Despite inauspicious dates, umpteen lockdowns and various other travel restrictions, hotel chains have registered an uptick in wedding bookings in markets such as Gurugram, Noida, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Kochi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
Parul Thakur, senior area director, sales and distribution, South Asia at Marriott International said weddings and wedding related events have been at the forefront of recovery for the chain’s hotels.
“In the last two months these events have constituted nearly 70% of our leads and have contributed to nearly 50% of our group and catering revenues in the country. With the gradual ease in restrictions and the lifting of lockdowns across states, leads are increasing across the country,” she added.
Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) said June and July witnessed a fair number of intimate weddings at its hotels such as Taj Bengal Kolkata, Taj West End Bengaluru, Taj Lucknow, Taj Lake Palace Udaipur ,Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur and Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad.
“With the world gradually unlocking and embracing the dynamics of the new normal, the wedding business will remain unaffected albeit in different formats and as per the stipulated numbers. It is one of our strengths and we will continue to harness that,” said Renu Basu, senior VP, global sales and marketing at IHCL.
Current government guidelines allow for events to have a maximum capacity of 50 people. An industry executive said top hotels in Gurugram hosted about 60 odd weddings in the last week of June alone.
Sudeep Jain, managing director, South West Asia at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) said in the last couple of months, the chain has seen an uptick in the weddings business across many markets in India including Noida, Jaipur, Chennai, Kochi and Ahmedabad. “Our hotels across these markets successfully hosted many smaller scale wedding events in the months of June and July and have received several bookings for the remaining months in the year,” he added.
At Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, wedding bookings at properties in Jaipur, Udaipur, Ajmer, and Bengaluru have gone up. “The capacity limit is currently capped on the number of people in attendance, however having it based on the square feet of the venue would be economically more favourable,” said Nikhil Sharma, area director, Eurasia, at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
“With current restrictions on travel visas and international travel temporarily on hold, I do believe that we will see more weddings that would potentially have been set in a different destination begin to take place in India as we approach the traditional wedding season,” he added.
Anuraag Bhatnagar, chief operating officer of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said The Leela Place Udaipur and The Leela Goa have seen some demand for destination weddings, while city hotels like The Leela Ambience Gurugram and The Leela Palace Bengaluru and The Leela palace Chennai have seen some local demand. "We understand these are unprecedented times and weddings are a once in a lifetime affair. We have therefore created some very compelling packages and attractive offers which can not only make weddings really special but also make them affordable," he added.
Considering capacity restrictions, and adapting to the new normal, hotels are live streaming ceremonies for guests who couldn't make it, keeping individual pre-plated portions of dishes to avoid sharing of food between guests, redesigning seating arrangements keeping physical distancing in mind, and even launching honeymoon offers to go with the packages.
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