Weddings marry experiences
To stay relevant in the wedding space, one needs to evolve and stay ahead of the curve. Adopting technology in this space will make the process of implementation much more effective, says Mahesh Shirodkar, Managing Director, Tamarind Global.
The wedding business is extremely demanding and customisation is required in every aspect when dealing with families. This business is a growing vertical for us and the size and scale of weddings is evolving with newer trends. The beginning, namely the pitch, is what I enjoy. It is when you meet the family for the first time and they are assessing you and your abilities. From then on, once we are on board, the entire journey up to execution is what is exciting. Our weddings team has expanded considerably in the last year with growing business needs.
Fortunately, weddings are a recession-free business in India and the variances in spending may occur with budget cuts. While tax percentage on rooms is up, the percentage on F&B is definitely down. Hence, there is no major concern for a direct impact of GST on wedding spends.
Hybrid weddings are the new thing this season where larger functions like engagement, wedding and reception are in the family hometown and a smaller select group is taken to an exotic destination for the sangeet, mehendi, cocktail and other peripheral functions. Nowadays, clients are putting less emphasis on decor and more on experiential elements like food and entertainment. Earlier, the regular format was three nights, but due to various reasons such as frequency of weddings, escalating costs and pressure of entertaining guests for longer, most people tend to stick to a two- night format.
More demanding than ever
I feel positive about the next few years during which there will be wedding curators who will stand out rather than the abundance of ‘wedding planners’. The business of weddings will get even more demanding and clients will keep asking for new destinations and value for money propositions. However, the cumulative value turnover for weddings will always be fairly exponential. So to simplify it, weddings and the events business will always remain in a bull phase especially in India. To stay relevant in the wedding space, one needs to evolve and stay ahead of the curve. Adopting technology in this space will make process implementation much more effective.
Clients prefer hotels that are well connected, preferably accessible by one flight and under hours travel time. There are often elderly guests and family on the guest list who are not comfortable with tedious travel. Another reason is the two-day wedding format can only be achieved if the travel time is not extensive. If the destination is too far, a third night is added and costs go up. Hotels in India and South East Asia also understand Indian hospitality and our food requirements which are critical for Indian weddings. However, hotels must have professional event managers on payroll who can focus on weddings and event- related requirements as just sales and ops managers at unit hotels will not be enough to cater effectively to the complicated needs of the families. Flexibility of buy- outs and outside catering along with having qualified Indian speciality chefs always helps. ( The views expressed are solely of the author. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)
Mahesh Shirodkar Managing Director Tamarind Global