Creative Indian Wedding Sales Ideas for Hotel GMs, DOSMs and Catering Executives

When it comes to selecting a venue for an Indian wedding, couples consider anywhere from 15-40 venues and sometimes across 100 miles or even multiple destinations.

That means that there’s a lot of venue competition. So what can venues do to break through the clutter? How can venues differentiate and create a lasting impression on prospective clients?

{What You’ll Learn In This Article}

In this article I’m going to share some innovative ideas around selling Indian weddings. Things we’ve never seen venues do, nor try. This requires an open mind. It also means taking risks and trying new things. And it requires a willingness to consider the bigger picture. This is part of our series:

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{Increasing Importance of F&B in Venue Revenue}

Avendra, an F&B supply chain management and procurement software company, recently released a study that projected F&B trends in the lodging industry in the next 3-5 years.  Key findings were:

  • Group sales is growing 2-3% every year and is the most important driver of F&B sales.
  • F&B is a growth area. F&B Directors and GMs expect F&B revenue to increase as a percentage of overall revenue.
  • GMs and F&B Directors are investing in catering sales as they expect it to be a net growth area.

So what does this tell us? That there’s opportunity to grow. More revenue to be captured and we have some ideas for how you can do this for Indian weddings.

{Innovative Revenue at Indian Weddings}

Most Indian weddings have a 10-12 month booking window. So during the time from when they signed the contract to the wedding day what can you do to increase revenue and customer affinity?


Increase utilization of existing assets. Full service hotels, resorts, and other venues have a lot of assets: function space, restaurant, bar, pool and cabanas, some have a spa, or a golf course. But they don’t capitalize on these assets when they’re selling weddings.

There are several opportunities to capture revenue and build affinity for your property and brand as a whole. An additional positive externality is the word-of-mouth marketing. NO ONE is trying any of the ideas below while they’re selling weddings, which means there will be buzz if you do.


{The Whole Vs. Parts}

These ideas call on Catering, F&B and other Executives to come together and work as a team. Weddings drive additional revenue across multiple streams on-property and the great experience customers have creates buzz and word-of-mouth marketing which leads to more wedding bookings.

Have you read the Harrah’s Case Study about 100% growth in profit and stock price one year by targeting low rollers? In addition, they increased revenue by 50% amongst low rollers.  It’s a fascinating story of how they rallied everyone from parking attendants and servers to utilizing database marketing techniques to create customized experiences that built deep affinity for these guests.

{Innovative Indian Wedding Ideas}

Indian brides want to feel special. They want to have celebrations, celebrating them and they want to stand out from their friends. If their wedding venue had add-ons like the ideas below, they will talk about it with their friends, because it is so unique and different.

Bridal Shower. How about offering a space to do the bridal shower at your property or a sister property? A lot of brides might not want to do their bridal shower at the venue where they’re getting married. They might want something different but then how about setting them up at a sister property?

The benefits are intangible:  brand affinity and differentiation.

Spa Day. Offer a special rate on a spa day a few months before the wedding for the bride and her mom, sister, friends.

High Tea. Does your venue serve high tea? Brides love doing this with their girlfriends and spend anywhere from $75+ per person. Why not capture that revenue?

Build a combo package. Spa day + lunch, or Spa day + tea

Beer Tasting. For the groom and the groomsmen. One day before the wedding arrange a time for the groom and his buddies to do a beer tasting.

Cabana Pool Party. For the spring or summer before the wedding offer a cabana pool party.

Round of Golf. This is another revenue opportunity as after they play they’ll probably have lunch. Build a package for them so that they stay for lunch.

In-house catered hospitality room. Every Indian wedding has a hospitality room. What can you do to capture that revenue in-house? The rub with most Indian weddings is that the venue’s offerings are a lot more expensive than what an outside caterer can provide (and they’re providing Indian food). So where can you bring costs down? According to several articles on Hospitality.net, to-go boxes is an idea.


{Wedding Weekend Idea}

Have you ever considered making chai in-house?

Make chai. I don’t mean the chai you find at Starbucks and Peet’s (no offense). I’m talking about learning how to make and offer authentic Indian chai at Indian weddings. Undoubtedly, the process is more hands-on compared to making coffee in a machine. I’d love to connect with F&B Directors and Catering Executives to understand whether this would be feasible as it’s something every Indian wedding wants and another opportunity to capture a greater portion of the revenue.

{Market Research With Indian Consumers}

Vegetarianism has always been a part of Indian culture. You’ve probably seen 100% vegetarian menus at Indian weddings or at the very least part of the menu at every Indian wedding is vegetarian.

In addition to vegetarianism, Veganism is on the rise. Frank Schuetzendorf, Senior Lecturer at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, recently published an article on the Top Ten Trends in F&B and veganism was #1.

Indian consumers would jump on vegan options!

Idea: Vegan Taste Tests. As you and your chefs are testing vegan items to add to the menu, how about offering tastings? Build a tasting into the outside catering package!

It would be a fun, glam day out for them and you can get real-time feedback. Tell them to share with their friends to arrange more tastings and more feedback. People would be willing to spend money on that, especially your Jain and Gujarati customers for whom being vegan is part of the religion.

If venues started offering tasty vegan items to their menus, Indian consumers would buy that in addition to outside catering.

Customer Service. Imagine how great you’d make the bride and groom feel and look in front of their friends if a Catering Manager or other representative came out to the tea party or tasting and said hello with familiarity? They’d feel like a VIP. And their friends would see that and think, “wow this place really takes care of their clients. I should consider this place for my wedding“.

They’re going to remember that and when no other property offers all the cool add-ons and attentive service that you do, that’s when you’ll stand way apart from your competition.


{Conclusion}

This article is all about innovation – innovative ideas for capturing more revenue from Indian weddings by capitalizing on resources and assets that you already have. Every hotel. resort and venue has different assets.

Most Indian weddings have a 10-12 month booking window. During that time there are several opportunities to capture more value from your clients. The beauty is that they’re warm leads. They already know and have a relationship with you.

Several ideas were presented ranging from bridal showers to the hospitality room to get the creativity flowing. What can you offer at your venue?

All the best!


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Samta Varia Founder & CEO ShaadiShop: Indian Wedding Venues

{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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