Many would be brides mail me requesting advice on venues, accomodations etc. Since most of the brides are brides who want to have destination weddings they don't know the island or customs and I have to go out to do research and scout locations and gather information for them.
My question: is it reasonable to charge for this detailed information? I do have a consultation with them next month and I do charge for my consultation services. Of course everything will be deducted from their total wedding package.
The reason for me doing this is that many brides would take my information and go somewhere else with it.
My general advice and experience has been that the more I share with brides who contact us, the more resources and help I give them, the more they fall in love with us. Sharing information freely makes the booking easy.
However, since our business is in entertainment, all the resources they get with us are "extras." In your case, much of this information is something you charge for.
Rather than charging them for the consultation, can you give them a partial consultation for free? So instead of doing all the research about venues and accommodations, you do only a budget consultation or a theme/ideas consultation to give them a taste of working with you. Then if they want more they have to pay for it.
So instead of the initial consulting being a "here's what I do" sales pitch, you actually give them a mini-consult free and then tell them how to get more. This can be little more than listening to their situation and ideas, then making a recommendation or two at the end.
Another idea: what if you put together some of your best general planning tips and give this to potential customers? You put the information together once and use it many times, so it doesn't take up your time but still delivers value.
Yes, it is reasonable to charge for more detailed information. However, I think it might turn off brides if they have to pay for an initial consultation before they get to know you. Offering a free consultation or information that doesn't take much of your time will still help build the relationship and prove your worth without investing a lot of time in it.