It’s the question that every girl (and guy) wants to hear, especially in the midst of a recession: ‘When can you start?’
Innovative wedding planning site Weddingdates.ie – nominee for best business blog in the 2009 Irish Blog Awards – was launched in November 2008 and has just announced 10 new sales positions as part of its expansion, which saw the hiring of a chief technical officer earlier this month.
“With the addition of a dedicated sales team around the country, it will enable Weddingdates.ie to grow its market
share exponentially,” said Ciara Crossan, Weddingdates.ie founder, whose background is in business information systems, as well as the hospitality sector.
While many businesses are feeling the effects of the recession, Crossan pointed out that in addition to weddings actually increasing in number in an economic downturn, some 80pc of couples first begin their research into their wedding venue of choice on the internet.
“Stats show that marriages actually increase in recessionary times: 22,000 weddings were held in 2007 – that was a 30pc increase from previous 10 years.
“I would consider it recession-proof, as people are always going to get married. Now they are going to spend their money a bit more wisely, and the internet is helping people get easy access to information to compare prices etc. Weddingdates.ie is a free website for engaged couples to use,” Crossan added.
She said that from the perspective of hotel and other wedding venues, internet marketing is cost effective in comparison to getting printed in glossy wedding magazines: “We provide them with a monthly metric report showing them how many people viewed their page, downloaded their wedding brochure, or made an email enquiry about their venue.”
Weddingdates.ie is an emerging startup and has received support from the Cork Enterprise Board, as well as Enterprise Ireland, while founder Crossan took part in the Genesis Enterprise Program in 2008/2009, an incubation program for startups in the Cork/Kerry Region.
“It is an exciting time to be in business. Yes, it is challenging, but there are great opportunities now for smaller, more agile business to respond and serve their customers in a more personal and effective way than before,” Crossan said.
“The internet is still growing and evolving in Ireland, and we can help traditional businesses such as hotels and wedding suppliers to use the web more effectively and turn clicks into paying customers.”
By Marie Boran
Pictured: Ciara Crossan, founder of Weddingdates.ie