With slack in demand, top event venues are offering distress discount upto Rs 10 to 15 Lakh
The recent government guidelines allowing smaller 50 pax events/weddings has rebooted business for most venues but does not promise a smooth revival.
The Indian venue business is sailing in uncharted waters due to the Covid pandemic and economic meltdown. The slowdown of the event industry is attributed to be one of the major reasons for the considerable price drop of most venues including even the star rated hotels.
The recent government guidelines allowing smaller 50 pax events/weddings has rebooted business for most venues but does not promise a smooth revival. The large overheads and maintenance costs of these venues and the dropping rentals has presented a distressing situation for most venue and hotel owners.
To know more about the on ground situation and the revival strategy of venues we reached out to some industry experts. Here is what they had to say:
Chetan Vohra, Co Founder, Weddingline and Owner, Chandbagh- Jaipur
There is a marked difference in the pricing of venues between earlier pre covid times and today. With most venues having been shut for months, it is today a matter of survival and most venues have dropped their prices to a great extent. Also, the events currently happening are only for 50 pax and thus the earlier rental amounts are unjustifiable.
I can see a number of venues in trouble if the demand remains slack due to the pandemic. These venues come with extremely high overheads and land rentals and keeping them running on 10 percent capacity is unviable in the long run.
Geeta Raj, Founder, MyEventz.co.in
It is a grim situation that most of the staff in banquets & 5 star properties has been laid off and there has been a drastic downsizing of teams as there are no events happening. There are no restaurants operational in any of the 5 stars - though they have started a home delivery food service from their kitchens.
Most of them have just retained 1 or 2 main event managers / catering sales directors who are coordinating the entire event for the upcoming wedding season.
Most of the properties have waived of the rentals totally. Some are maintaining a minimum revenue package as the current 50 pax wedding packages are selling for the few muhurat dates that are left for this season.
I don't want to mention the name of a 5 star in Mumbai - Andheri, which generally has a rental of 8-10 lacs pre-covid, has been waived of completely.
Since the pandemic is going to be around for a while - we have pivoted to Online/Virtual events. Online Weddings, sangeet ceremonies etc are super engaging for the entire family. The home weddings keep the make up, decor, photographer & other vendor communities going.
We have also done some virtual corporate events with motivational speakers, live artists & other engaging activities for employees. Although the money is not great, the team needs to stay motivated.
Vinay Shriram Oberoi, AVP Sales, NESCO
Given the current crisis, I think we all had to put our thinking hats on and look at alternate sources of revenues, since our fixed costs remain constant (major being salaries). We at NESCO have started working with Corporate & Production houses for their Packed Meal requirement, also provision of packed meals for Hospitals and COVID centres in Mumbai.
Having been equipped with The Root, our large food production facility (40k Sqft Kitchen), we decided to go the extra mile and join hands with the Rotary Club to provide food to the needy. Our kitchen produces almost 8 - 9 tons of food on a daily basis and the volunteers of Rotary Club have been distributing the same in various parts of Mumbai. We are ready and willing to be of any help to the society during such difficult times.
We have also used this opportunity to work on our venue beatification and other new projects which were in the pipeline.
Given the sensitivity of the market, clients have become ultra-sensitive towards pricing. Moving forward until the market moves back to normal, value packaging of venues with Food & Rental together is the best way forward. Packages that extend value for Money in Weddings or Corporate events will be the key to success over your competitors.
The current year would be all about survival and sailing through, however, the current time can be used to look at old business processes and practices in order to improvise/ improve and move forward. We need to be empathic towards our internal guests (employees) as well as external guests (clients) and be ready when the opportunity arrives. Look at alternate streams of revenue, at the same time keep a check on your core business.
Shahzad Aslam, Head Sales, Leisure Hotels Group
We have 27 operational Hotels and due to the pandemic, though we have seen less traction for our corporate events, the demand for weddings and social events is still there. We accept these while abiding with all state Government guidelines and for not more than 50 Pax.
In the current scenario we are focussing more towards individuals and families and less towards larger groups. We have recently announced worry-free staycations for people as well as offer long term stays for people looking for a change for their work from home scenarios.
Rentals have definitely fallen by 20 – 25 per cent. We are also offering many perks & discounts that include flexi cancellation, date amendments, complimentary meals as well as other discounts in packages.
Each of our hotels has strict SOPs to follow when it comes to maintaining hygiene and sanitisation and these are relayed to all guests as well. We have many schemes including early bird offers, competitive pricing and even an option for people to buy now and stay later so that they get better value for their money.
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