Wedding bookings at hotels, resorts witness uptick

“…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,

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Salons witness spike in bookings ahead of festive, wedding season

NEW DELHI: As the festival and wedding seasons approach, salon chains such as Geetanjali, Kaya Limited, JCB India along with online on-demand platform Urban Company have registered 50-70% recovery in bookings. Ranging from 599 to upwards of 15,000, consumers are increasingly looking for rejuvenating skin/hair spas, massages with relatively light makeup and styling services as they plan to step out for limited festive or wedding parties.

“Festive recovery is better than anticipated and we are tracking close to 70% of our numbers last year. The consumer is looking to get back on her journey of beauty and she is looking for long-term solutions provided by experts in a safe environment,” said Pooja Sahgal, VP & head – marketing, Kaya Limited.

Most popular services at Kaya include anti-pigmentation and anti-ageing across its outlets in Mumbai, Delhi Bengaluru, and Kolkata. The salon chain is also offering special discounts on billing amounts, gifts with purchase of certain services, complimentary services on purchase of products along with special offers for the members of their Loyalty Club – Kaya Smiles.

Urban Company (formerly UrbanClap), which is offering up to 60% off on at home salon services, said that the business has bounced back strongly since June and the festive season has only further strengthened their growth. The platform claimed that almost 60% of their loyal consumers are back and they have added about 2 lakh new consumers.

“Despite the muted celebrations, we are confident our beauty vertical will cross its pre-Covid peak. We have already seen Kolkata grow by 120% over the week before Pujo and we are sure this growth will be repeated in North Indian cities too ahead of Karwa Chauth,” said Mukund Kulashekaran, senior vice – president, business at Urban Company.

31-year old Geetanjali Salons, the chain which operates 100 units across 20 cities, said it was offering makeup package starting at 2,999 along with customised pre-bridal or groom packages. These services are covered under newly introduced value cards where a customer gets services for more than the value they pay.

“At our salons, hair colour and care market is growing rapidly. People are moving towards complete makeover and self-care routine. Skin related services are also moving up with the festivities coming in, including facial, manicure, pedicures,” said Divya Parchani, marketing manager, Geetanjali Salons India.

Apart from metros, demand for such services have also started rising in cities such as Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Lucknow, Pune and Ranchi.

The Indian arm of French beauty salon chain Jean-Claude Biguine, which operates salons in Mumbai, Pune, and Bengaluru, said it has witnessed 33% jump in festive bookings this year. Apart from picking more indulgent services such as hair smoothening, colour, spas and gel nail services, consumers are also looking to buy styling products for gifting.

“Clients are leaning towards self-styling hair tools such as Dyson Airwrap or Dafni Go for themselves and for gifting. We have introduced attractive price offs and discounts for such offerings,” said Samir Srivastav CEO at Jean-Claude Biguine

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