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Will home ground become the new playground for luxury destination weddings post COVID-19 --Pramod Lunawat

Indian hotels and venues need to ‘up their game’ by welcoming business from wedding planners, writes Pramod Lunawat, Founder & CEO, Millennium Event and Marriageuna - Intoxicating Weddings.

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Are couples going to shift back their weddings to India? Is home ground the new playground for destination weddings? Will India get the benefit of a larger pie of the luxury Indian weddings because of Corona or COVID-19? In the past 3-4 weeks, I have been asked these or similar questions, sometimes with glee, at other times with dismay and yet at some other times with wonder!

Let me put these wedding catechisms to context.

AVAILABILITY OF THE EXOTIC IN INDIA

India has some of the finest palaces, beaches, city hotels, resorts that are perfectly capable of hosting luxury weddings, many of which Marriageuana has also hosted. It is not without a design that these businesses i.e. venues here, already get a large chunk of the luxury Indian weddings business. Over the years, these venues, in “India – the destination”, have developed capabilities in hospitality, food and beverages, room quality, customer servicing, customer relationship. 

What they lack or lacked in many cases was adaptability and flexibility to match the requirements of the very demanding wedding planner and the world travelled couple and their families. It is this aspect that many hotel chains have now tried to bridge by having dedicated wedding concierge services or wedding planners on hotel payrolls. These specialized hotel staffs are constantly in the learning phase from the wedding planner and their customers/clients about their needs and wish list. This has helped to a great extent.

PRICE AND SERVICE THAT COMPARES AND COMPETES

Pricing has always been a very sensitive issue with hotels in India. However, given that they have the market knowledge of weddings flying out of India to exotic international destinations, hotels, often also propelled by state tourism boards, have now, for 3-5 years, been trying to hold this segment back in India, by offering prices, packages, inclusions and venue usage options like never before.

Hotels have also enhanced their atmospherics as far as winning weddings are concerned. They now offer dry runs of venue settings, food tasting sessions, express check-in facilities, club access, exclusivity at venues, etc.

INDIAN HOTELS MUST EXTEND THEIR ARMS TO WELCOME 

Now that they compare. with confidence and preparation, with the best in the world, Indian hotels and venues need to go all out in the market and demonstrate that they are taking this chance; this chance, arising from the Corona crisis, to ‘up their game’ by welcoming business from wedding planners and their couples/families who intend to get married at a destination with all luxury offerings.

It is a fact that the urge of Indian couples to get married in Italy, Turkey, Thailand, UAE, Bahrain, Bali, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland etc. or on cruises, will never cease to exist for one cannot transport nature’s scenic gifts from one country to another, from one city to the next. 

However, there is a window of 9-12 months now in which the Indian hospitality business must go aggressive to win the heart and mind space of the affluent Indian to get their confidence and cash! Corona or post-Corona, this will stand them in good stead.

 

(The author can be reached at pramod@marriageuana.com )


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weddings events Pramod Lunawat Millennium Event

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