Dildiya hosted an online webinar for vendors who are experiencing lots of churn due to COVID-19. The vendors that joined our call had varying backgrounds and amazing insights. We thought we’d share an overview of discussion points in order to help other vendors who didn’t have the chance to join.
Ensure that your staff can take on the workload of extra postponed weddings. This could mean your company could be taking on a number of weekday weddings or multiple weddings on the same weekend as well. There are also lots of concerns around finding additional staff when COVID-19 issues blow over. Our vendors know that there will be a number of people also available for hiring once this situation is fixed, so this can also benefit vendors as well as those looking for jobs. Here is a resource that our vendors have shared related to Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Postponements & Deposits
Remember that having open, honest conversations with your clients is super crucial. This is a tough time for everyone, and we must all be respectful and understanding of each other's situation. Listen to each other, discuss options, and be transparent to get to a solution that can work for both of you. One potential solution that many of our vendors have recommended is to extend the option to use the deposit toward a later event within 12 months of cancellation. Many of our vendors have been flexible with clients and are encouraging them to reschedule for a later date. For postponements, our vendors recommended moving the deposit to apply to the postponed event. Here is a resource our vendors have shared that is related specifically to the Coronavirus and the Force Majeure clause in your contract.
Prioritize Your Clients and Your Business
Our vendors recommend really evaluating the needs of your business as well as the needs of your client well before making any decisions. Sometimes these decisions can be extremely tough, but handling these situations with compassion for both your business and your client is really important. Having open and honest conversations with your clients about your business needs, and encouraging your clients to be open and honest with you as well can help get everyone on the same page.
Many venues are remaining closed for a few months while COVID-19 concerns blow over due to legal mandates, staffing shortages, or safety concerns. If a venue gives you a potential opening date, be sure to really understand what they mean. Will their staff be available and ready to go by that date, or will that take some additional time? How certain is the opening date? If you think there will be additional delays beyond the date the venue has given you, make sure you take that into consideration with thinking through your client’s postponements. (For planners: Venue refunds are also managed on a case-by-case basis. Your client getting a refund from the venue may be dependent on the hotel brand, location, government social restrictions, and insurance. If your client is looking into postponements, asking about lowering attrition or minimums can also be a way to negotiate without having to fully cancel.)
Lean Into Your Community
Really lean on the vendor community you have. Feel free to share the load with others or help other vendors by taking on their clients if they request. Additionally, ask other vendors if they have bandwidth before sending your clients to them in case your clients are experiencing lots of vendor cancellations and availability issues for their postponed dates. Feel free to reach out to other vendors in your network to take on your clients if you need some help. The Dildiya vendor community is a place you can network as well.
Out-of-State Weddings (for planners)
Even if the state in which your wedding is in hasn’t made any legal changes disallowing gatherings, flights, travel, and accommodations can be a little risky. Additionally, completing on-site visits and in-person walkthroughs can be tough as well. Make sure you are in constant communication with your client and venue to make the right decision on how to move forward. This will be more of a concern for weddings that are in the next few months.
Timeline on Weddings Affected | Our vendors have noticed that their weddings have been getting affected through May and in some cases even July.
Many of our vendors have found it useful to add a clause on government shutdowns and pandemic responses to their contracts. This way vendors and clients can have an organized and logical way to proceed with these situations in the future. Here is a resource our vendors shared that has proven useful to some industry professionals. Additionally, this is the contact information for incredible lawyers you can connect with if you have questions:
Vik Chaudhry | firstname.lastname@example.org - CA based
Konika Mitra | email@example.com - CA based
Applying for Loans
Create projections of your business revenue and projections for the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Use these projections to provide a case for why you could benefit from a loan. Be prepared to show some evaluations and forecasts that are up-to-date and accurate when you apply for a loan.. When you apply for a small business loan at this time, you may be able to get a lower interest rate. Here is a resource our vendors have shared related to SBA Disaster Loans. Here’s anotherresource for disaster unemployment assistance.
What To Do in the Meantime
Marketing! Many of our vendors have been using this time to spend some extra time marketing: creating colorful Instagram posts to generate some positive vibes, understanding how TikToks work and making some of your own, connecting with other vendors to build your network, listening to podcasts, and participating in online forums and Facebook groups to offer advice. You can join the Dildiya Vendor Collection Forum Facebook group here to get more insight or advice from professionals in the industry with ongoing conversations.