Miscommunication That Led to Venues Losing Indian Wedding Business: 6 Real Stories

 

Being in the hospitality industry is being in the people business. And Catering teams are on the ground everyday driving value and business for the venues they work for. We’ve come along way in this industry from when I grew up in Orange County, California in the 80s and 90s and outside catering was a completely alien concept that was not allowed at any venues.

Now venues across the globe actively want to attract Indian weddings and while the industry has done a complete 180 – there’s still room to improve, for all of us, everyday. 

{Stories to Grow From}

This article shares 6 real stories that have taken place in the last 18 months. And our objective in sharing them is to provide a unique perspective that Catering teams rarely get access to, so that these teams can learn, grow, improve and increase success in the Indian wedding market.

Story One. We might be able to do Indian weddings: A family went to visit a hotel for a site visit and the Catering Manager said, “we might be able to do Indian weddings.” That didn’t instill any confidence in them, especially when there were other nearby venues that were experienced. And even though the venue was attractive and reasonably priced they decided to go somewhere else for the wedding. 


Story Two. Surcharge for outside catering: During an initial call with a Catering Manager, she referred to the per person outside catering place setting fee as an “outside catering surcharge”, which to the couple, implied an additional fee for outside catering as opposed to what it really was – the per person place setting fee. They were immediately disinterested in the venue because no other venues they were considering charged a “surcharge”.


Story Three. A fire? Use our fire pit: A bride went on a site visit. The Catering Manager she was supposed to meet with ended up being sick that day so the venue set her up with someone else to do the tour. When she asked about the ceremonial fire, the venue representative didn’t know what she was talking about and asked, “you need a fire, as in a real fire?” The bride nodded yes and the venue representative told her, “well have a firepit, you can use that”.

On the one hand this person offered a solution but on the other, it revealed a lack of knowledge about Indian weddings and that makes couples very wary of the venue. Also, the bride shared that she found the comment a little insulting as she was there to meet with a luxury venue for her 450-person wedding, not a campout.

Story Four. Can’t have wild animals running around our property: A bride called a hotel to get info for her wedding. She was connected to the Catering Department. When she shared that she was inquiring for an Indian wedding the venue representative said, “well we can’t have wild animals running around our property”.

The bride and groom that shared this story with us, mentioned that the venue representative thought she was being funny and spoke in a sarcastic tone but the couple didn’t find it humorous at all. 


Story Five. The menu: A Catering Manager kept referring to the venue’s catering package as “the menu”, really confusing the couple because they were planning to have outside catering for their wedding. To add to the confusion, the Catering Manager was so accustomed to emailing their regular in-house catering package that when she sent info to this prospective customer she sent the outside and in-house catering packages. 

The couple thought that they had to choose items from the venue’s menu AND pay the outside catering fee for any additional items they brought in – which rendered the venue way more expensive than any others they were considering. 

Successful outcome: Luckily this couple contacted us at ShaadiShop and since that venue is one of our clients, we explained the various options to the couple and they ended up booking with the venue!


Story Six. No more sodas: A venue tested including sodas in the per person place setting fee and later decided that they were no longer going to offer that amenity; but they didn’t remove it from their outside catering package. Instead the Catering Managers would simply write a note in their email to couples that, that amenity was no longer valid.

The thing to understand is the impact this had on the customer. Because they saw the amenity in writing in the package, they felt like a valuable amenity was being taken away which isn’t the way venues – or any business – wants to make their customers feel. 

It caused unnecessary consternation in two ways:

it left some couples feeling like the venue could just take away services at any time – a risk they didn’t want to take for their wedding day. 

without the amenity, couples felt like they were getting significantly lower value without a correspondingly lower price.

If the outside catering package had just been updated, in the first place, all of this would have been a non-issue.


{The Point Is Improvement}

We wanted to share these stories because this is what leads to growth and improvement. At ShaadiShop, we work closely with consumers and catering teams. Thus we are uniquely poised to offer new and differing perspectives to both groups.

I started ShaadiShop to make wedding venue buying and booking better for consumers while simultaneously delivering top-line revenue and profit to venues.

Articles like this one align with that goal to help venues continue to grow their offerings for Indian and all South Asian weddings and be successful in this market.

This article is part of our series:

 

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{FAQs About ShaadiShop}

Is ShaadiShop a wedding planning service?

No. ShaadiShop is a tech company. We leverage software and web technology to drive quality leads to venues.
 
What does “Shaadi” mean?
“Wedding/marriage” in Hindi and Urdu (2 major languages spoken in South Asia).

What’s the difference between Indian and South Asian?
South Asia is the region of the world that includes India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. ShaadiShop is happy to serve the needs of all South Asians vs. Indians only. 

 

{Conclusion}

Communication is hard. It’s open to interpretation and for salespeople, sometimes it feels like you have to read your customer’s mind in addition to anticipating their needs. I appreciate how much Catering Executives have learned about South Asian culture and have embraced our weddings and traditions. And in sharing these stories, I hope it opens minds and provides rare insight into how customers think and interpret info so that you don’t make these or similar costly mistakes.

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
Cover image: Randery Imagery

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