Revenge buying propels wedding biz

Wedding Travel Show 2022 brought together the two driving forces of the wedding industry, planners and hoteliers, in the serene beauty of Dehradun, where the session on ‘Confluence of Wedding & Hotel Industries’ witnessed a frank and lively discussion with panellists on pertinent topics related to the industry, ranging from price parity to industry status.

Lipla Negi

Matchmaking in a wedding is not just restricted to pairing the bride and groom. For a successful wedding, or to say wedding celebration, matchmaking of a wedding planner and a hotel (venue) is also equally important. Coupling the two driving forces of the industry at the Wedding Travel Show 2022, the panel on ‘Confluence of Wedding & Hotel Industries’ saw a lively discussion with panellists Arif Patel, CCO, ITC Hotels and Chetan Vohra, MD, Weddingline, craftly moderated by Rajeev Jain, Founder & MD, Rashi Entertainment. Hosted at Hyatt Regency Dehradun, the show witnessed the presence of top wedding planners, hotels, airlines and tourism boards of the country.

Describing the relationship between wedding service agencies and hotels, Jain quipped, “It’s like – we cannot live with or without each other – a typical husband & wife relationship.” He began the session by laying out the key matters that act as ‘bone of contention’ between wedding agencies and hotels. “Hotels complain about wedding agencies taking rates from 20 different hotels and then finally giving the business to none or one. On the other hand, agencies complain that hotels do not treat them as equal partners and make them pay for even the smallest things like tea & coffee for their staff,” he revealed.

Transparency in pricing
On being asked about transparency in prices and commission to the agencies, Patel said, “In the organised sectors, everybody understands ‘price parity’. We also understand that commission is the cost of doing the business. While airlines and many other sectors have stopped paying commissions, we (hotels) are still paying standard commission, considering it as your (wedding agencies’) birthright.” Highlighting some of the common practices followed by hotels to ensure transparency & price parity, he informed that hotels nowadays ask for the names of bride & groom and wedding dates. On the question of hotels leaking the client leads that wedding planners share, Patel responded, “Once we get the names and dates, we maintain a complete price parity. For example, last week, a groom approached us via five different wedding planners. So we decided to leave it on the groom to choose his wedding agency. But we will maintain a price parity with all five planners. Commission, if there is any, is strictly a hotel and planner’s business and the client has nothing to do with it,” he revealed. Sharing his standpoint about price parity, Vohra said, “This is something we have personally experienced in the past. We shared a query with a hotel and a few hours later got to know that another wedding agency, which was never in the picture, got in touch with the client directly, and negotiated the wedding planning offering them competitive prices. So, it is not just about price parity. Hotels should work towards protecting the details of the client.”

The power of collaboration
Roping in Harkaran Singh, GM, Hyatt Regency Dehradun, the panellists collectively emphasized the power of collaboration. “Sometimes the agencies also do ‘rate shopping’ by giving fake names of bride & groom.

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