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Monday, 10 September, 2018, 15 : 58 PM [IST]

Crafting & Curating Weddings

Whether it is an intimate affair or big fat show off, Indian weddings have it glitz and glamour associated with it. Therefore, it presents huge business prospects to hotels. While there is hot competition among hotels to capture the burgeoning Destination Wedding market, hotel brands like Taj has the inherent advantage of curating and delivering memorable weddings for generations in the same family. Taj has dedicated sales programmes to engage the prospective customers as well as wedding planners due to long years of experience and expertise in curating weddings. ‘Taj Timeless Weddings’ and ‘Taj Wedding Studio’ are specialised platforms to keep the engagement seamless. Renu Basu, Senior Vice President – Global Sales, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) shared the importance of destination wedding segment to the hotel group.

"We get over 20% of our revenues from weddings and banquets. We have handled all types of weddings all these years. Taj has been doing weddings for several decades. We have been preferred wedding destination for many families for generations together,” said Basu highlighting the importance of the segment to the hotel group with facts and figures. “We only see this share of weddings and banquets getting better and better in coming years,”she added explaining the rapidly evolving customer behaviour. After education and home, wedding is the biggest duty and responsibility of Indian parents irrespective of the community they belong to. New trends such as wedding vows, wedding photography, etc., are also getting popular. “In short, weddings is very very important and is really timeless in our culture,” she said.

Timeless Weddings to Taj Weeding Studio
IHCL being the first and oldest Indian hotel company with over a century of hospitality legacy associated with it, has been part of and witness to many auspicious moments of people from the same family for generations. The trust and confidence that people repose in the brand is tremendous. “We have seen generations from the same family married in our hotel. Top families of Mumbai have very strong connect with our Taj Mahal Palace hotel. Same for many other properties. Our hotels are first port of call for weddings for many,” Basu said. Even a lot of NRI families settled in the US, UK, Singapore, Middle East, etc., come calling for their roots in India and prefer Taj because of the “strong legacy.”

IHCL has dedicated programmes to promote weddings in their hotels. ‘Timeless Weddings’ has been there for so many years now. They have launched ‘Taj Wedding Studio’ under it to ‘engage with direct customers like parents of prospective future brides and grooms as well as the intermediaries like wedding planners’.

Taj also has dedicated sales team specialised in selling weddings. “The idea is to enhance awareness about our expertise in organising weddings,” she stated.

Because of decades of experience and expertise in organising weddings, IHCL can curate memorable weddings by arranging “suite of services” seamlessly associated with Indian weddings, Basu says. “We have discovered full value chain associated with weddings and offer a suite of services for discerning customers.” These range from prewedding bachelor party to hair, beauty and spa appointments to postwedding ‘break’ for immediate family members, honeymoon package to the newly wed, etc., Basu said.

Engaging the customers and intermediaries
Although the wedding industry is still a fragmented industry in India, Taj works closely with all the serious intermediaries, wedding planners, event organisers, etc. Taj Wedding Studio is an important platform to engage them. Apart from one or two big events, the hotel group holds small round-table events across cities for them to understand their demands and requirements. “We also have sales outreach, FAM trips, etc., on a regular basis. Therefore, they all know exactly where our hotels are,” she added.

“All our hotels irrespective of the destination generate enough business from weddings. But main destinations for weddings are Mumbai and Delhi. The amount of weddings Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai hosts in a year is quite large,” she said when asked about key destinations which attract more weddings and generate good revenue for IHC. Taj President, Taj Lands End, Taj Bengal, Taj Krishna and Falaknuma in Hyderabad, etc., all host good number of weddings, she added. Similarly, Taj’s palace hotels like Umaid Bhavan, Rambagh Palace, Lake Palace, Jaimahal Palace, etc., are also quite popular as wedding destinations, Basu added.

What next
At a time, people look for high amount of customisation and personalisation, IHCL because of its experience and expertise gained over the decades can curate experiential and memorable events with ease, Basu informs. Even in Food & Beverage, Taj Chefs have repertoire of culinary delights based on the requirements of the occasion.

For the time being, the hotel major would continue with their timetested ‘Timeless Weddings’ programme and ‘Taj Wedding Studio’ programme to lure wedding market into its hotels. However, Basu said that they will continue to add new features and products into these programme to ‘enhance experiences’!

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