Not only is the wedding business for hotels at almost pre-Covid levels, the hospitality sector is expecting further growth of close to 15% during the upcoming season, with a handsome surge in bookings and queries for weddings.
While there are relatively fewer guests at weddings in the post-pandemic era, the total expenditure in most cases has remained nearly the same as before, as customers are spending more on scale, with a larger variety of cuisines and additional bespoke experiences.
“For the first half of next year (2023), we are getting enquiries that are very similar to what we got in 2019,” Arun Kumar — market VP, North India, Nepal and Bhutan, Marriott International — told FE.
Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels and Resorts, said, “We have had a very busy season in terms of weddings and wedding-affiliated festivities and events,” adding that while they had already reached the pre-Covid numbers, queries for future weddings had already begun and the number of bookings was expected to only grow.
“The wedding market in Agra, in general, has been on the upswing and really consistent for us at Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra. Improved air connectivity, the best possible road and rail connectivity, combined with our bespoke product, is just tailor-made to suit this segment of the market,” said Rahul Joshi, general manager, Taj Hotel and Convention Centre, Agra, adding that they were bullish on the segment.
The recently-opened Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn in Bengaluru have together hosted more than 10 weddings in the past few months of their operations. Besides, hotels are garnering high demand for auspicious wedding dates towards the end of this year and early next year. “We are seeing a steady number of queries for Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 seasons, and hope to generate considerable revenue from the wedding business,” said Rajani Nair Deb, commercial director, Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn, Bengaluru.
The Radisson Blu Resort in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, has witnessed a gradual rise in its wedding business. The property’s general manager Rajesh Rajpurohit said: “Given the inflow of wedding enquiries, we are expecting a 10-15% increase in the wedding business for the upcoming season as compared to the same time last year.”
At Jehan Numa Group of Hotels, which owns boutique luxury hotels like Jehan Numa Palace and Jehan Numa Retreat in Bhopal, the pent-up demand has led to increased queries and bookings for weddings. “During the past two years, none of our hotels hosted large weddings due to restrictions on numbers. This year, we are already close to our pre-Covid levels and are looking at surpassing them by 10-12% in the coming season,” said Faiz Rashid, director, Jehan Numa Group of Hotels.
Cygnett Hotels and Resorts has been recording “good demand” from the wedding segment at its properties in Jaipur, Nainital, Lucknow and Dehradun, with bookings now getting close to where they stood before the pandemic. The company is also expecting a surge in intimate weddings at its hotels and resorts in destinations in the northeast, including Bongaigaon, Digha, Gangtok and Itanagar.
“The upcoming wedding season is likely to record about 40-50% growth over last year’s season. Weddings have emerged as a very important segment for us, contributing above 50% to the business at several of our hotels,” said Sarbendra Sarkar, founder & MD, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts.