8 Outside Catering Package Innovations for Venues: Tips for Marketing & Catering Sales Teams

Over the past few years Indian weddings have gained media attention as the Indian diaspora in the USA grows as well as the big ticket weddings. Indian wedding budgets start at $50k and reach into the millions such as this Las Vegas wedding at the Bellagio.

Venues and the media have taken notice as seen in the Washington Post, CBS News, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and many more major US publications.

Despite all the buzz and the fact that wedding trends change constantly, the core needs of an Indian wedding haven’t changed. That’s great news for Catering Execs at venues because of scalability. Once you learn the basics, you’re golden and you can keep building your name in this niche market segment.

{What You’ll Learn In This Article}

In this article I’m going to share the essential things to pay attention to. They’ll improve the number of leads, quality leads, and customer responsiveness and ultimately more bookings. This is part of our series:

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{Awesome Outside Catering Package}

Most leads for Indian weddings come in to venue’s by phone. Mom, dad, the bride, groom, a sibling, aunt or uncle could be calling. After an initial conversation, Catering Managers typically email the outside catering package as a PDF. 

That PDF is very important. You want people to flag it in their inbox and forward it to their family. The point of that package is to get you to the next step in the sales cycle which is another conversation or a site visit.

{File Name of the Package}

What’s the file name of your outside catering package? Probably something like “Outside Catering 2018-2019”. This is common practice. How about renaming yours to include your venue’s name?

Take a look at the image below. What do you notice? All of the file names are pretty similar, BUT they’re from 6 different venues. And not a single one has the venue’s name in it. How does your client know which packet is yours?

outside-catering-Indian-wedding-package-file-name.png

Imagine if there were 20 or 30 more packages in this list. Most couples gather anywhere from 15-40 packages from venues for Indian wedding.  How do you know your venue simply won’t be forgotten or overlooked? How are you standing out? How are you making sure you stand out amongst a homogenous crowd?

The venue that includes their name in their catering package file name signals thoughtfulness. It signals that they have thought through and taken the time to understand their customers’ experience – what customers are going through. It’s an external focus vs. an internal one.

{Service Charge and Tax}

You know what ++ means, but do your customers? Do they know how to calculate it? So many venue catering packages say ++ but don’t include the numbers to back it up. That’s frustrating for consumers because they don’t distinguish between the base price, service charge and tax. They want to know what the bottom line is going to be.

{Lunch Fees}

A lot of venues don’t include the fee for lunch. There are a few ways to handle this. At least mention lunch as an option and ask them to contact you for a quote. But don’t not mention lunch. Pretty much every couple for an Indian wedding debates about whether or not to serve lunch after the wedding ceremony. And having that info in the package is helpful.

{Hospitality Room}

Most Indian weddings want a hospitality room, yet very few outside catering packages mention this in the package. Is it available as an option? What are the policies? Is outside catering in the hospitality room an option? Having some mention of this signals to customers that you understand them and their needs.

{Prayer Room}

I’ve seen one venue out of the hundreds and hundreds that I interact with include a prayer room for the morning of the wedding. Again it signals the difference between a venue that can host an Indian wedding vs. a venue that does host Indian weddings.

{Is It Easy-to-Read?}

How many venues have clients proofread the outside catering package and seek feedback on it before they start sending it to clients? How easy is to read? Understand? Thorough? Correct terminology?

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{Benefits Summary}

If the outside catering package represents your property on paper, then how about a summary somewhere inside of it, that lists the benefits of your property i.e.

  • outdoor cocktail hour space
  • the largest pillar-less ballroom in <city>
  • lowest service charges

Are you being really clear about the benefits of your property to your customers in your outside catering package?

{Mobile-Friendly}

Is your outside catering package mobile-friendly? These are busy brides and grooms who are planning their wedding while working full time. If a bride is reviewing packages on her cell phone during her lunch break which one do you think she’s going to spend more time in? The one that’s mobile-friendly that she can read right now, or the one that she has to wait to read until she gets home on her laptop?

{Conclusion}

The outside catering package is an important tool to educate customers about your venue. There are things Catering teams can do today to enhance its quality and convenience from simple things like re-naming the file to adding a venue benefits summary.

The role of the package is to carry you to the next step in the sales cycle whether it’s a phone call to get a quote and check venue availability or to schedule a site visit. If the package hasn’t accomplished either one of those objectives then something didn’t work and it would be great if you allocated resources to find out why.

Consumers seek information that’s complete, clear, and convenient to access. I hope you incorporate some or all of these ideas in your work and I’d love to hear from you, how it’s working out.

All the best!


ShaadiShop logo

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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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