Wedding MBA: A sea of open minds, searching for nuggets

Wedding MBASince early 2008, the business of conferences has been in a funk (that’s a technical term). In the hospitality industry. Generally, when speaking with conference producers, one hears that the norm is being down about 20% from the prior year. Have flat attendance, plus or minus 5%, is considered great.

In the face of these statistics, Wedding MBA, in its second decade, has grown by leaps and bounds. Approximate attendance has tracked a consistent upswing in the last few years.

The conference’s final year in Phoenix, ten years ago, hosted about 350 people. This year, the Las Vegas conference should see about 4000.00

There are many reasons for this consistent climb in attendance, but it does contrast to other hospitality and wedding industry conferences. Industry-specific content on Monday has been a major factor in the last couple of years.


Moderate conference price, good airline access to Las Vegas, and rock bottom hotel prices are all helpful. A great assortment of national speakers and enticing session topics are of great importance. However, there is still the nasty business of committing 4-5 days away from one’s own business that asks for a strong belief that there is value in making the trip.

I assert the vast majority of attendees, no matter how successful, bring an open mind. They bring the desire to acquire at least one new, significant strategy, a piece of information, or technique that will provide fresh perspective or skill to vault their business to a higher level.

Having a standard of looking for one new bit of knowledge is NOT a matter of low expectations. The more success and experience one has, less presented information is new. Much of it feels recycled and unsatisfying.

Yet, sometimes that recycled idea, with a fresh approach, may set off sparks. An absolutely new technology, strategy, product, service or marketing avenue, properly applied, can open entirely new vistas for a business.

It is a privilege to make presentations to a sea of open minds at Wedding MBA. Along with my fellow presenters, exhibitors, and attendees, I’m certain we can move-the-meter toward immediate wedding prosperity for industry businesses.

If you’re not already registered, change your plans, and be at Wedding MBA. We’ll make room.

FYI: I will be making two short, WedTalk presentations on Wednesday morning, October 4th.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Wedding MBA sets attendance record

Wedding MBA sets attendance record

wedding mba sets attendance recordWedding MBA is the world’s largest professional wedding show returning to Las Vegas with record-setting attendance. The show will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center and with over 3500 people attending.

Seminars and Presentations

The massive group of attendees will enjoy seminars and presentations October 3-5, with a trade show on October 4th and 5th.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

What’s Standing Between You and More Vendor Referrals

A guest post from Kathy Dalpra, Bride Appeal

referral marketingAccording to Splendid Insights, in 2013 the #1 way luxury couples found their wedding vendors was through other vendors; more than referrals from family and friends or wedding blogs.

There is always an opportunity to manifest new referral relationships with local vendors in your area, regardless of the existence of caddy cliques and old boys clubs that have been referring to each other for years. Even these vendors may have a reason to recommend someone new; such as if their usual standby is already booked.

But how do you break into tight circles like this and create rapport out of thin air? My recent run in with Andy might give you a hint.

At this year’s Wedding MBA, Andy Ebon and I had the opportunity to take our online acquaintance offline and finally meet in person. (Seriously super sweet and smart guy. Go see him speak!) We chatted for a while and then I asked him, “So Andy, what is the perfect referral for you?” He paused and said, “Kathy, that’s the best question I’ve heard all day!”

Why did my question strike a cord? Because it wasn’t about me! Many times when we network with peers, we make the mistake of getting anxious and even a little greedy. What can I get out of this relationship? How can I convince this guy to refer me quickly?

But when was relationship building ever one-sided?

If you want to earn the attention of peers that already refer to other providers who do what you do, you’ve got to be willing to give first. The thinking here isn’t to somehow buy your way into their good graces. It’s to show that you can bring value to the relationship and to demonstrate the kind of provider they can expect you to be to the people they refer. After all, how you treat your peers is likely how you treat your customers.

When you give first, without agenda, you break the ice. Before you know it, a new referral relationship has been forged.

But there is a little more to this. You’re not going to win any hearts sending your peers referrals that have no chance of booking them; such as if they don’t have the right budget or simply aren’t a good match.

I didn’t ask Andy who his perfect client is because I was trying to impress him or anything. I sincerely wanted to know the answer! I have a lot of peers who do some type of marketing for businesses in the event industry, myself included. But that doesn’t mean we’re all alike. We all specialize in various aspects of marketing and cater to different business challenges.

The more clearly I understand Andy’s audience, the easier it will be for me to recognize when the right person comes along and the better my referrals will be. Plus, I’ll become a more valuable resource to my clients by giving them options when I can’t help.

Kathy Dalpra - Guest Writer
Kathy DalPra – Guest Writer

The same is true for you. Genuinely caring about the type of prospect that is the perfect fit for your colleagues allows you to become a better scout for them so you’re not irritating them with referrals that aren’t a match. The better your referrals, the happier your vendor friends will be and the more likely they will return the favor in the near future.

Want more and better referrals from your colleagues? Give great referrals first.

About today’s guest writer

Kathy DalPra is a former bridal-preneur who unexpectedly fell in love with web design and SEO. She helps wedding professionals use their website to get more traffic, leads and inquiries so they can create a thriving wedding business in any economy. Learn how to turn curious visitors into paying brides™ on her website.

Andy Ebon



Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority

Education Expert