With upwards of 200,000 wedding vendors in the U.S. alone, the wedding industry can be both fiercely competitive and highly profitable for businesses. A new website, WeddingBook, is attempting to become a highly comprehensive search aggregator for or U.S. wedding vendors by offering highly exposed listings for free.
WeddingBook allows vendors to list an advertisement on the site without the “pay-to-play” stipulation commonly used. For example, one of WeddingBook’s most established competitors, The Knot, requires vendors to pay listing and lead fees to advertise services on the sites.
WeddingBook allows any local wedding vendor to create a listing and a web page, including pricing information and service details. But nothing comes entirely for free. If a bride-to-be decides to “request a proposal” from a particular vendor listed on WeddingBook and the vendor wants to submit a proposal to the potential customer, the vendor will pay a “modest” fee to WeddingBook. Fees are determined by the revenue opportunity and geography of a vendor. For example, an event space will not be charged the same fee as a photographer.
So, will this work?
Perhaps. Already, WeddingBook has 65,000 listings compared to The Knot’s 16,000 listings. WeddingBook’s search options are very comprehensive and useful to consumers. Brides can use a filtering tool not only to narrow vendors by location but also by budget parameters. The filtering tools also change according to vendor. For example, a user can search for a photographer by a preferred type of shooting style, the availability to see online proofs, or the ability to work with additional staff on the wedding day. Vendors can also be recommended by other vendors on the site or reviewed by consumers.
CEO and founder John Dillon launched WeddingBook in the fall of 2007 and has spent the last year and a half recruiting vendors, which he said wasn’t difficult with his new business model. The site received an undisclosed angel round of funding from TripAdvisor founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer; Dan Saul, founder of Smarter Travel Media; and others. Dillon says that while fellow wedding websites, like The Knot, offer valuable content and advice for brides-to-be, WeddingBook will focus exclusively on what they do best: perhaps becoming the TripAdvisor for weddings?