The pandemic has brought on some serious changes to the travel, tourism, events and hospitality world. As with everything else, the parameters of the wedding segment are also witnessing tremendous alterations. TRAVTALK speaks with six industry experts to find out what these changes are.
Rajeev Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment
Almost 80% of the weddings are now waiting to happen in July 2021. People aren’t planning much in advance except for the super auspicious dates. But hotels are asking crazy amounts of money – `75,000 only for rooms. Clients want to spend but they are not getting the opportunity to do so because of the restrictions. Nevertheless, weddings and social events, unlike business events, are here to stay in India. The day things get normal, there will be revenge celebrations!
Mahendra Vakharia, MD, Pathfinders Holidays
There is good interest and demand for destination weddings starting November. The lead time for final confirmations is definitely getting down as clients are looking at making final confirmations and payments not too many months in advance. The popular destinations are evergreen Rajasthan, Mussoorie, Mahabalipuram, Goa, Sukhvilas at Chandigarh, and for intimate weddings with 50 pax approx. small boutique hotels like Indeco Hotels, few heritage properties in Gujarat and Rajasthan are getting very popular.
Rohit Chopra, Regional Director – Sales & Distribution, Accor India & South Asia
Guests are now using their budget to have an intimate hybrid wedding. The year 2021 had almost 50% of the year’s auspicious dates in Q2 however due to the second wave we saw the entire quarter wiped out which postponed most of the weddings for later this year. Room rates for saya days have gone up, and we are also vigilantly observing behavioural changes in guests and adapting accordingly.
Jitendra Kejriwal, Chairman, Arika Tour & Travels
Weddings have been happening right now albeit with only 25-30 people. So the total expenditure has gone down. But we are hoping that by July 15, 2021 – by which date most people would have taken the first dose of the vaccine – things will start to ease up. And by November-December, we can expect the wedding season to kick in. We are expecting this season to be very good. We expect last minute bookings for December as the situation is volatile. The booking time could be reduced to 20-25 days.
Esha Ghosh, Director of Events, Hyatt Regency Pune
Intimate celebrations are being preferred by guests with the approximate group size of 50 guests. There is also a preference for residential weddings. The lead times have reduced with guests planning events within 10-15 days. Room rates remain dynamic as always and we try to work with the best possible rates. With a reduction in number of guests, families are exploring unique elements and lavish menus to make it memorable.
Ankur Sarawagi, India Country Head – The Knot Worldwide
Couples started looking at intimate weddings and adopting tech innovations to plan their weddings. Our wedding technology platform, WeddingWire India, saw a 30% jump in queries in H1 2021 for vendor services vis-à-vis last year. This showcases increased interest in planning and scheduling weddings in the Sept-Dec 2021 period. The demand for destination weddings has gone up by 62% with Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur being the top choices.
Inputs by Hazel Jain