Venue Profit With Indian Weddings

Venue profit with Indian weddings is about weighing topline revenue vs. bottomline profit. Thirty years ago, the majority of venues did not allow Indian weddings on property for two reasons: the open ceremony flame and outside catering. Today Indian weddings are one of the most sought after niche markets by hotels, resorts, banquet halls and other venues. 

Especially in this climate as several hotels are experiencing lower sleeping room occupancy, partly due to a decline in international tourism to the United States and partly due to reductions in business travel as more and more business is conducted remotely. 

Now is a great time to focus efforts on attracting catering business. The economy and the US dollar are strong which means consumers are spending on weddings and other social events.

Most (not all, but most) venues have overcome the ceremony fire and other obstacles in hosting Indian weddings. The main barrier that remains is the debate between maximizing topline revenue vs. bottomline profit. 

And if you run some scenarios with Indian weddings what you’ll find is that you don’t have to compromise on either, when it comes to most Indian weddings. Why? 

{Indian Weddings Make Up For Topline Revenue
With Volume}

The average Indian wedding has 350 guests. Compare that to the average Western wedding which has about 150. So while the per person outside catering plate setting fee is lower compared to in-house catering, Indian weddings make up for that “loss” in revenue with volume. 

In-house catering revenue: If a venue charges $100 inclusive per person = $100*150 guests = $15,000

Outside catering revenue: If a venue charges $65 inclusive per person = $65*350 guests = $22,750

Additionally:

  • with outside catering there are $0 food costs, which means more going straight to the bottomline
  • that $22,750 doesn’t include the hosted bar
  • that also doesn’t include the 2 night room block
  • and many Indian weddings host lunch after the ceremony which is also not included
  • it also does not include the ceremony fee, but all weddings will have a ceremony fee so that’s a wash. 

So, when you look at the overall picture, Indian weddings represent higher revenue and higher profit. Now, it is important to remember that this scenario is based on the average number of guests at an Indian wedding, and of course, every venue’s fees vary. But this provides a great baseline for comparison. 

{No Outside Catering on Saturday Nights}

We work with a handful of venues that don’t allow outside catering on Saturday nights. While that doesn’t bar those venues from attracting and booking Indian weddings, that policy does self-cripple as Saturdays/nights are by far the most popular day of the week. 

My hope is that this article will open a few minds and commence a path towards loosening policies around outside catering. Consumers are always looking for new venues. When I say new, I mean new to the Indian community – not necessarily newly built/opened. This is because the number of venues that can host an Indian wedding in general is SO much smaller than Western weddings. There just aren’t as many options, which means consumers are always looking for something different. 

{Old Venue New Space: Real Story}

We worked with a venue last year that had been open for a long time but was not on anyone’s radar in the Indian community because their biggest ballroom sat, at most, 180 with a dance floor. That was their biggest space. Then they built a 400-person Pavilion and suddenly this waterfront hotel was on everyone’s radar. 

We booked 4 huge Indian weddings there within 12 months.

{Conclusion}


Venue profit with Indian weddings is about weighing topline revenue vs. bottomline profit. When it comes to outside catering, there’s long been a debate about topline revenue vs. bottomline profit. When it comes to Indian weddings, venues don’t have to compromise on either. Because Indian weddings have so many guests they make up for the “loss” in topline revenue. 

Scroll up to see the scenario.

We’ve come a long way in the last 30 years when only a couple venues in each market region allowed outside catering and Indian weddings to venues actively interested in attracting this business. As we move forward venues that have put restrictions on what days outside catering is allowed will hopefully loosen those policies. 

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