“…once the lockdown was relaxed and our hotels started reopening, we noticed that the first segment that regained momentum was weddings. We do expect this trend to carry on in the coming months,” said Arif Patel, regional vice president – sales & marketing, Hyatt India. “Our hotel luxury resort property Alila Fort Bishangarh (Jaipur) specifically is getting plenty of leads for intimate luxury weddings. In terms of properties with multiple banqueting spaces, they are now able to accommodate two or more weddings for the same dates considering the average number of guests have reduced.”
To boost demand, Hyatt is offering guests World of Hyatt Bonus Points that are valid till December 31, 2022. They can be redeemed through the World of Hyatt account towards free nights at any Hyatt Hotels & Resorts locations worldwide.
Typically, the wedding segment contributes 10% to a hotel’s overall revenue. However, with restricted international travel and most companies resorting to work from home, wedding bookings emerged as on one of the key drivers for revenues for hospitality firms apart from workcation/staycation which does not offer high margins.
A recent study conducted by online marketplace of venues and wedding professionals The Knot Worldwide said that wedding ceremony cancellations in India will remain low with 76% of couples going ahead with the chosen dates. However, the country also sees the highest cancellation of wedding receptions compared to other countries as per the findings of the survey which measured pandemic impact on weddings scheduled from October 2020 through February 2021.
“We found that budgets were going down only by 25% (40% anticipated their budget to be 25%, or lower than what they had originally planned) owing to the fact that the number of guests at the weddings was restricted due to government guidelines. Now with recent revisions seen in relaxing the number of attendees, we expect budgets to increase,” said Ankur Sarawagi, country head, India at The Knot Worldwide.
Pandemic has also led to the emergence of ‘micro-weddings’ as a trend which is picking up over the past few months with hotels becoming a one-stop shop for all wedding related arrangements. The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace, an entity of Chalet Hotels, said that it offers all-inclusive package right from décor, musicians to arranging the honeymoon suite, bridal rooms, salon services, transportation to gourmet F&B solutions like customized mithai boxes.
Parag Sawhney, general manager at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace that the last decade has seen its average cover price soar. “But now the size of the celebration has substantially shrunk with guests still keen on having intimate celebrations. We have also observed a demand for pre and post wedding shoots for which we offer our atrium lobby, F&B outlets, pool area and lawns etc,” he said.
Most hotels are offering either discounted rates or clubbing additional services in the packages. Taj group of hotels has introduced e-concierge to digitally assist with pre-planning the wedding including virtual visits of hotels. The demand for wedding bookings is particularly strong in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai,