reassurance.
  • Leverage your strengths. Pivot and use a skill in a new way that allows you to still use that creative expression.
  • Focus on the things that you can control. Set attainable milestones and break them up into manageable goals.
#3 Elevate Your Profile and Build Credibility by Getting Your Work Published

“This may be the time to consider getting your work published. Leverage visual communication tools to showcase your work to wedding couples who are looking for inspiration,” said Dave Cox. Weddings and events planners should use their downtime to explore opportunities to generate incremental business by reaching wider audiences. Cox provided tips for how weddings and events planners can capture the attention of editors to secure coverage in a magazine. This type of exposure can help to elevate their profile and build brand credibility.

#4 Broaden your Social Networks and Build Your Community With Pinterest

Customer preferences and needs are constantly changing in response to COVID-19 and therefore the demand for certain product offerings may shift. Weddings and events planners should use this downtime to increase the scale and scope of their digital capabilities by expanding their social media footprint.  According to Paula Coop McCory, one of the top 30 Pinners in the world, “Pinterest is the number one platform where consumers share products, designs and trends that they love. It has the potential to increase brand authority and drive website traffic. Pinterest is place where couples go for inspiration as they plan their weddings.”

#5 Retool, Reshape and Rethink Your Business

“Uncertainty about how long the global pandemic will last increases the complexity of formulating a recovery strategy.  It is therefore important that business owners are proactive in assessing their risk and vulnerability, from a mental, operational and financial standpoint,” said Natalie John, CEO of the Dreamy Group and Certified Wedding Planner. She also noted that weddings and events planners should do a personal audit of their knowledge and skills to determine how these may potentially be re-purposed to offer new client services. Event specialists should also explore ways to strengthen relationships by updating clients and vendors on changes to their business operations and services. “As the industry continues to recover from the pandemic, these webinars will provide an avenue to capture the imaginations of weddings and events professionals with new, refreshing ideas and suggestions to help rebuild their businesses,” Natalie John said.

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