Catering Executives, Do You Know Who Your Competition Is For Indian Weddings?

When you’re thinking about who your competition is for Indian weddings it might be surprising to some Venue Catering Sales Teams that your competition is more than just your immediate neighbors and the venues closest to you that are in your comp set.

Indian consumers start their venue buying process by narrowing a regions(s) where they’re considering i.e. Southern California. But SoCal is a HUGE area! You have all the way from Palm Springs to San Diego. And believe it or not, it’s not out of the realm for couples and their families to consider venues across the entire region.

{Real Story of How A Couple Chose Their Venue}

Let me share an example with you. Last year we worked with a couple that sought an oceanfront, full service resort for their wedding venue (at first). They even padded their wedding budget once they realized how much resorts cost.

We suggested a few resorts in South Orange County and they fell in love with one with whom they did several rounds of negotiation and visits, but the venue was just a little too much out of their budget. They proceeded to consider other venues, ranging from hotels to DIY spaces. They ended up at a DIY, inland ranch about 100 miles north…literally the complete opposite of what they originally sought.

What this scenario illustrates is that venue competition – for Indian weddings – is not the same as it is for other weddings. Couples are willing to look across shundred of miles and across a multitude of venues. So let’s explore how venues are evaluated for an Indian wedding.

{How Venues Are Evaluated For An Indian Wedding}

The number of venues that can host an Indian wedding is significantly smaller than those that can host Western weddings. So the impact is that your competition pool is smaller but geographically wider.

The factors that influence how couples and their families buy their venue are:

  • aesthetic
  • space capacity
  • cost
  • value
  • proximity to their home and/or airport
  • how will the venue be perceived by our family/friends?

{Important Buyer Tradeoffs}

One of the biggest trade offs that couples make in their venue buying decision is how to divide their wedding budget amongst the venue, food and decor. Those are the 3 biggest chunks of any Indian wedding budget.

A consumer is thinking to him/herself, should I go for a less costly venue and spend more on food and decor? Or should I spend more on a venue where I might need less decor? 

Regardless of whether a couple has a $50,000 budget or $350,000 budget they still have to make these trade-offs. And the more catering managers understand what their prospects value, the better they can negotiate, tailor offerings in each scenario, and compete with other venues.

{How Catering Teams Can Evaluate Their Competition}

So how does a Catering Executive determine where they stand relative to their competition?

  • ask for feedback from people who booked elsewhere
  • study your competitors’ catering packages and go look at their venues
  • compare and contrast your venue’s strengths and weaknesses with your competition’s strengths and weaknesses

{Value Perception Misalignment}

Where venues lose marketshare is when there’s a value perception misalignment. If an oceanfront venue costs as much as a landlocked, all indoor venue, what do you think consumers are going to choose?

Venues that don’t take the time to study their offerings relative to others in this market segment are losing marketshare in Indian weddings. Consumers think they ought to pay less for the landlocked venue which has perceived lower value and benefits compared to their waterfront counterparts.

Does this mean the Indian market isn’t a good fit for the landlocked venue? Frankly it could mean that but, how will you know unless you try different pricing models and packages? And are you ready to give up on such a lucrative market without trying to see how you could capture that business?

{What Segment of the Market Can You Benefit From?}

Is there a segment of the Indian market you could profit from? Like all markets there are segments in the Indian wedding market too. It’s a misperception to think that ALL Indian weddings are $150,000 affairs. $100,000 is the average Indian wedding budget which means there are plenty of weddings with budgets above and below that!

{Creating Valued Catering Packages}

Remember, you’re selling a physical space as well as a set of services in your catering package. Those services can make or break the deal and reframe your venue’s value perception. So your job is to create packages that the consumers will value.

{Indian Wedding Misperceptions}

When most people think of Indian weddings they think of these huge, elaborate, expensive, multi-day events that cost no less than $150k. They are big elaborate, multi-day events but the reality is Indian wedding budgets range from $40K and up.

Takeaway #1: it’s not just the luxury venues that benefit from this market.

Couples are getting married at full service hotels, convention centers, golf clubs, and banquet halls as well as luxury resorts.

Takeaway #2: let’s look more closely at the $40k starting Indian wedding budget.

  • Indian wedding budgets in the United States start at $40K.
  • The average Western wedding budget in the United States is $33k.

That should tell you that the Indian wedding market is worthwhile. Contact us about marketing your venue directly to the Indian community.

Approximately 35% of the wedding budget goes to the venue

  • So, with Indian weddings you’re looking at revenue starting at $14,500 not including the room block.
  • With Western weddings, $33k is the average, so you might make $10,000 or even less.

{So, Should You Invest In Indian Weddings?}

Answer these questions:

How would your overall revenue goals be impacted if you closed even just 1 Indian wedding in a year?

What’s your profit margin on an outside catered wedding?

What’s the average revenue your venue currently gets on a Western wedding? What’s the profit margin?

Now compare this info to a few difference revenue and profit scenarios with Indian weddings. I would bet that the revenue and the profit margins on Indian weddings is higher.

Note: That $14,500 revenue I discussed earlier, that’s just F&B revenue. Most Indian weddings take out a room block as well, so for hotels, resorts and lodges, that’s additional revenue – and not just additional revenue but quality revenue after all, for hotels and resorts sleeping rooms are your bread and butter!

Indian weddings come with large guest counts, open bars and room blocks. Catering Executives, what value do you place on leads that come with all of that additional revenue attached vs. others that don’t? In other words, on more efficient leads?

If you’re considering getting into the Indian wedding market or increasing your marketshare in Indian weddings this analysis is one way to decide.

The other part to factor in is the more tactical side – the logistics of an Indian wedding and whether a venue can accommodate the unique needs. Contact us to learn more.

{Take Aways}

Venue competition in the Indian wedding market is not the same as it is for Western weddings. Part of this is based on the consumer mindset and part is based on the logistics of an Indian wedding. Many venues traditionally think of their competition as their neighbors as well as the closest venues in their comp set.

For Indian weddings the geographic landscape under consideration spans 100 miles and across a variety of venue types – full service hotels, resorts, convention centers, banquet halls and golf clubs.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have comments, questions or stories you’d like to share, feel free to post them in the comments below. Follow ShaadiShop on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest – whatever your preferred media is, as we frequently publish articles for venue sales and catering teams.

Schedule a demo to learn more about marketing your venue on ShaadiShop. We offer low investment packages for venues just starting out in Indian weddings as well as options for venues looking to increase marketshare and still options for venues that are knee-deep in Indian weddings seeking consulting and more personalized services.

(shaadi = wedding/marriage in Hindi, the national language of India | .co, is the new .com)

Samta Varia
Founder & CEO
ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues


 Venues’ #1 Website for Indian Wedding Leads

  • over $3MM F&B + sleeping room revenue for venues in 2.5 years
  • over 6000 Facebook followers
  • RFP system built into website; leads sent directly to venues

We work with venues that are:

  • are just starting out in the Indian wedding market
  • host a few Indian weddings a year and want to increase marketshare
  • host several Indian weddings a year and need help with lead pre-qualification and personalization

Wherever you are with this market we have a unique solution designed for you.

Contact us for more information about our packages and services.

{ShaadiShop Testimonials}

“We just booked a full Indian wedding through ShaadiShop at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort. In addition to the business, we appreciate the exposure ShaadiShop creates about our venue, as the couple didn’t know about our resort until ShaadiShop told them about us. Additionally, we appreciate the pre-qualification work that ShaadiShop does to match couples and venues that are a good fit for each other. We had all the info needed to conduct the initial meeting. What a great service for venues to market to the South Asian community!” Angie Florence, Catering Manager at The Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach, CA

“We’re so glad we joined ShaadiShop to market this hotel to the South Asian community in the Orange County area. Every wedding we close from their leads returns more than 3x our investment. Moreover, they pre-qualify leads and educate consumers creating a much better sales cycle for our catering team. Venues looking to reach this market, join ShaadiShop!” – Ryan Hurd, Catering Sales Manager, Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove

“Shaadishop helped me not only find venues but also understand how they work, the fees, and tips that I wouldn’t have otherwise known. Definitely a need service in the desi community. “ Hinna S., Bride

“Cannot say enough good things about the service from Samta and ShaadiShop who helped us research venues for our wedding this year. We wanted a non-hotel venue, and to get married within 6 months. ShaadiShop immediately found us venues, contacted them and educated us about all the things we needed to think about while selecting a venue. They put all the info together in a fabulous, super impressive, spreadsheet that helped us compare venues – seriously amazing and such a great help. Working with them made the whole stressful process MUCH easier and I can’t believe it was all free! ShaadiShop’s website is fantastic and such a great service for South Asians – so glad I found them!” Anjli S., Bride

“We’re so glad we used ShaadiShop to book our venue. The info on the website is amazing and then they gave us such personalized attention! They were such a valuable resource for selecting venues, helping us understand policies and logistics. Their suggestions saved us a lot money too! They really understood us, what we wanted and helped us get it. AND it’s free! So glad there’s a service like this for South Asians. Awesome that there’s something like this for South Asians!” Janki K, Bride

“I worked with ShaadiShop to find a venue for my daughter’s wedding. The website is easy to use and has so much useful information. ShaadiShop made everything easy for me – getting quotes, suggesting venues, explaining fees and policies. Most importantly, my daughter and son-in-law are happy with the venue. ShaadiShop is a great and service for our community. I’m so glad I found them!” Charu S., Bride’s Mother




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