The hotel industry has set their hopes on the wedding season to help them steer out of economic downturn brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several hotels have seen a slight recovery in bookings for the months of November and December.
Reports highlight the Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL), which re-opened in June, bookings touching 70 to 80 per cent of pre-COVID days. Industry sources said the months ahead look promising. Renu Basu, senior vice-president-global sales and marketing at IHCL, said they have been receiving business enquiries for weddings. However, she said the scale is much smaller as the government’s COVID-19 guidelines limits congregation for social gatherings to 50.
Basu revealed that wedding as a business segment remains relatively resilient even in the given situation because of the high importance given in India to the date of the wedding. “The event has strong regional influences. There are also many instances where people have got married at home, hosting small ceremonies, and are looking to celebrate with close family.”
ITC Hotels spokesperson said they have been hosting virtual weddings with the bride and groom’s families and friends at different locations. He said their specially curated menus are planned around the preferences of the families and are delivered pan India in a synchronized manner so that they can all dine together.
Business Standard quoted Parul Thakur, senior area Director-Sales and Distribution, South Asia at Marriott International saying that since the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, weddings and related events have been leading the recovery for Marriott hotels. She said the last two months, and these events have constituted about 70 per cent of their leads, contributing to their group and catering revenues in the country. And Nandivardhan Jain, MD and CEO, Noesis Capital, said bookings would hardly help the hotels. In terms of revenue and profitability, the head of the hotel consulting firm said it would only fetch a pittance. “The food and beverage segment, which accounts for half of a hotel’s revenue, has been completely wiped out,” Jain explained.