That Spe­cial Day at a Spe­cial Venue

Micetalk - - Contents - Hazel Jain

Ho­tels are look­ing at the wed­dings seg­ment, not just as a rev­enue earner but also as a way to win over guest loy­alty by en­sur­ing that the W-Day is emo­tion­ally sat­is­fy­ing. To achieve this, more and more ho­tels are in­vest­ing in skilled per­son­nel and up­graded venues for big ticket events

Plan­ning a wed­ding is no longer a generic event for ho­tels that can be clubbed with MICE. It re­quires spe­cialised and del­i­cate treat­ment in or­der to en­sure that the wed­ding plan­ner as well as the clients is won over by a per­fectly-or­ches­trated happy end­ing. Take for ex­am­ple the Taj Wed­ding Stu­dio that was launched re­cently just in time for this wed­ding sea­son. This ini­tia­tive was in di­rect re­sponse to a call for a spe­cialised team that can com­pletely de­vote it­self to the clients' needs. Its like the Taj's spe­cial team that guides plan­ners and clients on the lat­est trends, in­no­va­tions in ban­quet­ing, des­ti­na­tion plan­ning and wed­ding cu­ra­tion. What more could one ask for?

Ex­per­tise is what is be­ing de­manded and ex­per­tise is what ho­tels are now seek­ing to of­fer. Chin­mai Sharma, Chief Rev­enue Of­fi­cer, Taj Ho­tels Palaces Re­sorts Sa­faris, says, “With the Taj Wed­ding Stu­dio, we will ad­dress the grow­ing need for cus­tomi­sa­tion of wed­dings and live up to the Taj prom­ise of in­spir­ing cre­ativ­ity in ev­ery as­pect of cel­e­bra­tion.” Other ho­tel chains are also in­vest­ing in this seg­ment. Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional un­veiled its big­gest part­ner­ship of the year ti­tled ‘Shaadi by Mar­riott' with lndia's lead­ing de­signer duo Abu Jani and San­deep Khosla and strength­ened its com­mit­ment to cre­at­ing a su­perla­tive wed­ding ex­pe­ri­ence from ideation to ex­e­cu­tion.

On this, Sharad Dutta, Gen­eral Man­ager, The Westin Mum­bai Gar­den City, says, “The wed­ding busi­ness can only grow in India thanks to the high emo­tional quo­tient at­tached to wed­dings. Ho­tels can of­fer op­tions of all ser­vices re­quired to de­liver such an ex­pe­ri­ence un­der one roof and we have taken a lead with ‘Shaadi by Mar­riott'. Other ho­tel chains are in­creas­ingly in­vest­ing in this seg­ment too. With the in­creased aware­ness and will­ing­ness to spend, the ease of con­duct­ing wed­dings in qual­ity ho­tels will be a big draw and should re­sult in dou­ble digit growth of this seg­ment year on year.” In or­der to achieve sat­is­fac­tion, ho­tels need to be flex­i­ble. This is

sec­onded by Vishal Ja­muar, Gen­eral Man­ager, Radis­son Blu Re­sort & Spa Alibaug. He says, “To­day is an era of cus­tomi­sa­tion which means that we need to be flex­i­ble.

There are guests who like to book the rooms and the food part with us but plan the rest of the ar­range­ments like the wel­come of the guests, the in-room ham­pers, dec­o­ra­tion, etc. them­selves which works fine with us as we are left to fo­cus on what we do best.” The ho­tel re­cently un­der­went a huge upgra­da­tion of its rooms and other fa­cil­i­ties.

These in­clude a com­plete upgra­da­tion of the Spa vil­las with the Me­chan­i­cal, Elec­tri­cal & Plumb­ing (MEP) ser­vice, new bath­room fix­tures, a re­vamped main lobby, and an Olympic-size swim­ming pool. The ho­tel has also fo­cused on its F&B of­fer­ing. While most wed­dings come through re­fer­rals, Radis­son Blu Re­sort & Spa Alibaug does have a ded­i­cated team that han­dles every­thing re­lated to the event with a one-point con­tact for the plan­ner/client.

Venues apart, the themes also need to pack a punch. Ac­cord­ing to Shami­tav Jana, As­so­ci­ate Vice Pres­i­dent, Lords Ho­tels & Re­sort, wed­dings these days are be­ing planned around con­cepts or themes. Some con­cepts are as elab­o­rate as set­ting up the wed­ding venue like a palace and ev­ery el­e­ment, in­clud­ing the util­i­ties and the at­ten­dees, must look the part. “Top3 Lords Re­sort in Bhav­na­gar has built a rep­u­ta­tion for it­self as a wed­ding des­ti­na­tion of sorts. We are a premium mid-mar­ket chain of ho­tels which presently is the big­gest seg­ment of ho­tels in the coun­try. We fore­see the mid-mar­ket seg­ment ho­tels to re­main the pre­ferred choice for events,” he says.

Speak­ing about GST, Jana adds that while it had af­fected the ho­tels' wed­ding busi­ness to an ex­tent, they are cop­ing by of­fer­ing ad­di­tional ser­vices within the stan­dard pack­ages. “Lords Ho­tels & Re­sorts, as a chain wit­nessed a ma­jor slow­down in wed­ding book­ings right af­ter GST came into ef­fect in July. How­ever, the wed­ding sea­son has only be­gun and we are yet to re­alise any ad­verse im­pact,” Jana says.

Mean­while at Hy­att, wed­dings are a tai­lor­made, per­son­alised ex­pe­ri­ence. Over the years, the wed­dings mar­ket has be­come a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to the busi­nesses of a num­ber of Hy­att prop­er­ties in India. Har­leen Me­hta, Vice Pres­i­dent, Sales Op­er­a­tions - India, Hy­att Ho­tels and Re­sorts, says that this year too, they have in­di­ca­tions of a ro­bust wed­ding sea­son, es­pe­cially at some of the Grand Hy­att, Andaz, Park Hy­att, Hy­att and Hy­att Re­gency branded ho­tels in key des­ti­na­tions such as Goa, Mum­bai, Delhi, Chen­nai, Gur­gaon, Hyderabad and Kolkata. “We

try to ded­i­cate our­selves to de­sign­ing a wed­ding. Our pro­fes­sional staff is de­ter­mined to cre­ate a mem­o­rable and el­e­gant wed­ding ex­pe­ri­ence and the highly skilled wed­ding plan­ners with us are trained to as­sist guests at ev­ery step, from wed­ding room to table­top set-up and menu se­lec­tions. Our dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties in India pro­vide a range of cus­tom­ized wed­ding pack­ages,” Me­hta says.

She claims that Hy­att con­tin­ues to wit­ness an in­cre­men­tal rise in wed­ding book­ing in two lo­ca­tions: Mum­bai and Goa. “We are there­fore plan­ning to launch Grand Hy­att Kochi Bol­gatty, a water­front urban re­sort which has a large con­ven­tion cen­tre to­wards the end of 2017 to make the most of the wed­ding ex­trav­a­ganza,” Me­hta adds. In India, wed­ding cer­e­monies have al­ways been lav­ish and are in­creas­ingly be­com­ing ex­clu­sive, highly ex­pe­ri­en­tial events. With a large num­ber of cou­ples valu­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, it has been ob­served that there is an in­crease in de­mand for des­ti­na­tion wed­dings at ex­otic lo­ca­tions.

This rise in the num­ber of des­ti­na­tion wed­dings def­i­nitely serves as a growth driver for hospi­tal­ity chains. Also, more and more peo­ple are now plan­ning the en­tire wed­ding process at ho­tels in­clud­ing pre-wed­ding shoots, photo shoots at dif­fer­ent venues, wed­ding rit­u­als and the fi­nal re­cep­tion. There is also a high de­gree of per­son­al­i­sa­tion, with peo­ple invit­ing a limited num­ber of guests and spend­ing more on en­hanc­ing the in­di­vid­ual guest ex­pe­ri­ence.

Speak­ing on the im­pact GST has had on the wed­ding busi­ness, Me­hta opines, “With the flat­ten­ing of mul­ti­ple taxes in­volved in ban­quet­ing post the im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST, we ex­pect wed­ding book­ings for ho­tel chains to rise across the coun­try. The crème de la crème ho­tels have been sought-af­ter for their wed­ding-re­lated ex­per­tise in India, even be­fore the in­tro­duc­tion of GST and all it en­tails. The wed­ding busi­ness in India seems to be re­ces­sion-proof. The In­dian wed­dings busi­ness grows in size and grandeur ev­ery year and along with it, so do the an­cil­lary busi­nesses— wed­ding plan­ners, de­sign­ers, cater­ers. The wed­dings are just as grand in the smaller cities of Raipur and Ludhiana like in the big cities of Mum­bai and Delhi.”

The wed­ding busi­ness in India seems to be re­ces­sion-proof. It grows in size ev­ery year

Radis­son Blu Re­sort & Spa Alibaug has a ‘Shub­haman­galam' pack­age which in­cludes all ar­range­ments with re­spect to a wed­ding in ad­di­tion to room and food. For in­stance, the ho­tel will do the guest ham­pers, wel­come the guests with tra­di­tional dhol, mehendi, mak-up, etc. The Westin Mum­bai Gar­den City, on the other hand, has pack­ages cus­tomised to com­ple­ment and cel­e­brate the unique­ness of each fam­i­lies, bride and groom.

Lords Ho­tels & Re­sort, over the years, has de­vel­oped a rap­port with many of the event plan­ners and works on mu­tu­ally favourable agree­ments. The ho­tel reaches out to event man­age­ment com­pa­nies in the busi­ness cap­i­tals like Mum­bai and Ahmed­abad through its re­gional of­fices. Other re­cre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties that are of­fered as part of the pack­age in­clude swim­ming pools, spas and beauty sa­lons.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.